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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Homilies Archives

Homily for December 12, 2010: 3rd Sunday of Advent

posted by jmcgee

What have you planted this Advent? Check out this Sunday’s homily right here.

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Homily for December 8, 2010: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

posted by jmcgee

Last Sunday, I had the great privilege of celebrating the sacrament of baptism here in the church – baptizing 12 babies. Before the service, I was chatting with a couple of women. They were friends of one of the families […]

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Homily for December 5, 2010: 2nd Sunday of Advent/Rite of Welcome

posted by jmcgee

[Saturday night, my parish will celebrate the Rite of Welcome for the new class of RCIA candidates.  This is the homily for that occasion.]  Anyone who’s been coming to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs for a while knows the memorable […]

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Homily for November 28, 2010: 1st Sunday of Advent

posted by jmcgee

Anyone looking for interesting holiday recipes may have stumbled on a new word that has entered the American lexicon: “Cherpumple.” It’s a desert, created last year by Los Angeles writer Charles Phoenix – a diet-destroying, gut-busting feat of cooking that […]

“Make this very day a kind of prayer”

posted by jmcgee

Sometimes thankfulness can be hard to express. Most of us know someone who is having a difficult time this Thanksgiving. The woman who is spending her first holiday as a widow. The father who lost his job and is worried […]

Homily for November 14, 2010: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Exactly two weeks ago, late on a Sunday afternoon, a young woman named Raghada al-Wafi ran to her local church, with some wonderful news to share with the priest who had married her: she was going to have a baby. […]

Homily for November 7, 2010: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

If you remember only one thing from this homily, I’m going to ask that you remember the name Willie Downs. Willie Downs is a young man in his early 20s from Whitehouse, Texas who absolutely loves animation. His greatest dream […]

“I invite you to become saints…”

posted by jmcgee

“When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be […]

Homily for October 31, 2010: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, World Priest Day

posted by jmcgee

In the early 1950s, some of the most important mission work in the Church was happening in a place many of us might find surprising: Florida. Back then, the total number of Catholics in Florida came to just 70-thousand. That’s […]

Homily for October 24, 2010: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Several years ago a friend of mine named Heather King published a powerful book called “Parched.” It is the story of her life as an alcoholic, and her long road to recovery. Heather lived much of her youth thirsting for […]

Homily for October 17, 2010: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

If there is one recurring theme in this Sunday’s readings, it is persistence. Whether it’s Moses, or St. Paul, or the relentless widow in the parable, it’s all about never giving up. Holding fast. Refusing to grow weary. Living what […]

Homily for October 10, 2010: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Last week I went to see the new movie “The Social Network.” It’s a fascinating look at the creation of “Facebook” – the social networking site that started among a few people at Harvard and became a phenomenon, now touching […]

Homily for October 3, 2010: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

This gospel about the mustard seed is familiar to so many of us, and I think we all understand the larger point Jesus is trying to make – that even a little bit of faith can work wonders. That it […]

Homily for September 26, 2010: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

When I give instruction to parents before celebrating a baptism, I like to tell them to pay close attention to how the ritual begins. It doesn’t start with an opening prayer, or the sign of the cross, or a hymn. […]

“I express my deep sorrow…”

posted by jmcgee

“My thoughts go in a special way to all those who are spiritually united with this Eucharistic celebration, and in particular the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and those who suffer mentally and spiritually. Here too I think of the […]

Homily for September 11, 2010

posted by jmcgee

We all have powerful memories of where we were nine years ago this morning.  But one of my most vivid memories is from several weeks later. It was late October. That beautiful day in September seemed like a distant memory. […]

Homily for September 5, 2010: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

In the late 18th century, there was no American portrait artist more famous, more celebrated, more sought-after than Gilbert Stuart. He was born in Rhode Island and was something of a prodigy, producing a formal portrait at the age of […]

Homily for August 15, 2010: Vigil of the Assumption

posted by jmcgee

Years ago, a friend gave me a holy card with an unusual depiction of the Blessed Mother. She is visibly pregnant, and reading from a book – praying from scripture. As my friend explained to me: it’s a great image […]

Homily for August 8, 2010: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Last year, Fortune magazine broke the story of a remarkable gathering of some of the wealthiest men and women in the world. It happened here in New York, and it was hosted by David Rockefeller. Mayor Bloomberg was there, and […]

Homily for July 25, 2010: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Outside Jerusalem, you can visit an unusual church that could be one of the most important – and most overlooked – in the world. It’s a little off the beaten path. Unlike most churches in the Holy Land, this one […]

Homily for July 18, 2010: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

[Note: This homily was delivered last Sunday to about 250 deacons and their wives at the opening liturgy of the annual gathering of the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education (NDICE) at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I was also privileged […]

Homily for July 11, 2010: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

If you visit the Holy Land, there is a museum that opened about a year ago that is getting a lot of attention, and attracting a lot of visitors. It stands on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho – the […]

