Advertisement

The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

My world Archives

One day more

posted by jmcgee

A reminder: “The Deacon’s Bench” is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

Advertisement

Reminder: “The Deacon’s Bench” is moving

posted by jmcgee

Starting Monday, December 13th, you’ll find it at Patheos.com.  Check out the new site here. Come by for a visit. And remember to change your bookmarks!

Advertisement

Making progress

posted by jmcgee

Things are moving along — ha! — over at my new home. When you have a minute, stop by and check it out. A reminder: “The Deacon’s Bench” will be relocated over there on Monday, December 13th. Reset your bookmarks! […]

Advertisement

“Head ’em up! Move ’em out!”

posted by jmcgee

If you missed the news yesterday, “The Deacon’s Bench” is relocating. Beginning Monday, December 13th, you can find it right here. Feel free to drop by and look around.  Meantime, I’ll still be here, rounding up the cattle.

Announcement: “The Deacon’s Bench” is moving

posted by jmcgee

After 15 happy months here at Beliefnet, and several weeks of hand-wringing and finger-drumming while I make up my mind, I’ve decided to pull up stakes and relocate “The Deacon’s Bench” to another site. Beginning next Monday, December 13th, you’ll […]

“These Hands Bring Me Jesus”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the name of an ambitious, surprisingly powerful project undertaken by photographer Steven Golder. He’s been taking photographs of hands — some of them breathtaking in their simplicity and beauty — but not just any hands. They are the hands […]

Comments are back: let the civil discourse resume

posted by jmcgee

And if you need a gentle reminder of the ground rules and guidelines, they’re right here. Happy Advent!

About comments…

posted by jmcgee

… to those who are wondering why the “comment” feature has disappeared, I wrote about it here. Basically, I decided to close down comments for the first week of Advent, to give everyone (especially me) a breather. This is similar […]

Pope to journos: “Proclaim the Good News”

posted by jmcgee

Details: On Friday Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic journalists to “courageously serve the truth, presenting the reasons for faith beyond ideological visions”. He was speaking to a group of editors and reporters from the Italian Federation Catholic Weeklies. In his […]

Deacons today: “Please don’t call me Father…”

posted by jmcgee

U.S. Catholic has a nice, long look at the diaconate in its December issue — and a few familiar names pop up: Beverly Hills, California deacon and author Eric Stoltz often finds himself uttering the phrase, “Please don’t call me […]

Just in time for the holidays…

posted by jmcgee

…and the busy travel season, comes this elegantly crafted ode to one of the ugliest places on earth, New York’s Pennsylvania Station: Don’t stop to contemplate, if you’re there — you’ll be trampled. This holiday season, the quicker you shove […]

Brooklyn’s first Permanent Deacon dies

posted by jmcgee

The following e-mail landed in my in-box late this afternoon: Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio regrets to inform you of the death of Deacon Charles A. Postler. Deacon Postler died on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at Calvary Hospital. He was the first […]

A reminder about comments

posted by jmcgee

If you’re new to these parts and haven’t seen them, please take a moment to read the guidelines for comments. I don’t mind disagreement, or debate.  But please do it with respect and charity. Stay on topic, and be brief. […]

More on Dolan

posted by jmcgee

John Allen offers his two cents: In Dolan, the bishops have turned to their most gifted natural communicator, a leader with a demonstrated capacity to project a positive image for Catholicism in the public square. Rather than electing a behind-the-scenes […]

The iPad election: the view from my living room

posted by jmcgee

In my channel surfing last night, I couldn’t help but notice that both Nancy Cordes on CBS and Chuck Todd at NBC were proudly brandishing on the air America’s favorite new toy: the iPad.  This may well go down in […]

“What if I told you Jesus was a black man?”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the provocative opener to a terrific essay by my Assistant News Director, Shu-Fy Pongnon, who riffs on the subject at Patheos: “What if I told you Jesus was a Black man?” How I came to ask Marie this entirely […]

