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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Liturgy Archives

Epic: remembering Vietnam’s martyrs in California

posted by jmcgee

In what has become an annual near-Thanksgiving event, thousands convened in a southern California stadium to pray for, celebrate, and remember the martyrs who were canonized by Pope John Paul. Details: The ceremony at Cal State Long Beach’s Pyramid mixed […]

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Starting a new year, moving the ribbons

posted by jmcgee

It’s something most of us aren’t even aware of, but it is done in countless churches around the world this time of year — and the Concord Pastor reflects on its meaning: This weekend I will observe a little ritual […]

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Back to you: a different view of the mass

posted by jmcgee

That would be the back of the priest, actually. Fr. Richard Simon writes of his experience recently saying mass “ad orientem,” facing away from the congregation for a small portion of of the liturgy. The reaction from the people in […]

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Duck!

posted by jmcgee

Amazing video below (h/t Rocco) of the famous giant thurible at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Top speed: a reported 42 mph. You gotta see this to believe it.

“All you holy men and women, pray for us…”

posted by jmcgee

I was pleased to see the Concord Pastor discovered this recording of John Becker’s beautiful “Litany of the Saints.” It’s been used a time or two in my diocese at the cathedral. While not as haunting as the traditional Gregorian […]

Passing the basket — and the sunscreen

posted by jmcgee

A parish in Knoxville, Tennessee had a big outdoor mass last weekend and the local media came to check it out. Video below. Story and more video here. And this blog has more pictures and video, too.

Northern exposure: Alaska kids learn chant

posted by jmcgee

Well, who’d a thunk? Check out this video below, from the online edition of the Catholic Anchor in Anchorage.

Music and the new missal: a joyful noise?

posted by jmcgee

Some of the most dramatic changes in the new Roman Missal won’t just be in what we say, but in what we sing. Music publishers are already working on that, according to CNS: The new Roman Missal authorized Aug. 20 […]

EMHCs as SOP

posted by jmcgee

A British observer has some sharp words about EMHCs at Catholic liturgies: What’s the point of all these assistants? The Catholic Church does allow for what it calls an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, in cases when the priest is […]

What’s my line: the deacon’s new dismissal

posted by jmcgee

Much attention has been given to the new translation of the Roman Missal. What many have not noted, however, is the new dismissal options for the deacon (or, if he’s absent, the priest): Go forth, the Mass is ended. Or: […]

November 27, 2011

posted by jmcgee

Mark your calendars: that’s the date the new translation of the Roman Missal will debut in a parish near you. Details, from CNS: The missal, announced by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and first published in Latin in 2002, […]

A question about mass intentions and deacons

posted by jmcgee

This is a new one to me, so I thought I’d toss it out there and see if anyone has an answer. A deacon reader writes: Can you find out for me, the validity of a mass intention in the […]

Should Catholic funerals have eulogies?

posted by jmcgee

A priest who has a unique perspective on the question offers his own answer over at U.S. Catholic: I was spending a leisurely minute planning my funeral the other day-not a savory task, but a prudent one since I have […]

“Get Low”: Robert Duvall in a movie with a message

posted by jmcgee

The Academy Award-winning star popped up on “Currents” last week to talk about his new movie, and its undercurrent of faith.

“Mass on the Grass”: a followup — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Some readers may remember the “Mass on the Grass” from last month — a liturgy celebrated before a baseball game on a field in Illinois. Catholic News Agency has a followup: Thanks to discussions between a priest and a minor […]

Who makes all those vestments?

posted by jmcgee

A California paper visits one of the leading manufacturers of church vestments to find out: It sounds like a New Yorker cartoon the way Mannix Delfino describes a recent Saturday afternoon in her Carson shop. “It was so cute, the […]

Seeing red over the “Orange Mass”

posted by jmcgee

You probably recall this bizarre video of a mass staged in connection with the World Cup. The priest in the middle of it all has been suspended — and his flock is unhappy: Parishioners of the Church of St Victor […]

Baseball team hosts “Mass on the Grass”

posted by jmcgee

In suburban Chicago, a minor league baseball team is making a major league statement of faith: As any athlete will tell you, it’s always good to have God on your side before a big game. Tonight, the Kane County Cougars […]

A “World Cup Mass” — complete with soccer balls?

posted by jmcgee

Um, yes. In the Netherlands.  If the “picnic mass” wasn’t too much for you, here’s another treat, h/t Al Kresta and Creative Minority Report. As Al puts it: Does this look like “sacred space” to you? Does this look like […]