Homily for July 4, 2010: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

This weekend, we mark a great beginning – the birth of our country. As a matter of fact, we’re just ending a time of year when we celebrate a lot of great beginnings: graduations, weddings, ordinations. It’s a good season […]

Homily for June 20, 2010: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Where were you on June 17, 1994? This week a documentary on ESPN asked that question, and offered a powerful answer. June 17, 1994 was one of the most dramatic days in modern history. Arnold Palmer played his last U.S. […]

Homily for June 13, 2010: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

For the past few weeks, the world has watched in frustration, and sorrow, and anger, the disaster that has been unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. A couple weeks ago, on my TV show, “Currents,” we interviewed a priest in […]

Homily for June 6, 2010: Corpus Christi

posted by jmcgee

“Do this in remembrance of me.” There you have it: six words that changed the world. They come to us from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that we just heard – and they are the first known account that we […]

Homily for May 30, 2010: Trinity Sunday

posted by jmcgee

Several years ago my wife and I went on vacation to Arlington, Vermont. We stayed at a bed and breakfast, and one afternoon paid a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum. Rockwell spent part of his life in Arlington, and […]

Homily for May 16, 2010: Seventh Sunday of Easter

posted by jmcgee

“The Stoning of St. Stephen” by James Michaels As I was looking over the readings for this weekend, I thought they sounded very familiar, and then it dawned on me: these were the same readings at my Mass of Thanksgiving, […]

Homily for May 9, 2010: Sixth Sunday of Easter

posted by jmcgee

In 1909, a wealthy French businessman named Albert Kahn set out to do something that had never been done before. He would create a photographic record of the entire earth. That was ambitious enough. But Kahn wanted this to be […]

Homily for May 2, 2010: Fifth Sunday of Easter

posted by jmcgee

Friday night, I watched the rehearsal for this weekend’s confirmation. It was a little different from what I remember from my own confirmation almost 40 years ago. But one thing hasn’t changed – the “confirmation name.” Young people still choose […]

Homily for April 11, 2010: Second Sunday of Easter

posted by jmcgee

The gospel today is about how challenging it can be to believe something you can’t see.  How difficult it can be to accept something simply on faith.  Well, this Easter season, nobody, I think, stands in contrast to that more […]

Homily for April 3, 2010: the Easter Vigil

posted by jmcgee

A few days ago, I was contacted by a reporter at the New York Post. She was doing a story for Easter, all about being Catholic in 2010. She wanted to hear my thoughts, especially in light of some of […]

Homily for Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper

posted by jmcgee

A few nights ago, The History Channel showed a documentary in which scientists attempted to create what may be the most realistic 3-D image of the face of Christ. They spent many months on the project, using sophisticated computer technology […]

Homily for March 28, 2010: Palm Sunday

posted by jmcgee

One of the more remarkable aspects of the gospel we just heard is the WAY in which we heard it. This week is the only time that the gospel is proclaimed by someone besides a priest or deacon – every […]

Homily for March 21, 2010: 5th Sunday in Lent

posted by jmcgee

Today’s gospel is, to a great extent, about second chances. Someone who knows about that is an Air Force pilot named Joe Kittinger. In the late 1950s, Joe Kittinger was the director of Project Excelsior, a government program to develop […]

Homily for March 7, 2010: 3rd Sunday in Lent

posted by jmcgee

When my wife and I got married, a friend gave us a practical, but highly symbolic gift: a clock. It’s a lovely tabletop model, in a glass case, with gold fixtures and various moving parts. The gift was especially meaningful […]

Homily for February 21, 2010: 1st Sunday of Lent

posted by jmcgee

Lent is a time of penitence and confession. So today, I want to begin with a confession: I love “Undercover Boss.” This reality show debuted on CBS right after the Super Bowl. The premise is surprisingly simple: the CEO of […]

Homily for February 17, 2010: Ash Wednesday

posted by jmcgee

Last year, the writer Mary Karr published a beautiful memoir of her life, and her conversion to Catholicism. Some have actually compared it to the “Confessions” of St. Augustine. The book is called “Lit.” The title refers to literature, but […]

Homily for February 14, 2010: World Marriage Day

posted by jmcgee

We’ve all been digging out of the storm that we got this week, and I think most of us are grateful that we didn’t get socked with snow the way they did down in Washington. Call it “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpacalype,” […]

Homily for February 7, 2010: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

We have been hearing so many stories of suffering and heartbreak in Haiti. But I wanted to share with you today another story about Haiti – and one that I think helps to illuminate the gospel we just heard. It […]

Homily for January 31, 2010: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

“GTG.” “BRB.” “LOL.” “ROFL.” Anyone who’s sent or received a text message knows what those mean. Last week, I read a story that put them in perspective. It was about a monologue, on radio, delivered by Adam Gopnik, a writer […]

Homily for January 24, 2010: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

For most of us, by this time, the new year is old hat. We’ve gotten the hang of writing “2010” on our checks. We’ve taken down the Christmas lights and thrown out the fruitcake and added the name “Jenny Craig” […]