The future of journalism

posted by jmcgee

Okay. Time for a little rant.  I’ve been sifting through resumes and cover letters from job applicants. These are from people who are already working in journalism. They are, supposedly, professional communicators.  Most have been out of school for a […]

Katie Couric: foot in mouth, along with a pumpkin latte

posted by jmcgee

One of Katie’s favored media writers, Howard Kurtz, offers this tidbit: Katie Couric is feeling liberated. Not because she is nearing the end of her five-year contract as CBS anchor–although there’s an unexpected plot twist on that front–but because she’s […]

Reporter in Chile: “The Catholic presence was everywhere”

posted by jmcgee

I love reading about mainstream journalists who are also unabashedly Catholic — and this reporter from the AP, who covered the Chilean mining accident and rescue, offers some insight into what sustained the men and their families: A reporter who […]

Bye Bye, “Busted”

posted by jmcgee

The Editor-in-Chief of Busted Halo, Bill McGarvey, has announced that he’s stepping down after six years at the helm: I am very proud of this site’s transformation into the vibrant multi-media platform that it is today. The discussion happening on […]

Making a list, checking it twice

posted by jmcgee

It’s a little early for Christmas, but some people are indeed making lists — and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Bench has just landed on this one: the Top 50 Catholic Blogs. There are some familiar names, […]

The Ephesians 4:29 Rule

posted by jmcgee

That’s the proposal for blogging set forth by my diaconate brother in bloggery, Scott Dodge: Since no blogger is an island, there are other Catholic bloggers with whom I associate and with whom I even collaborate sometimes. I keep abreast […]

A reminder

posted by jmcgee

If anyone has forgotten, there are some broad guidelines that I posted several months back about blog comments. Please read them and follow them. The vitriol and lack of charity lately has become — to use a word — insidious. […]

Stephen Colbert: “I love my church”

posted by jmcgee

The good people at the Religion News Service have discovered something a lot of us have known for a while: MCPF (My Close Personal Friend) Stephen Colbert is, indeed, a good Catholic boy: Colbert has said that he attends church, […]

Welcome to the Wild West

posted by jmcgee

That’s how British journalist Anna Arco describes the Catholic blogosphere, and she makes some excellent observations. A snip: This year, at a talk given at New Orleans, Archbishop Claudio Celli expressed his concerns about the challenges facing the Catholic blogosphere. […]

CNN = The Jesuits?

posted by jmcgee

“The CNN culture is still very strange. You walk into that building, you think you’re the Jesuits and you’re protecting a certain legacy. They still look at Fox as a carnival–not Fox as a brilliant marketing entity. It’s weird. They’re […]

“Your task, dear members of the Catholic press…”

posted by jmcgee

“My very dear brothers and sisters, whoever works in the media, if he does not wish to be “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1) — as Saint Paul would say — must have well-rooted in himself […]

All the Catholic news that’s fit to print

posted by jmcgee

And now, a little news about Catholic news: this comes to us from the Vatican, via Zenit. A snip: What future does the Catholic press have at the height of a digital revolution that is bankrupting many newspapers? According to […]

Jerome and me

posted by jmcgee

Today marks the feast of St. Jerome— a prolific writer, scholar, and friend of lions (he reputedly helped one by removing a thorn from its paw). He’s also someone close to my own heart. In his youth, my father was […]

Giving Anglicans a Wuerl

posted by jmcgee

This news caused a stir last week, and I’m pleased to report that my show “Currents” (on Brooklyn’s Catholic cable channel NET) got the first broadcast interview with Archbishop Donald Wuerl, discussing his appointment to the committee helping to bring […]

The pope, and the greatest story never told

posted by jmcgee

One of the biggest surprises of Pope Benedict’s historic trip to the United Kingdom may be how few people realize that it was, in fact, historic. Sunday night, I was chatting by phone with my father-in-law in Maryland. I told […]