The picnic mass, translated

posted by jmcgee

A few days ago, I posted this bizarre video of an outdoor mass in Austria. I asked if anyone could translate, and one of my readers — a deacon in Washington, DC — generously obliged. His text: On the 29th […]

The 10 Best Hymns?

posted by jmcgee

Yesterday, I linked to a First Things post about the “10 Worst Hymns.” A friend and longtime reader wrote to me this morning, disappointed: I think lists like this could be a turn off for some Catholics of my generation […]

Only 10?

posted by jmcgee

That crafty Elizabeth Scalia has drawn our attention to a list of “The Ten Worst Hymns”, which has some real doozies — some of which I’d all but forgotten. One particularly awful one — so bad, it’s good — is […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the picnic mass

posted by jmcgee

And now, from Austria, a little something that looks like a holiday barbecue which was, evidently, Holy Mass. (H/T) Can anyone translate?? 

When a priest can’t finish mass

posted by jmcgee

File this under “Really Interesting Stuff Most Catholics Don’t Know.” It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then a priest is unable to complete the holy sacrifice of the mass. What then? Zenit, citing a theology manual from the […]

World’s worst-dressed priests?

posted by jmcgee

Take a look. Warning: not for the faint of heart. You can see more — if you really want to — right here.

How long until we see this on the altar?

posted by jmcgee

Will the priest one day celebrate mass with an iPad? It’s now technically possible (though, perhaps, not liturgically correct). Check this out: iBreviary–the daily prayer book for iPhone–will become a full Roman missal for iPad, allowing priests to celebrate mass […]

New mass, new music

posted by jmcgee

It’s no secret that composers and music publishers are scrambling to create new musical settings for the new translation of the Roman Missal, due to take effect late next year. But we have a rare window into the process over […]

Corpus Christi in Queens

posted by jmcgee

A parishioner sent these along this morning: some snapshots from our Corpus Christi procession at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, Queens.  It was a beautiful event — with hundreds of parishioners and dozens of altar servers.   […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the cappa magna

posted by jmcgee

Here’s something you certainly don’t see every day, from the Pontifical High Mass celebrated last weekend in Washington.    Not everyone loved it. One commenter at U.S. Catholic magazine called it “a ridiculous mountain of red silk,” and added: It’s […]

“Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia…”

posted by jmcgee

And now, a little palate-cleanser… This is one of my favorite chants, and one we hear often this season at my parish: the Regina Caeli. (Our cantor sang it after communion last Sunday, as she will every Sunday during Easter […]

And how was your Triduum?

posted by jmcgee

A lot of people have written, asking: “How was your Triduum? How about the Exultet? Are you still alive?” Well, yeah. I’m here. Let me try to sort it all out. Here’s what I remember. Thursday Morning. Spent some time […]

Rejoice, heavenly powers!

posted by jmcgee

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation! Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! […]

Do the deacon dance!

posted by jmcgee

And now for something completely different: here’s part of the closing mass at the just-concluded Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. It includes the procession of all the clergy — including a dancing deacon.  Really. 

What is Passion Sunday?

posted by jmcgee

Good question. Those of us who are of a certain age (cough, cough) remember references to it from the ’60s. But that fell out of fashion. If you’re curious, the good people at New Advent have a comprehensive explanation: everything […]

From Old St. Patrick’s: a Gaelic mass

posted by jmcgee

Yesterday, Archbishop Dolan announced that the Archdiocese of New York would get its very first basilica: the historic Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in lower Manhattan. Fittingly, the previous weekend the old church — forerunner of the glorious temple in midtown […]

“Out of darkness, God has called us…”

posted by jmcgee

This Sunday afforded our choir an opportunity to sing one of my favorite modern hymns: “Out of Darkness” by Christopher Walker. (I chose it for my Mass of Thanksgiving, too, and we’ll hear it a couple of times during Holy […]

On the new missal: “No translation will be perfect”

posted by jmcgee

“Even the best of all possible translations of the new Missal will not suit every individual’s preference. No translation will be perfect. Proponents of the new text sometimes argue, perhaps unfairly, that the texts currently in use in our liturgy […]

Is this the future?

posted by jmcgee

Some people seem to think so. A writer for the Wall Street Journal dropped by an interfaith gathering in Washington featuring Evensong and Benediction, using Anglican prayers and presided over by a Catholic priest: One former Episcopalian present confessed to […]

Beat the clock: welcome to the 15-minute mass

posted by jmcgee

And it’s causing a small sensation in Ireland: An Irish cleric’s congregation has increased tenfold in a week — thanks to a quickie Mass. Despite the controversies which have rocked the church in recent years and the resulting fall-off in […]