Homily for January 17, 2010: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

On our refrigerator at home, there’s a picture that was taken about 10 years ago at the very spot where, tradition tells us, this episode of the gospel took place. The picture shows my wife and me, inside the large […]

Homily for January 3, 2010: the Epiphany of the Lord

posted by jmcgee

Christmas Day, hours after midnight mass, my wife and I hopped a plane to Washington, to spend some time with our families. The flight went smoothly, and a couple hours later we found ourselves in the back seat of a […]

Homily for January 1, 2010: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

posted by jmcgee

Last Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran a series of articles on notable people who had died during 2009 – most well known, a few not. It was the story of one of those lesser-known people that caught my […]

From the vault: Christmas homilies

posted by jmcgee

My pastor has elected to preach at Midnight Mass, so I won’t be burning up my Mac tonight, polishing up a homily of my own. But if anyone’s curious, or really REALLY bored, here’s what I had to say in […]

Homily for December 20, 2009: 4th Sunday of Advent

posted by jmcgee

Years ago, when I was working at CBS, they came up with a brilliant advertising campaign for the network. It was so successful, they actually used it for a couple of years. Instead of pushing the idea that this was […]

Homily for December 13, 2009: 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

posted by jmcgee

Are you ready for Christmas? I’ve been hearing that question a lot lately – and the answer is always “No.” Last week, I attended the ordination of transitional deacons at the seminary out in Huntington. And I had a chance […]

Homily for December 6, 2009: 2nd Sunday of Advent

posted by jmcgee

Over Thanksgiving, my wife and I traveled down to Maryland to spend time with my in-laws. And while we were there, I met a remarkable young man, Jacob Francis Keller. He is a doctor, a lawyer, a philosopher, an engineer […]

“Advent is a love poem written to us by God”

posted by jmcgee

“If the Season of Advent were a book I would file it on a shelf, right at eye-level, foremost among the great works of poetry. Advent is a poem of a bright new beginning. Advent is a love poem written […]

Homily for Thanksgiving: November 26, 2009

posted by jmcgee

A lot of us know the story. It was the autumn of 1621. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a rich harvest, the men, women and children who had survived the first year in the New World gathered for a feast to […]

Homily for November 15, 2009: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

I think most of us could be forgiven for thinking that this reading from Mark’s gospel sounds like the preview for the new movie “2012.” You may have seen it the ads: California slides into the ocean, waves come crashing […]

“Notes Left Behind”

posted by jmcgee

Last Sunday, I preached in my homily about a little girl named Elena Desserich, and the book her parents have put together called “Notes Left Behind.” The publishers have produced a brief video about Elena and the book. Take a […]

“In our perseverance, we discern God’s Spirit…”

posted by jmcgee

“Now occasionally, God in his providential care permits us to experience severe pain and suffering, but in the final analysis, always for some greater good. The full weight of our sorrows, if patiently endured after Cardinal Newman’s example, often provides […]

Homily for November 8, 2009: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

We hear this gospel story, about the widow’s mite, and tend to think of it as a lesson in giving, and great sacrifice. And that is true.  It’s a lesson we need to hear, especially in these hard times. But […]

All Souls, and going home

posted by jmcgee

This day, All Souls, we pray for all the faithful departed, remembering all those who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.”  Last year, in my homily for All Souls Day, I offered these thoughts: This time […]

Homily for October 11, 2009: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few weeks ago, a remarkable story popped up, about fashion photographer Michael Belk.  His work has appeared in Vogue and GQ, but after many years of success, he felt compelled to do something more meaningful.  Belk is a devout Christian, who […]

Homily for October 4, 2009: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for it? It’s right here.

Homily for October 4, 2009: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When he was 16 years old, Dan Powell was playing football at a Boy Scouts camp when he was tackled, and suffered a traumatic injury.  He broke his neck.  Dan was left a paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.  He […]

Unchained melody: a homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m not preaching this weekend, so I don’t have a homily to post.  But I can direct you to a superb homilist and writer, Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer, who offers some beautiful and compelling words about this week’s scripture.    Fr. […]

Remembering Francesco Forgione — a.k.a., Padre Pio

posted by deacon greg kandra

On this feast of St. Pio I decided to revisit a homily I delivered earlier this year, when my parish dedicated a special chapel in his name. A snip: One of my favorite stories about him happened during the early […]

Homily for September 20, 2009: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the mid-1960s, a Catholic by the name of John T. Elson was the religion editor at Time magazine. You may never have heard of him. But during Easter week of 1966, he made history, and made headlines. Elson […]

What is a parish?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Homily for September 13, 2009 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Tuesday September 15th marks the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which my parish celebrates as the parish feast day for Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. In years past, […]

“On this day…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“On this day, we pray that the hearts of those who wish us evil may be converted — and we hope to have the power and the will to forgive them….  On this day, we remember the survivors, those who […]