“You might just see someone you know”

posted by jmcgee

I suspect that could be said by any of the 80,000 or so who gathered in Hyde Park today to get a peek at the pontiff. But it was also said by a certain blogger and Vatican observer, in a […]

And how was YOUR Thursday night? — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

It was, um, interesting out in my corner of Queens. And the cleanup is now underway. Some choice shots, courtesy NY1, below. UPDATE: The New York Times assesses the tragic loss of trees, and finds some poignancy: In All Faiths […]

A tree falls in Brooklyn

posted by jmcgee

And Queens. And Staten Island. And all over the place. When I got home late last night, I knew something was wrong when I got to the subway stairs and saw they were choked with leaves. Then I got up […]

Did you miss the mass?

posted by jmcgee

Have no fear. Every night, the NET will offer a replay, along with special profiles, interviews and analysis — including some pithy insight from “Currents” contributor and uber blogger Rocco Palmo.  Visit this link and click on the tab on […]

Changing channels: radio star finds a new station in life

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a story that sounds familiar, about a successful media professional who walked away from a high-profile career to work for the Church. From the Indianapolis Criterion: She has met backstage with Taylor Swift, talked with Garth Brooks, had her […]

“The Whole Gritty City”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the title of a new documentary about New Orleans marching bands competing to perform in the Mardi Gras parade. It was produced, directed and edited by a former colleague of mine from CBS, Richard Barber — and, judging from […]

Sermons in sand

posted by jmcgee

I just got home from two weeks in Ocean Pines, Maryland, about five miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a pretty neighborhood of cottages and boat docks and tall pines, where the most popular pastime among the natives appears to […]

A good reporter, a good man

posted by jmcgee

While on vacation, I was saddened to learn that veteran CBS News correspondent Harold Dow had died suddenly from an asthma attack.  He was 62. I had the privilege of knowing him, and working with him on two trailblazing magazine […]

Paradise found?

posted by jmcgee

Morning Prayer. Mass. Krispy Kreme donuts. Thrasher’s French Fries. Phillip’s crab cakes. The Tilt-A-Whirl. Ron Hansen’s “Mariette in Ecstasy.” Evening Prayer. And, in between, the view below, interrupted periodically by ducks. 

St. Clare, TV’s patron

posted by jmcgee

August 11 is the feast of a familiar saint, Clare of Assisi.  I know her well.  We have a beautiful engraving of St. Clare hanging in the small chapel of the NET, where I work, and visitors are often surprised […]

Grilling the deacon

posted by jmcgee

For those who have nothing better to do: I’ve been invited to appear on Gus Lloyd’s radio show, “Seize the Day,” tomorrow morning, around 8. Topic: St. Lawrence. Bring marshmallows and weenies!

“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.

The bishops and immigration: Kicanas speaks out

posted by jmcgee

The Bishop of Tucson, Gerald Kicanas, presides over a diocese that runs along the border with Mexico . He’s been vocal about immigration reform, and he gave an interview to “Currents” last week, just before the controversial new Arizona law […]

What do you preach at a wedding?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the question that is lurking in the back of Cathleen Falsani’s mind. She’s been asked to officiate at the wedding of two friends, and is mulling what to say. From the Huffington Post: In the Book of Common Prayer’s […]

The Bench at “The Cafe”

posted by jmcgee

During my recent visit to Cincinnati, I spent a pleasant hour sipping coffee at “The Catholic Cafe,” the radio show hosted by Deacon Jeff Drzycimski. The program we taped is now online for those who’d like to hear Your Humble […]

Anchors away: the future of TV news?

posted by jmcgee

What would Ron Burgundy say? We’re not planning a move in this direction at “Currents,” but you have to wonder: could the future face of TV news…be faceless? Check it out: A ship can float without an anchor, so why […]