Everybody boogie: the dancing Rite of Election

posted by jmcgee

Do you know the way to San Jose? Just follow the dancers. That’s how the Rite of Election is done in that California diocese. A blogger for the diocese explains: In our Diocese of San Jose, we have dancing books […]

Stand and deliver: posture in church

posted by jmcgee

A columnist who writes from Ohio is using the beginning of Lent to wonder about the great cardio workout people get in church: Before Lent got going, I’d been writing about some of those “edge phenomena” around worship, “adiaphora” or […]

Latin mass coming to National Shrine

posted by jmcgee

According to this press release, it’s the first time such a mass has been celebrated at America’s largest Catholic Church in nearly half a century: The Paulus Institute announced today that on Saturday, April 24, 2010, at 1 p.m., the […]

Let us pray. Or not.

posted by jmcgee

The esteemed George Weigel is steamed. In his latest column, the writer and pundit takes aim at a moment in the mass that belongs, properly, to the deacon — and which, in Weigel’s view, often leaves much to be desired. […]

How gay are Catholic priests?

posted by jmcgee

Well, Andrew Sullivan points to this Amazon link as evidence of a lavender underground, but the evidence — like the wafers in question — is thin. From my experience, priests don’t buy communion wafers; sacristans or church secretaries do. And […]

Mass as theater: after communion, let’s go to Sardi’s and wait for the reviews …

posted by jmcgee

Over at First Things, Patrick Rostrum has attempted to write what amounts to a review of a church and its mass, with special emphasis on the homily: The pre-service stillness did not last long. With the first note of the […]

The cup comes back

posted by jmcgee

After weeks of anxiety about the swine flu, at least one U.S. diocese will be bringing back the communion chalice. From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Last fall, it was a sign of the season – the flu season, that […]

Anglican watch: “Preaching will be theological, eloquent and sophisticated”

posted by jmcgee

Along with good liturgy, it seems the Anglicans will be bringing with them good preaching, too. From the blog Sub Tuum: One value shared in common among all Anglicans, however, has been their expectation of regular and good preaching. It […]

Catholics drawn to Anglican rite

posted by jmcgee

As a friend pointed out to me when she read this, “This isn’t surprising. The Anglican liturgy is gorgeous.” Compared to what passes for Sunday mass in most regular Catholic parishes, I can understand the appeal of this. (And I […]

“You are going to die”

posted by jmcgee

That’s one of the fundamental messages contained in the funeral homily below, from Msgr. Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington. He writes about his approach here, and explains: I will admit that some of the things I say are […]

What if we said ‘Wait’?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the compelling question that Rev. Michael G. Ryan posed in AMERICA magazine last week, and the subject was the new translation of the Roman Missal.  A snip (subscription required, unforunately): What is at stake, it seems to me, is […]

The first Sunday of Advent, 40 years ago…– UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

That was when American Catholics first stepped into church and experienced the “New Mass.” And Catholic traditionalist Kenneth J. Wolfe notes the event — and its aftermath — in today’s New York Times, citing as his villain Annibale Bugnini, who […]

Forgive us our syntax: bishops debate mass translation

posted by jmcgee

As the bishops gather in Baltimore this week, an important topic of discussion will be the new mass translation. Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look: Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie has led the charge against what he […]

Holy hee haw: the Bluegrass Mass?

posted by jmcgee

Personally, I’d love to hear this for myself: There was some Catholic toe tapping to the strains of banjo and fiddle as the first ever “Bluegrass Mass” was celebrated in September exactly where it belonged: the “birthplace of country music,” […]

I feel suffused with ignominy

posted by jmcgee

Because I had to look up that last word in the headline to find out what it means. Evidently, it pops up in the proposed new translation of the Roman missal. And one bishop used a lecture last week to […]

Check out this Catholic funeral

posted by jmcgee

After all the hand-wringing over Senator Kennedy’s funeral, a reader decided to send me something altogether different. I thought I’d post it and see what folks think.  It’s the webscast of the funeral of a sister, held earlier this week at […]

At the “Red Mass,” a plea for the unborn

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The annual “Red Mass” took place in Washington Sunday — and some big names were in the pews. From the AP:  An American cardinal on Sunday issued a plea for the rights of the unborn at a church service that […]

Seeing Red

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Washington’s Catholic lawmakers will celebrate the annual Red Mass this Sunday, and a producer at CNN looks at some of the history behind this event:  The beautifully ornate Catholic church in the nation’s capital has seen its share of history […]

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amazing, indeed. Check out more here.