Homily for September 6, 2009: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

I imagine if Jesus were to perform a miracle today like the one in this gospel, the first public reaction would probably be: “Eeeewwwwwww.” He spit and touched a stranger’s mouth? He stuck his fingers into his ears? Isn’t he […]

Homily for August 30, 2009: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Years ago, Rose Kennedy said that she used to dream that her youngest son would grow up to be a priest. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Not by a long shot. Over the past few days, we’ve […]

Homily for August 23, 2009: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When you’re on vacation, sometimes, you can’t completely get away from the world. Last week, I watched the news down in Florida, and saw the tragic pictures of that plane crashing into a helicopter over the Hudson. It was truly […]

Homily for August 16, 2009: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several years ago, my wife and I took a tour through Italy and one of the stops was Siena. It’s this beautiful, old, medieval village – most famous for its most famous saint, Catherine of Siena. And, in fact, you […]

Homily for August 2, 2009: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one He sent.” This week, I read about a man who did believe – and who spent his life doing the work of God. His name was William McCarthy. […]

Homily for July 26, 2009: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of women have difficult pregnancies. But I can’t imagine any more difficult than the one endured by Amy McNamara. She’s a friend of Jack Smith, a writer for the Kansas City newspaper, the Catholic Key, and he told […]

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s sermon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some months back, I remember reading about a wave of homiletic plagiarism that was hitting, of all places, Poland. But it’s more widespread (especially these days) than many people in the pews may think. And it’s not just Catholics, as […]

Homily for July 19, 2009: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the last few days, we’ve been hearing a lot about the anniversary of the moon landing, which happened 40 years ago Monday. A lot of us can remember where we were when it happened, and where we were when […]

Homily for July 12, 2009: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Boston’s Fenway Park has witnessed some great moments in sports history. But I don’t think anything can compare with what happened there two summers ago. The Red Sox were hosting Disability Awareness Night – to honor and salute fans who […]

Homily for July 5, 2009: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

My mother grew up in a small town in South Jersey, named Pitman, not far from Philadelphia. It was the kind of place you passed through on your way to someplace else. It was pretty unremarkable – there was a […]

Homily for June 28, 2009: 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the past several days, we’ve been inundated with stories, pictures, soundbites about three high-profile people who passed away: Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and, of course, Michael Jackson. It has given us all an opportunity to think about living and […]

Homily for June 21, 2009: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was working at CBS News, believe it or not, the moment we just heard about in the gospels was a part of my daily life. In the offices of “60 Minutes,” the executive producer Jeff Fager had hanging […]

Homily for June 14th, 2009: Corpus Christi / The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the 1970s, when there was a lot of liturgical innovation going on, Dorothy Day invited a young priest to celebrate mass at the Catholic Worker. He decided to do something that he thought was relevant and hip. He […]

Homily for June 7, 2009: Trinity Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the movies that always pops up on TV during an election year is “The Candidate,” with Robert Redford. I saw it years ago, and caught it again on cable last fall. It’s the story of a young, idealistic […]

Homily for May 17, 2009: 6th Sunday of Easter

posted by deacon greg kandra

His name was Thomas S. Vander Woude. He was a pilot during Vietnam and, after the war, flew commercial airliners. After his retirement in Virginia, he liked to spend his time farming, and volunteering and doting on his children and […]

Homily for May 3, 2009: 4th Sunday of Easter

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the past several days, two words sent alarm around the world: swine flu. Just scroll through the articles about it online, and you see words like “pandemic,” “epidemic,” “outbreak,” “quarantine.” What cropped up unexpectedly in Mexico has now popped […]

Homily for April 19, 2009: Divine Mercy Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

This past week, the woman ruling the British Empire wasn’t Queen Elizabeth. It was a 47-year-old unemployed spinster named Susan Boyle. A lot of you probably know her story. Susan grew up in a small town in Scotland, a devout […]

Homily for April 11, 2009: Easter Vigil

posted by deacon greg kandra

“He has been raised.” In those four simple words lie all the glory and mystery and joy of this feast we celebrate. That is Easter. If you want more, all you had to do was look around you as this […]

“We venerate the cross with a kiss…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

This day, many of us will celebrate one of the most haunting liturgies in the church. I spoke about it in my Good Friday homily from last year: In one sense, of course, we are remembering an event that seems […]

Remembrance — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

I won’t be preaching tonight, but I thought I’d toss up here part of my homily from last year: Do this in remembrance of me. Jesus is saying: This is how I want to be remembered. In the gospel, John […]

Homily for April 5, 2009: Palm Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

We have just heard the climax of the Greatest Story Ever Told. We hear it every Palm Sunday – and we will hear it again on Good Friday. It is a story of monumental suffering, and love, that has been […]

“We are called to preach who we are and what we are”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“As you go forth in your preparation, you will spend much time preparing homilies. But even more important is the preparation of the homilist. That means, we are called to preach who we are and what we are. We preach […]