Fr. Lawrence Boadt dies

posted by jmcgee

When I was in formation, I spent many weeks lugging around a massive volume “Reading the Old Testament” by Fr. Lawrence Boadt. (My shoulder still hasn’t recovered.) A couple years later, I actually got to meet Fr. Boadt at the […]

Mary Anne Marks: the interview

posted by jmcgee

If you saw this memorable video of Mary Anne Marks (Harvard ’10), you couldn’t fail to be impressed.  Not only did she give that speech in Latin (it’s actually an annual custom at Harvard), but she is also  joining the […]

CA: Commenters Anonymous

posted by jmcgee

It’s not a self-help group (not yet, anyway) but the influx of anonymous commenters, who can say anything without really taking responsibility for their words, can pose problems on news sites and, as I’ve discovered, in the blogosphere. CNN takes […]

The graet-est ice cream?

posted by jmcgee

What’s so great about Cincinnati? Graeter’s. End of discussion. I was a coward, and didn’t try their newest flavor, Blueberry Pie (though some people, I’m told, swear by it.)  I went with my personal fave, Cookies and Cream.  Did I […]

Back from Ohio!

posted by jmcgee

I had a grand time at the NDICE conference in Cincinnati (I’ve finally learned how to spell it) and enjoyed rubbing elbows with my brother deacons from around the country. I’m told about 250 people were there, deacons and their […]

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 […]

And I’m hoping to meet Les Nessman, too…

posted by jmcgee

I’m heading this morning to Cincinnati, to speak at the annual gathering of the NDICE (National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education) at Xavier University. If you’re there, stop by to say hello! Blogging will be very light until my return […]

Ministering to gay Catholics

posted by jmcgee

A couple weeks back, a parish in Manhattan drew a lot of attention — and criticism — for its involvement in New York’s annual “gay pride” parade. I posted an item on the controversy and it got some lively comment. […]

The hallmark of a truly beautiful church

posted by jmcgee

The simmering thread about church music got me to thinking about church architecture. (No, I’m not going to start another Top 10 list…but it’s tempting…) I remembered a conversation I had when I met Fr. George Rutler, at his magnificent […]

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 […]

A notable correction in the New York Times

posted by jmcgee

People of Brooklyn, take note. Reading up in the New York Times for this Sunday’s homily, I found the following at the bottom of an article on Msgr. Bernard Quinn: A capsule summary on Friday for an article about the […]

Worth a thousand words: a priest’s first mass

posted by jmcgee

Fr. Alonzo Cox, Sunday June 27, 2010, at Queen of All Saints Church, in Brooklyn. 

Alzheimer’s, and the long goodbye

posted by jmcgee

This story is a stunner, on so many levels.  It’s reportedly the most-viewed video over at CBSNews.com, and I can understand why.  I knew the two people involved when I worked at CBS, so this really hit close to home. […]

Brooklyn’s first saint?

posted by jmcgee

It could happen. I didn’t get a chance to post this last week, but it’s noteworthy for so many reasons. Thursday night, Bishop DiMarzio formally opened the cause for the canonization of the late, great Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn — […]

A great day in Brooklyn: three new priests

posted by jmcgee

Below, the first published snapshots (forgive the miserable quality — deacon photographer at work!) of the new priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn, ordained Saturday June 26, 2010 at the Basilica Cathedral of St. James. Below, Fr. Nixon Jean-Francois, Fr. […]

Priestly people

posted by jmcgee

Busy weekend here at The Bench: I’ll be attending the ordinations of three new priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn Saturday morning, then on Sunday, serving as deacon at the Mass of Thanksgiving for one of them, Fr. Alonzo Cox. […]

What hath Queens wrought?!

posted by jmcgee

This popped up over at The Anchoress this morning, and I was flabbergasted. I know this gal! Mary Anne Marks is in my parish! Now, a degree from Harvard under her belt, she’s about to enter religious life, joining the […]