Metropolitan Jonah and his amazing technicolor vestments

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This comes from our Eastern Rite desk. Check out these vestments.  This is why God gave the world Kodachrome. 

Society of Jesus Christ the Priest: divine or divisive?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A leading bishop in Wisconsin is voicing his support for a tradition-minded group of priests who are now running a cluster of parishes — and sparking some controversy: At a recent Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, the Rev. John […]

The Triumph of the Cross

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Christ of St. John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali (1951) “The cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found heir consummation — very many indeed, for […]

Mass appeal: “It’s like Jolt Cola for the soul”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The most famous priest in Brazil is Padre Marcelo Rossi — and John Allen had a chance to experience one of his Masses. It sounds incredible: In some ways the Mass was like an emotional roller coaster ride, repeatedly building […]

Anything goes: Dominick Dunne’s big fat Irish Catholic funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

The celebrated author Dominick Dunne was buried this afternoon following a funeral mass that makes Ted Kennedy’s seem downright conservative: Chronicler of the rich and powerful Dominick Dunne was eulogized as a great father, gossip and faithful friend at a […]

Light a candle…on the internet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for a high tech church?: A Catholic church is allowing worshippers to light candles in memory of their loved ones over the internet as it seeks to reach out to a broader community. The church of Santa Maria […]

For all you Catholic funeral junkies out there

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’re interested in comparing funerals, you can pay your respects at Your Funeral Guy — yes, that’s the name of the site — for an overview of the funeral of Ted Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Shriver, held two weeks ago. […]

O’Malley’s moment

posted by deacon greg kandra

Below is the video of the one moment in Kennedy’s funeral mass where we heard from Boston’s Cardinal Archbishop, Sean O’Malley: the commendation at the end. Over at GetReligion, there’s an interesting discussion on the liturgy — and some questions […]

Do you care about the availability of the Tridentine Mass? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Most American Catholics, it seems, don’t. According to CNS: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Catholics surveyed said they have no opinion on the increased availability of the Tridentine Mass since Pope Benedict XVI made it easier for parishes to offer the […]

This is how rumors get started

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yesterday, I posted on the proposed changes in the mass text, and how they might affect the deacon. A couple days earlier, I’d also put up a story about the Bishop of Tulsa deciding to celebrate mass ad orientem. This […]

Hail, Holy Queen: heaven and earth resound the hymn!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree […]

“Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s one small, but significant, change in the new translation of the mass that will directly impact the deacon. You can find more at this helpful link, provided by the USCCB, with comparisons of the old version of the mass, […]

Face East, young man — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the way they’ll be doing things in Tulsa — at least, when Bishop Edward Slattery celebrates mass at the cathedral. The bishop’s statement, in part: In the last 40 years…this shared orientation was lost; now the priest and the […]

Speaking of dancing…

posted by deacon greg kandra

My Anglican e-pal Bosco Peters, in New Zealand, noting the kerfuffle over that wedding march, has pointed me to this intriguing video of an Episcopal parish in San Francisco which regularly uses dance as part of its liturgy. Below is […]

His view from the pew: what a bishop saw at mass on vacation — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

How often do you find a bishop who takes the time to look thoughtfully — and critically — at what people encounter when they attend mass? So it’s all the more impressive to encounter this column by Rhode Island Bishop […]

Canada’s non-Catholic prime minister pockets communion host — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did he think he was getting a pocketful of miracles? You have to see this to believe it. Canada’s Prime Minister (who is not Catholic) receives communion. And then decides to hold onto it for…safekeeping? A souvenir? Good luck? H/T […]

Should the flag be displayed in church?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A regular reader and FOB (Friend of The Bench), Msgr. Thomas Welbers from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offers a few thoughts on the subject in this week’s issue of LA’s The Tidings: There is no law, either ecclesiastical or […]

“Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life” approved by bishops

posted by deacon greg kandra

An interesting development out of the bishops’ meeting in Texas: a special new mass liturgy may be heading our way before long. Take a look: Nearly 20 years after Cardinal John O’Connor of New York suggested it, the U.S. bishops […]

Here comes the sun

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent this my way: a report about a fairly huge Corpus Christi procession in a corner of the country that’s not noted for being Catholic. From Washington state: Kimberly Daniels was busy watering her garden Sunday when hundreds […]

“She’s one of God’s creatures, although she’s a Unitarian”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Blessing of the Animals is not uncommon around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in October. But in the city named for the saint, they didn’t want to wait for the fall: If Ursula could talk, she’d probably […]