The Annunciation: nothing is impossible with God

posted by deacon greg kandra

“At this dark moment in time…what is being announced is hope. Mary, we’re told, was troubled at what she heard. But what follows is a message for all of us. In our moments of confusion, when we are troubled by […]

Homily for March 22, 2009: 4th Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might not know it from the weather, but Friday was the first day of spring. At the building where we live, that meant they finally took down the Christmas lights. The landscaping company came out to spread mulch and […]

Homily for March 22, 2009: 4th Sunday of Lent (Second Scrutiny)

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you cross Queens Boulevard and head down 112th Street, you’ll pass a Reform temple, the Temple Sinai, a modern building with a small plaque by the front door. The plaque commemorates a piece of Forest Hills history: on that […]

Homily for March 15, 2009: 3rd Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up in Maryland, we’d often go to visit my grandmother, who lived in a little New Jersey town called Pitman, near Camden. Along the way, we’d usually pull in to a rest stop on I-95 that […]

Homily for March 8, 2009: 2nd Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the President of CBS News was a colorful and very gifted man by the name of Richard Salant. By the time I’d arrived at CBS in the early ‘80s, he was long gone, […]

Homily for February 25, 2009: Ash Wednesday

posted by deacon greg kandra

A true story: a few years ago, I was serving as a Eucharistic Minister on Ash Wednesday, and I stood over there during communion, holding the chalice filled with the Precious Blood. A man came up to me, and I […]

Homily for February 22, 2009: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sometimes, it can be hard to find the words to express grief after someone you love has died. But over the last few weeks, a woman I know has done that with remarkable clarity, power, and grace. Her name is […]

Homily for February 8, 2009: World Marriage Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

February 8th marks World Marriage Day, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter. At my parish’s 11:30 mass, we’ll have a renewal of wedding vows. This is my homily for the occasion. When Msgr. Funaro asked me to preach for today, World […]

Homily for February 8, 2009: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today’s gospel begins with just four brief words. “On leaving the synagogue…” It sounds so simple. It’s almost a passing reference. You could hear those words go by and not give them a second thought. But with those four brief […]

Homily for February 1, 2009: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was 14 years old, the one movie that I really wanted to see was one that I couldn’t: “The Exorcist.” I was too young. If you want to know the truth, when I finally saw it a few […]

Homily for January 25, 2009: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few years ago, a group of Catholic filmmakers in Brooklyn, Grassroots Films, created a short movie about vocations called “Fishers of Men.” It takes its title from the gospel passage we just heard, weaving together interviews, music and images […]

What next? “The Wave”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over a ZENIT, they’ve posted a little something about a spreading liturgical innovation: ovation. Take a look: Q: The parishioners in our church used to be spontaneous in their reactions to excellent homilies that the priests deliver. The parishioners, sometimes, […]

Homily for January 18, 2009: Dedication of the St. Pio Chapel

posted by deacon greg kandra

This afternoon, at the 5 p.m. vigil mass, retired Bishop Thomas Daily will celebrate mass at our parish, and rededicate what was once the baptism chapel. It will become a chapel in honor of St. Pio, “Padre Pio.” My homily […]

Homily for January 4, 2009: Epiphany of the Lord

posted by deacon greg kandra

On a summer’s day in 1879, an amateur archeologist named Marcelino de Satuola went into a cave in Altamira, Spain, looking for prehistoric artifacts. He’d been there several times before, and hadn’t found much of interest. But this day, he […]

Homily for January 1, 2009: New Year’s Day, Mary the Mother of God

posted by deacon greg kandra

About a century ago, the Jesuit poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem that begins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” It’s a beautiful statement of the miraculous – and it’s more surprising because Hopkins […]

Homily for December 25, 2008: Christmas Midnight Mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few years ago, I caught an episode of the cable TV show “Inside The Actor’s Studio,” with James Lipton. If you’ve seen it, you know the basic idea: Lipton invites celebrities – famous actors, writers and directors – to […]

Homily for December 21, 2008: Fourth Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

Shortly before I was ordained, a teacher asked my class if anyone knew the one moment in scripture that was depicted more often in art than any other. Everybody agreed: it must be the nativity. But we were wrong. It’s […]

Settlement reported for man who sued priest over homily

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last year, I posted this eye-popping story about a man who sued a priest over a homily. Now, an alert reader has sent me an update: An Algonquin man will get a formal apology, but no financial reward, as part […]

Homily for December 14, 2008: Gaudete Sunday, 3rd Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is “Gaudete Sunday,” and “gaudete” means “rejoice.” In fact, that word recurs again and again in this Sunday’s scriptures. We don these bright vestments and we exult, because the Incarnation is so close. But if you scan the headlines, […]

Homily for December 7, 2008: 2nd Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Sunday, after a week of turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey a la king, turkey burgers, turkey pot pie and turkey surprise… locusts and honey is starting to sound pretty good. We are here in the second Sunday of Advent […]