The write stuff, Catholic edition

posted by jmcgee

Recently, Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia posted about attending a Catholic writer’s conference. Some of her (always interesting!) impressions can be found right here. But if you want to see more — and hear from The A herself! — check out […]

A Catholic wedding in 2010

posted by jmcgee

Some observations during this month of weddings… The elements are simple, really. A videographer, with lights, who roams around. A photographer. About 60 guests. A small bridal party involving a maid of honor, best man, flower girl.  Sometimes, there may […]

When an altar server marries

posted by jmcgee

Well, not just any altar server. David James was the assistant moderator of the servers at my parish for nearly a decade — and did a superb job.  (Before anyone asks: yes, we have a priest who acts as moderator […]

How can you be a better, holier commenter?

posted by jmcgee

Well, for starters, check out Matthew Warner’s suggestions in the National Catholic Register. He makes some very good points.

What do you give the newly ordained?

posted by jmcgee

‘Tis the season for ordinations. I get a lot of e-mails this time of year, from readers wondering what sort of gift they should get for that newly ordained priest or deacon. When I was ordained, I got a lot […]

Quote of the day: “We are particularly concerned about blogs…”

posted by jmcgee

“Secular media often falls into a trap of being cynical, disrespectful and sensationalist. Whatever is rudest or most sensational is what they often gravitate to. Catholic media can model what a civil, substantive media can and should be. Civil, substantive […]

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.   […]

Happy anniversary!

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, it was one year ago tonight that we launched the world’s first — and so far, only — 30-minute daily Catholic news show. Today marks the one-year anniversary of “Currents,” the nightly news magazine on the NET, the cable […]

10 types of blog comments

posted by jmcgee

This strikes me as pretty on-target. From the National Catholic Register (H/T New Advent): Blog comments are like the graffiti of the untamed digital continent. Some are helpful, like the spray paint on the fence that says “beware of dog.” […]

Dear Reader…

posted by jmcgee

These are the general guidelines for comments at The Deacon’s Bench. Violators will be deleted. I regret that I can’t monitor comments 24/7, and my work frequently calls me away from my computer during the day. For the most part, […]

Katie Couric = Margaret Sanger?

posted by jmcgee

A friend sent me along this item from Creative Minority Report, which notes a commentary by Katie Couric, marking the anniversary of The Pill. As CMR notes: In these times of high unemployment and dangerous deficits one issue has become […]

Let’s talk: comments return

posted by jmcgee

Alrighty. After two weeks of relative peace and quiet, I’m bringing back comments. The past several days have been both restful and instructive – and I’m profoundly grateful to the various bloggers and readers who have offered advice, counsel, support […]

In the mail: the sound of silence

posted by jmcgee

A longtime reader writes: The time in the ‘comment cloister’ has been a journey. It has caused me to consider my own quick-to-judge tendencies. Following the way I tend to see so many things – neither all good or all […]

The anti-me

posted by jmcgee

A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog sent him the e-mail below, and a friend of mine (the wife of a deacon) pointed out to me, “If more people thought this way, you could still have comments on your blog.” Sullivan’s […]

“Any idiot can have a blog…”

posted by jmcgee

Certainly, I’ve done my part to prove that, haven’t I? But don’t take my word for it: check out what my friend Mike Hayes says on the topic over at his fine blog Googling God: Since I started a media […]

Commenting about comments

posted by jmcgee

After I made this announcement the other day, Jim Lackey over at the Catholic News Service took notice. He posted his own thoughts on the matter and is soliciting comments about comments. Check it out. There are some interesting observations […]

BA: Bloggers Anonymous

posted by jmcgee

Part of the problem that gave rise to this post may well be anonymity. In the blogosphere, you can be anyone, or no one, and get away with almost anything. No one needs to be accountable, or own up to […]

“What is he? The Catholic Michael Jackson?”