The latest growth industry in tough times: altar wine

posted by deacon greg kandra

Who’d a thunk? An interesting sociological trend, from The Tidings, the archdiocesan paper for Los Angeles: If you have driven north on highway 101 anytime during the past five years, you have certainly noticed the proliferation of vineyards – and […]

A Baptist preacher encounters a thousand-year-old liturgy: “I loved it loved it loved it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something altogether different: reflections of a Baptist preacher, who visited an Orthodox church with his family while on sabbatical, and was absolutely stunned: Saint Anthony the Great isn’t just old school. It’s “styli and wax tablets” old school. We […]

Jazz with Jesus

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Manhattan comes this hip liturgy: a Sunday night jazz mass. Dig it. This comes from the America magazine’s web page.

Quote of the day

posted by deacon greg kandra

“We need to foster worship which stuns, which leaves the newcomer, long-time practicing Catholic, above all the fallen-away simply thunder stuck. Worship must at some point leave people speechless in awe. We need language and music and gesture which in […]

Making a joyful noise?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The God Googler, Mike Hayes, posted this snip from a mass, featuring a sung eucharistic prayer, and asked “What do you think of this?” Well? On the one hand, I like a chanted eucharistic prayer very much; it’s not done […]

Exult in glory: insight into the great chant of the Easter Vigil

posted by deacon greg kandra

Looking for a little dissection on The Exultet? Look no further. Visit Fr. Z’s site and you’ll find a rich and interesting look at that Everest of Chants (which Your Humble Blogger, along with countless others, will be scaling in […]

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 […]

“Do you know what I have done to you?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And […]

Deac of oil: a Chrism Mass report

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night, our diocese for the first time celebrated the Chrism Mass on a day other than Holy Thursday. (Evidently, this is not uncommon in other parts of the country.) It was a rich and rewarding liturgy, as always, but […]

Spy Wednesday, and the tree of Judas

posted by deacon greg kandra

The day before Holy Thursday is traditionally known as “Spy Wednesday” — when Judas “spied” for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Last year I dug up and posted this little nugget which explains the liturgies surrounding this day, and the […]

Sing, choirs of angels: deacons on the Exultet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I wrote about the challenge of singing the Exultet — and I’ve gone on record describing my own experience scaling that mountain for the first time. Now the refrain has been picked up by the Catholic Review […]

“The Mass in places like Malawi blows the American Catholic Mass out of the water” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

A blogger in Africa has some thoughts on what it means to take part in the celebration of mass in that corner of the world — and it sounds like something amazing: The Catholic Mass in places like Malawi absolutely […]

Deacons and the Chrism Mass??

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert priest sent this my way, and I thought it worth posting and discussing. From Zenit: Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university. Q: During Holy Week the Chrism Mass […]

It humbles earthly pride: singing the Exultet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last year, I had my first experience scaling the Everest of liturgical chant, the Exultet. (I blogged about that, and my first Triduum, here, and that account was recently reprinted in Deacon Digest.) I know a few guys who now […]

Looking for a really beautiful mass?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Look no further. My siblings in Catholic broadcasting, Catholic TV in Boston, are now airing every Sunday the mass from Notre Dame in Indiana. The basilica is stunning, the liturgy is reverent, the music is magnificent — and there’s nothing […]

Packed

posted by deacon greg kandra

Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester, notes the following: Using just anecdotal evidence I wonder if today’s Holy Day of Obligation is the least attended. Year after year no matter what parish I might go to on the Solemnity of Mary, […]

Denying communion Down Under

posted by deacon greg kandra

This happens so rarely, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. A government official in Australia was denied communion on Christmas Eve. And, it seems, it was all a big mistake. From the local press: Attorney-General Rob Hulls […]

Ah, Christmas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Midnight mass at my parish. The church is filled. A few people bundled in coats hurry in from the cold as the lights dim. The voices start. It’s the choir up in the loft: “Once in Royal David’s city…” and […]

Sign of peace: “Sometimes, it’s like the Packers just scored a touchdown…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the singular moments assigned to the deacon at mass is to utter the phrase: “Let us offer one another the sign of peace.” But where and when that moment occurs may be about to change. John Allen has […]

The Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, […]

Take our bread

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ll bet you’ve never seen this before: the making of communion wafers at the Cavanaugh Company in Rhode Island, the largest manufacturer of altar bread in America. This comes from Michael Paulson, who posted it last week at Articles of […]

“I want to talk about female altar servers, and my experience…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple days ago, I posted an amusing photograph from my parish’s Thanksgiving Day mass. To my amazement, it unleashed a tiny firestorm of comment and debate on the subject of girls serving on the altar. One veteran of my […]

Where I was yesterday

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parishioner sent me the photo below, from our Thanksgiving Day mass. I’m one of the guys up behind the altar. I think the photo may have been snapped on a cell phone. I especially like that the photographer caught […]

Keeping the candles burning

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can you believe Advent is almost here? Neither can I. To better brace ourselves for the weeks ahead, the Catholic Spirit newspaper (from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis) has this terrific and practical primer on how to give […]

Come ye thankful people, come!