Homily for November 27, 2008: Thanksgiving

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest I know likes to say that Thanksgiving is one of his favorite holidays, and not just because of the food. The church is always filled, he says, and the great thing is that people come to mass today […]

Homily for November 16, 2008: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

The gospel this Sunday is familiar to a lot of us. We tend to think it’s all about ability, or talent — what special gifts God has given you. Certainly, that’s a big part of it. But I think there […]

Homily for November 9, 2008: Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is one of the more unusual feasts on the church calendar. It doesn’t commemorate a saint, or a biblical event. It celebrates a building. Specifically, the Lateran Basilica, in Rome. It’s the oldest of the four major basilicas in […]

Homily for November 2, 2008: All Souls

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

His name was John Robert McGraham. Most of his life was unremarkable. He grew up the second youngest of six children in Cypress Park, in Los Angeles. As a little boy, he loved comic books and he’d sometimes run through […]

Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From last October, here’s part of my homily for All Saints Day 2007: Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, […]

Homily for October 26, 2008, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (World Priest Day)

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It happens more often than you may think. Someone will ask me after mass, “Deacon Greg, if priests could be married, wouldn’t you like to be a priest?“ Well, the answer for me is no. God called me to this […]

Homily for October 19, 2008: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not too long ago, someone was complaining to me about the way the church chooses its saints. And she thought it was a little bit insulting that almost all the saints on the church’s calendar were religious – priests, nuns, […]

Homily for October 12, 2008: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was looking over the readings for this weekend, I thought to myself: well, nobody could be blamed for feeling hungry in the middle of mass. Food is mentioned everywhere. Again and again we hear references to a great […]

Homily for October 5, 2008: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The other day, a California TV station gave a heartbreaking glimpse at what is happening to thousands of people right now. It reported on an area near Pasadena known as “foreclosure alley” – a part of the state where 700 […]

Homily for September 28, 2008: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In his book, “The Waters of Siloe,” Thomas Merton tells the true story of a French businessman in the months after World War II. The businessman had been born and raised Catholic. But he’d forgotten about his faith has he […]

Homily for September 21, 2008: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The middle of last week, I exchanged e-mails with a friend of mine who has what must be the worst job in America. He works for Lehman Brothers. I hadn’t heard from him in several weeks, and given the news […]

Homily for September 14, 2008: Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

September 15th marks the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and it is traditionally when we celebrate the feast day of my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. On Sunday, the day before that feast, we’ll have a special concelebrated […]

Homily for September 7, 2008: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This past week, when a lot of the world was fixated on Sarah Palin’s daughter, and the problem of teen pregnancy, there was news about one baby that didn’t get much attention. It should have. The AP reported the story […]

Homily for August 31, 2008: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You really have to feel for St. Peter. A couple weeks ago, we encountered him climbing out of a boat during a storm, trying to walk on water. He floundered, and Jesus had to rescue him. Then, last week, he […]

Homily for August 24, 2008: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you talk to people who are converts to the faith, many will give different reasons for joining the Catholic Church. Sometimes it’s marriage. Sometimes it’s more mysterious – a kind of subliminal pull they can’t explain. Sometimes, it’s something […]

Homily for August 17, 2008: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This week, in the Boston Globe, I read the story of an elderly couple named Sol and Rita Rogers. They’ve been married 61 years. They’ve raised a family and lived a long and happy life together. A few years ago, […]

Homily for August 15, 2008: Solemnity of the Assumption

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Mary set out in haste…” Every year when we encounter this gospel reading on this feast, I’m struck that Mary is on a journey. The excerpt from Luke begins and ends with her traveling – embarking, really, on the greatest […]

Homily for August 3, 2008: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, my mother was a food service director and dietician at a big hospital outside Washington DC. I remember that one of the cookbooks she had was called “Food for 50” – it contained all these […]

Homily for July 27, 2008: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over the last few weeks in Matthew’s gospel we’ve been hearing the Kingdom of God unfold in a series of parables. The images presented are striking. A mustard seed. Yeast. A treasure. A pearl. These were all things that the […]

Homily for July 20, 2008: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last weekend, you may have seen this item in the New York Times: there are doubts being raised about who really wrote the Serenity Prayer. Most of us know it by heart: God grant me the serenity to accept the […]

50 years: a homily

posted by deacon greg kandra

My wife’s parents, Gerry and Brenda Meyer, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend. They renewed their vows at a special mass on Saturday. This is my homily for that occasion. Last week, Maureen Dowd, the columnist for the New […]

Homily for July 9, 2008: Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, the Chinese Martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tonight, my parish will offer a special mass to commemorate the Chinese Martyrs, whose memorial we celebrate July 9. This is my homily for the occasion. Anyone who saw the 2002 Super Bowl saw something unforgettable. And it had nothing […]

Homily for June 29, 2008: Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

posted by deacon greg kandra

(This Sunday morning, my parish is installing new ushers, EMHCs and lectors. This is the homily for that mass.) This Sunday, we mark a special feast in the church calendar, honoring two pillars of the faith, Saint Peter and Saint […]