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is the entrance hymn for our parish mass this morning: Come, ye thankful people come, Raise the song of harvest home: All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin. God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants […]

Can you count the liturgical abuses?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A rather peculiar youth mass, celebrated by Cardinal Schonborn, of all people. H/T to American Papist.

Finger on the button

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A couple years ago, I had a strange experience while giving out communion at mass: one of the congregants came up wearing a tee shirt from Hooters. Some people, of course, will wear anything to church. Which brings me to […]

Coming soon: women installed in ministry of lector?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. It’s a proposal — passed overwhelmingly by the Synod of Bishops — to admit women, formally, to the ministry of lector. Among other things, this is significant because lector […]

“Go in peace and remember to buy a CYO raffle ticket on the way out…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That would be my choice for ending the mass, but Benedict has some other suggestions. A report from Rome indicates the pope has okayed new ways of ending the mass — though this story from Zenit inaccurately says the final […]

The return of “Quarant’ Ore”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many parishes report a resurgence in Eucharistic adoration — and a few are going the extra mile (or extra day or two) with a practice that many thought had vanished: the 40 Hours devotion. Florida is seeing it return in […]

“May they hang 10 in thy oceanic bounty…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Leave it to California: this weekend, they had the traditional Blessing of the Waves out in Orange County. It was totally gnarly, dude: About 400 people gathered at sunrise Sunday to thank God for a gnarly ocean and to hang […]

Going for The Gold

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many of us are familiar with the annual Red Mass, celebrated for lawyers, or the Blue Mass, for law enforcement officers. Now comes word of another color added to the liturgical rainbow: a Gold Mass. From the Catholic Standard in […]

Tridentine loyalists: “They do not know the harm they are doing”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One year after the pope mandated a “freeing up” of the Latin rite, some of its most strident supporters still aren’t happy. (Anyone who has ever sat on a parish committee or attended a PTA meeting or organized a car […]

Signs of faith: bringing Christ to the deaf

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A rare and unusual way of celebrating the mass is about to begin in the Archdiocese of Newark — mass for the deaf, celebrated by a priest using American Sign Language. And the person spearheading the effort is a local […]

Yahweh and Dan Schutte: the story behind “You Are Near”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

While the head-scratching and hand-wringing continues over the “Ixnay Yahweh” decision, composer Dan Schutte is talking about what led him to write “You Are Near,” and reveals that he’s revising it. H/T to Catholic Sensibility. Here’s what Schutte had to […]

You are near

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is just too good to resist. Hot on the heels of the kerfuffle about using the name YAHWEH in liturgy, I stumbled on this gorgeous rendition of “You Are Near.” Watch. Listen. It’s lovely. And the sign language interpretation […]

Yahweh? No way.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican has decided to crack down on one seemingly inoffensive word that crops up in some popular hymns — and it could soon change what we hear at mass. From CNS: In the not-too-distant future, songs such as “You […]

New missal now available online

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For those who just can’t wait, the first parts of the new mass translation are now available online at the USCCB website. James Martin, S.J. takes note: The changes start at the very beginning of the Mass. In answer to […]

Here comes the new translation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Word is trickling out from Rome that the first phase of new English translations of the mass have been approved. It will likely be another 2-4 years before we start hearing them in church. But the article below from CNS […]

Suffering from a case of the clap

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it: clapping during mass. I know one or two priests who encourage it (to express appreciation for the choir or to pay tribute to an usher turning 80) but sometimes it […]

Mass hysteria?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

People who were pulling their hair out over the wider use of the Latin mass can now have an official, low-grade freak-out. It sounds like more changes in the mass could be coming soon, to a sanctuary near you: The […]

When in Rome…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…you will receive communion from the Pope on your knees. That’s the word from the Catholic News Service: Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling before the pope will become the norm at papal liturgies, said the Vatican’s liturgist. […]

“The Liturgy of the Notices”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A very amusing, and very clever, dissection of a part of the mass that is often overlooked. A cheerful h/t to Bosco at The Naked Liturgist.

Second chants

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is chant making a comeback? Some seem to think so, and this item in the Dallas Morning News, from the Religion News Service, adds up the evidence: It doesn’t have much of a beat, the kids can’t dance to it, […]

On your knees?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A number of people noticed that Pope Benedict distributed communion on the feast of Corpus Christi to faithful who were kneeling. Is something up? Catholic News Service says, no: The four dozen people who received Communion from Pope Benedict XVI […]

Come, Holy Ghost: a Pentecost preview

posted by deacon greg kandra

Image: Pentecost, by Deacon Bernard Deschler, The Deacon’s Studio Almighty and ever-living God,you fulfilled the Easter promise by sending us your Holy Spirit.May that Spirit unite the races and nations on earth to proclaim your glory.Grand this through our Lord […]

What did you hear?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anyone who saw the papal mass this morning in Washington heard a real melting pot of music and languages, and Catholic News Service has an overview: The liturgical celebration of Pope Benedict XVI’s April 17 Mass in Nationals Park reflected […]

Kumbaya, anyone?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

All poped out yet? Good. Here’s a pretty interesting nugget from today’s Washington Post on the pope and his music — or, rather, the music you will probably be hearing at the papal masses: Catholics don’t argue about abortion or […]

Is the Easter Vigil too long?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Over at America’s blog, James Martin is taking a long, hard look at the elephant in the nave, and he poses the (to some) shocking question: is the Easter Vigil just too long? For me and for most Catholics, the […]

Chrism Mass comes but once a year…

posted by deacon greg kandra

On Holy Thursday, I’ll have a couple of rare privileges in my still-new diaconate life. In the morning, I will join the other clergy at the annual Chrism Mass at our cathedral, and serve as deacon on the altar beside […]

Spy Wednesday

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wednesday of this week marks what has been known for centuries as Spy Wednesday — traditionally, the day on which Judas spied for an opportunity to betray Jesus. It’s thought to be the day when Christ’s betrayer may have clinched […]

More on the Exultet, “this wonderful and only apparently simple melody”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Our good friends over at Zenit have posted a little something on the Exultet, of which I wrote a at some length a few days ago. Seems someone was curious about where this chant originated — and why it’s sung […]

Why the crucifix?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This coming week, countless Catholics around the world will venerate the cross with a kiss — and we will be reminded again of the powerful place this instrument of death holds over our imagination, and in our Catholic culture. Even […]

Seven days that shook the world

posted by deacon greg kandra

After spending the last few weeks in the desert of Lent, suddenly we find ourselves in an oasis, clutching long leaves of palms. But like so many things you see after being in the desert, it’s a mirage. What we […]

Bound for glory: the journey toward baptism at Easter

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As we continue the countdown to Easter — 10 days until the Vigil! — it’s heartening and inspiring to read about those who are making the journey toward that baptismal font. The St. Anthony Messenger has a great piece this […]

The Exultet: “Join me in asking God for mercy…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I find myself, this Easter, confronting an awesome giant. It is the same massive and beautiful creature that has terrified and intimidated generations of deacons. It stands astride the holiest time of the year, daring you to pass. It laughs […]

Everything’s coming up rose

posted by deacon greg kandra

At countless churches around the world this Sunday, Lenten purple will give way to…pink?! No. Rose. The vestments are rose. It is Laetare Sunday, described succinctly right here: The fourth, or middle, Sunday of Lent, so called from the first […]

A prayer for Lent

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

God of all compassion, Father of all goodness,to heal the wounds our sins and selfishness bring upon usyou bid us turn to fasting, prayer, and sharing with our brothers and sisters. We acknowledge our sinfulness, our guilt is ever before […]

Report: Vatican will order that all seminarians be trained in Latin rite

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of this news about permanent deacons and the Latin rite comes another news nugget, this from a British paper, about training seminarians in the old rite: Seminaries throughout the Catholic world will have to teach candidates […]

Ave Verum

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress just posted a lovely rendition of Ave Verum. Ironically, the version by Mozart was ringing in my ears yesterday morning: our choir sang it during communion at the 11:30 mass. Here’s a gorgeous recording I found on YouTube.