Homily for June 15, 2008: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

I just got back from two weeks in Florida on vacation, and in between spending time with Mickey Mouse, and a few of his friends, I did something a little unusual: I attended the first mass of a newly ordained […]

Homily for a wedding

posted by deacon greg kandra

‘Tis the season. Wedding season, that is. This Sunday, I’ll be assisting at a wedding mass. Below is my wedding homily. I wish I could tell you some words of wisdom from the homily given at my own wedding, 22 […]

Homily for May 17, 2008: Trinity Sunday

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t quite believe it, but it was one year ago this weekend that I was ordained a deacon. Incredibly, I’m still here. Periodically, people ask me, “What is your favorite part of being a deacon?” Well, first, I think, […]

Pearls before breakfast

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last year, the Washington Post ran a remarkable story about an unusual experiment in the Washington, DC subway. The reporter asked one of the most celebrated violinists of his age to play his fiddle — a priceless Stradivarius — on […]

Homily for May 4, 2008: 7th Sunday of Easter

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few weeks back, there was news of a book that was published – it may be one of the most talked about, written about, and wondered about books in the world. But hardly anyone has read it. There is […]

Homily for May 1, 2008, Ascension Thursday

posted by deacon greg kandra

The other day I read the news that Tamar Hennessey had died. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of her. She was an obscure figure to most Catholics, but not insignificant. She was the daughter of Dorothy Day. Long […]

Homily for April 27, 2008, 6th Sunday of Easter

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you may have heard the news last week: the pope was in town. The deacons and their wives all got tickets to Yankee Stadium. So my wife and I – along with 60-thousand others – were able to […]

Homily for Saturday, March 22, 2008: Easter Vigil

posted by deacon greg kandra

Whether you realize it or not, this evening we are present at creation. First, there was the creation of the world – signified by the fire that burned at the entry to our church, fire that was then blessed and […]

Homily for Friday, March 21, 2008: Good Friday

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sixty years ago, the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote a best-selling book about his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. “Man’s Search for Meaning,” is considered to be a classic about the worst nightmare of the last century. Frankl describes how […]

Homily for Thursday, March 20, 2008: Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, like a lot of families, mine had one of those small, cheap Kodak Instamatic cameras. You used those flash bulbs that looked like ice cubes…and got these little square pictures back from the drug store […]

“Lazarus, come out!”: Homily for March 9, 2008, 5th Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you somehow forgot to change your clocks this morning and “spring forward,” you can blame a man named William Willet. It was Willet, an English builder and outdoorsman, who is responsible for Daylight Saving Time. In 1905, while horseback […]

Homily for the funeral of Deacon Jim Hynes: March 1, 2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

Do not let your hearts be troubled. I know there are many troubled hearts here this morning. Mine is one of them. I grieve with Kathleen, and James, and Teresa, and all of Jim’s family. All those who loved Jim. […]

“Rise and do not be afraid”: Homily for February 17, 2008, 2nd Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

How is your Lent going? Right about now is when the newness and fervor start to wear off. We’ve left the ashes in the bathroom sink – or maybe on the pillow. The things we gave up – chocolate, TV, […]

Homily for February 10, 2008: 1st Sunday of Lent

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Sunday is World Marriage Day, sponsored by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. My parish is marking the event with a mass that will feature speakers on Marriage Encounter and, at the end of mass, a renewal of vows. I’ve been […]

Homily for February 6, 2008: Ash Wednesday

posted by deacon greg kandra

We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. One of my most haunting memories, though, is the morning after. It was impossible to get out of Manhattan—or get in. Subways and trains had stopped. There were no cabs. […]

Homily for February 3, 2008: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

We just marked Catholic Schools Week in this country – an appreciation of those who have taught – and continue to teach – in the Catholic school system. Many of us, I know, can remember when those teachers were nuns. […]

Homily for January 27, 2008: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you have money in the stock market…or in a 401(k)…I suspect you’ve already spent a lot of time this past week, on your knees, praying. Me, too. It’s been, to put it mildly, a roller coaster. And the gyrations […]

Homily for January 20, 2008: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last winter, the Washington Post decided to try something unusual. A reporter wanted to see what would happen if they hired a world famous violinist to play during rush hour on a Washington subway platform. Would anybody notice? Would anybody […]

Homily for January 6, 2008: Epiphany

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who may be keeping track, this marks the 12th day of Christmas – so there is still time to go out and get those 12 drummers drumming. I think Macy’s is having a sale. This is Epiphany Sunday, […]

Homily for January 1, 2008: Mary, the Mother of God

posted by deacon greg kandra

Years ago, my wife and I decided, just once, to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square. We weren’t brave enough to stand outside in the cold with noisemakers and funny hats. Instead, we got a package at the Marriott, […]

Homily for December 30, 2007: Feast of the Holy Family

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m struck every year by the timing of this feast, celebrating the Holy Family. It comes on the first Sunday following Christmas, and at a time when I think most of us – after the parties and cooking and visiting […]

Homily for Christmas Midnight Mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

Like a lot of people of a certain age, I remember well the first time I heard this gospel proclaimed – and it wasn’t in church. It was in my parent’s den, in Rockville, Maryland, watching an 18-inch Philco black […]

Homily for December 23, 2007: Fourth Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

A popular poem that we hear this time of year talks about children nestled, snug in their beds, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. This is a time for dreaming, and wishing. And not just among children. […]

Homily for December 16, 2007: Third Sunday of Advent, “Gaudete”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the 1930s, one of the great producers in Hollywood was the legendary Samuel Goldwyn, of Metro Goldwyn Meyer, or MGM. He thought movies should be entertaining, not preachy or heavy-handed. He once said, “If you want to send […]

Homily for December 9, 2007: Second Sunday of Advent

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last Sunday, on “60 Minutes,” there was an alarming report about the plight of Christians in Iraq. They interviewed the Anglican vicar for Baghdad, who said it has never been a worse time to be a Christian there. Most, he […]

Homily for December 8, 2007: Feast of the Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

His name was Charles Sheldon – and he is one of the most influential preachers in American history. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of him. Until I started looking into this, I hadn’t heard of him either. In […]

Homily for November 25, 2007: Feast of Christ the King

posted by deacon greg kandra

Among the many things I had to be thankful for this past Thursday, one of them was Google. Thanks to Google, I was able very quickly and easily to find out a little history about this feast we celebrate today. […]

Homily for November 18, 2007: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

If it seems like the holiday season is starting earlier this year, there’s a good reason. It is. The earliest you can have Thanksgiving is November 21st, and this year, it’s on the 22nd. And, as a result, everybody got […]

Homily for November 11, 2007: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

A little over a week ago, I was in Atlanta, and was surprised to notice that a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves – even while many of the trees up here, further north, were still intact. […]

Homily for November 1, 2007: All Saints

posted by deacon greg kandra

Originally published in CONNECT! by Liturgical Publications, Inc..Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he […]

Homily for October 28, 2007: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s an old joke: New York will be a great city — if they ever finish it. The city is constantly being dug up and paved over. Buildings are being torn down and rebuilt– and the older ones are always […]

Man sues priest over homily

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here’s something they never covered in homiletics class: what happens if a parishioner sues you for something you allegedly said during a homily? From the Chicago Tribune: An Algonquin man is suing a Crystal Lake priest for defamation of […]

Homily for September 30, 2007: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

One afternoon a few years ago, my wife went to confession down at St. Francis of Assisi, on 32nd St., in Manhattan. It’s one of the few places in the city that has confession all day, every day – in […]

Bad homilies=”Christianity Lite”

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s wrong with homilies today? Elizabeth Tenety, who contributes to the Washington Post’s provocative and always-interesting On Faith section, sums it up for her generation with this entry, which blames it all on “Christianity Lite.” Take a look: Advocates of […]

Homily for September 23, 2007: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

At Carnegie Mellon University, near Pittsburgh, they have a tradition of inviting professors to give what’s sometimes called “The Last Lecture.” Teachers are asked to think about what matters to them, and sum up their philosophy, as if it’s the […]

Homily for September 15-16, 2007: Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend, my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, is celebrating its feast day, as it does every year, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the parish, and the 80th year […]

Homily for September 9, 2007: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was growing up, my parents had a big wooden console stereo in the living room. My father had a pretty extensive record collection – everything from the Firestone Christmas Records to the 101 Strings and the original cast […]

Homily for September 8, 2007: Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is there anything better than September? This is wondrous time of year. The weather is perfect. The grass is lush. If you go to a Farmer’s Market, the fruits and vegetables are at their peak. This is the last gasp […]

Homily for September 2, 2007: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today’s scripture readings are about something we don’t hear mentioned very much. Humility. If you go to “Google” and type in the word “humility,” you’ll get about 8 million entries. But if you then go and type “fame,” you’ll get […]

Homily for August 19, 2007: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Friday night, The Disney Channel debuted the sequel to “High School Musical,” aptly called “High School Musical 2.” If you live with, or near, anyone between the ages of 8 and 13, you know that this is one of the […]

Homily for August 15, 2007: Solemnity of the Assumption

posted by deacon greg kandra

The gospel today begins with a journey. “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste…” This time of year, I think, a lot of us can appreciate the idea of taking a trip. Millions of us are […]

Homily for August 12, 2007: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can collect almost anything these days. The Franklin Mint is making a mint selling everything from replicas of antique cars to porcelain scenes from “Gone With the Wind.” When I was growing up, the mother of my best friend […]

Homily for August 5, 2007: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by deacon greg kandra

Back in the 1947 – 60 years ago — newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst bought an estate in Beverly Hills for the then-astounding sum of 120-thousand dollars. Hearst only lived there four years before he died. A variety of other […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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