“Liturgy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader sent me a note today from — of all places — New Zealand. He runs a spirituality website that is now devoting some time and attention to that precious prayer of the church, the Liturgy of the Hours. […]

The reform of the reform of the reform

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican is trying to correct the impression in some quarters that the pope is eager to turn back the clock to the days before Vatican II. Catholic News Service reports: Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of launching a […]

Turning back the clock? Or just turning back?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Following custom, Pope Benedict performed several baptisms today. But he broke with recent custom in at least one significant way, according to this report: Pope Benedict XVI baptized 13 babies in the Sistine Chapel during a Sunday Mass celebrated at […]

Those who are missing at mass

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’re wondering, like a lot of us, why more Catholics don’t go to mass, a priest has just published his thoughts on the subject: Why do Catholics stop attending Mass? This question was asked in a recent study conducted […]

Is midnight mass becoming a thing of the past?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In some places, Christmas midnight mass is becoming too dangerous — or too disruptive. Is a tradition about to disappear? This item from the UK outlines some of the problems parishes are facing: A growing number of Catholic churches are […]

Getting closer…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s “O” Antiphon time — and my cyberpal The Anchoress sent me this lovely link, with the antiphon for today. Enjoy.

When was the last time you saw mass on a magazine cover?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people at U.S. News and World Report have noticed a trend, and they’ve splashed it across their cover this week, just in time for Christmas. In a nutshell: the practice of traditional ritual is becoming more common among […]

University of Maryland Catholics brush up on their Latin

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was a lowly undergraduate at the University of Maryland (class of ’81 — barely), I’d sometimes attend mass at the beautiful campus chapel. Frankly, I wasn’t a big mass-goer in those days, and tended to spend my Sunday […]

When in Rome: Marini writes about “The Challenging Reform”

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about the “reform of the reform” — and now a leading liturgist at the Vatican has said, “Be careful about that”: In a new book, a Vatican archbishop has chronicled the birth […]

Prayer on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

posted by deacon greg kandra

Let us pray,[on this feast of Mary,who experienced the perfection of God’s saving power.]Father,the image of the Virgin is found in the Church.Mary had a faith that your Spirit preparedand a love that never knew sin,for you kept her sinlessfrom […]

Getting a Handel on Advent

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last Sunday, the choir at my parish offered us a little Handel for Advent: “And the Glory of the Lord,” sung during the offertory. It was a wonderful rendition, beautifully performed — and, I think, a joyous foretaste of Christmas. […]

The wonder of Wesley: an ecumenical evening in Rome

posted by deacon greg kandra

I suspect that my Methodist-born mother would have been tickled by this bit of news from, of all places, Rome: Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists filled Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls with some of the most famous hymns […]

Remembering the Vietnamese martyrs

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a tradition that seems to be spreading, thousands of Vietnamese gathered this weekend in California to celebrate and commemorate the martyrs who were canonized nearly 20 years ago. The Los Angeles Times takes note: Several thousand Vietnamese American Roman […]

First chants: learning the Gregorian way

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you can’t tell Gregorian chant from the Goo Goo Dolls, help is on the way. You can take classes. Some seminarians are doing just that in Connecticut: On Thursday nights they gather here, in this basement classroom with whitewashed […]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those who think the pope issued his motu proprio because he just loves Latin are mistaken, according to a top Vatican official: A lack of respect for the norms for celebrating the Mass after the Second Vatican Council contributed to […]

Baltimore Archbishop: priest who resigned can return to ministry after counseling

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archbishop of Baltimore has spoken out about the controversy surrounding a pastor who was relieved of his duties over liberties he took with the liturgy. The Baltimore Sun chatted with Archbishop O’Brien during the USCCB confab in Charm City: […]

“Rejoice, full of grace”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over the new translation of the missal, headed to America’s shores in the next year or two, this news might be of interest: Italians listening to the Scriptures at Mass will no longer hear […]

Where they don’t make a mess of the mass

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the Latin mass the only solution to our mucked-up modern liturgy? A lot of people seem to think so, and Elizabeth Scalia over at Inside Catholic has weighed in, with her own vivid memories of growing up between the […]

Neighbors express “outrage” over Baltimore priest’s resignation

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Last week’s item about the Baltimore pastor removed for liturgical abuse has prompted some strong reaction here on the blog — and in the streets of Charm City, as well. The Baltimore Sun has just published a followup: Much has […]

Eight weeks after the motu proprio, no groundswell for Latin

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times, of all places, takes a look this weekend at how the Tridentine mass is faring, almost two months after the motu proprio. Interestingly, the reporter cast a wide net, and talked with people in several cities […]

Pastor removed for another kind of abuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A priest has been sacked for abuse. No, not that kind. Liturgical abuse. From CWN, via the Baltimore Sun: Baltimore’s Archbishop Edwin O’Brien has removed a pastor who invited a female Episcopalian […]

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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