posted by jmcgee

That’s what my assistant news director asked me when she saw me pull out a camera in the office so that I could have my picture taken with John Michael Talbot. She asked the question with the same arched eyebrow […]

No comments — and here’s why

posted by jmcgee

The following comment on one post struck a nerve: Deacon Greg, I haven’t posted a comment since you left blogspot, and that’s primarily because I no longer feel welcome. If the old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay […]

Quote of the day: “Give a soul to the Internet”

posted by jmcgee

“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to […]

Putting out into the deep, with a NET…

posted by jmcgee

The good folks at the National Catholic Register have done a story about my station NET: When the Brooklyn, N.Y., Diocese decided to launch a new faith-based cable TV channel to replace their Prayer Channel, they had no trouble with […]

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 […]

Brundage speaks

posted by jmcgee

Last night on “Currents,” Fr. Thomas Brundage, who oversaw the case involving Fr. Lawrence Murphy, set out his own account of what happened. You can watch it here. I only wish we’d had more time to go into more depth […]

DiMarzio: “Enough is enough!”

posted by jmcgee

Earlier, I offered the press release announcing Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s homily, which was delivered at this evening’s Chrism Mass. Here’s more, from his prepared text: In recent weeks, we have all been reminded of the evil that some of our […]

The NET’s latest catch: Rocco

posted by jmcgee

This just in, from the Brooklyn Desk …where the news release below just fluttered in over the transom. Some of you have undoubtedly seen Rocco here or here. Well, now you’ll be able to see, and hear, more of him.    […]

Mary’s Way of the Cross

posted by jmcgee

For the last few years, my parish has offered a unique interpretation of the Stations of the Cross during Lent: “Mary’s Way of the Cross,” by Fr. Richard Furey, CSsR. It’s a dramatic, poignant, heart-wrenching retelling of the Passion, through […]

“It always begins with a whisper in the hallway…”

posted by jmcgee

And who knows better about whispers than Rocco Palmo?  He stopped by the offices of “Currents” recently and was interviewed for a segment that we call “I WITNESS.” Among other things, he talked about why he does what he does. […]

Ah, just another day in the newsroom

posted by jmcgee

H/T The Anchoress EMBED-Awesome News Room Fight on Live TV – Watch more free videos

The Martin Chronicles

posted by jmcgee

That would be Fr. James Martin, Jesuit author, sage, TV personality and FOB (Friend of the Bench). The good padre has a new book coming out, “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” and he’s making the rounds to promote it. […]

Yes, Paddy Chayefsky was a prophet

posted by jmcgee

Further evidence that the great movie “Network” wasn’t a satire, but a prophecy. NBC News correspondent Natalie Morales has lent her name and credibility (whatever is left of it) to “The Marriage Ref,” Jerry Seinfeld’s attempt at reality TV comedy. […]

Visiting New York City’s “Abortion Row”

posted by jmcgee

Here in New York, we’re embarking on an ambitious pro-life Lenten campaign, “40 Days for Life,” spearheaded by the innovative group Expectant Mother Care. Not long ago, the group paid a visit to “Abortion Row,” in Queens, where you can […]

Here we snow again

posted by jmcgee

Forest Hills, New York. 10 a.m.  Another.  Really.  Big.  Storm.  Read all about it.

What’s on your iPod?

posted by jmcgee

This catchy little tune is on mine, for the next several weeks. I practice it so often, my wife wanders around the house wearing earplugs. (One more reason why she really looks forward to Easter Sunday…)

Slashed

posted by jmcgee

A couple weeks ago, the media world was reeling when CBS News began a round of layoffs that hit around 100 people. That was bad enough. This news is far, far worse: ABC News will sharply reduce its news-gathering staff […]

In this corner, The Anchoress…

posted by jmcgee

The popular public affairs show on The NET, “In the Arena” is back on the air, returning for a second season. And once again the star attractions (from the WWF, it seems) are Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia and Grant “Commonweal” […]

Rocco of ages: the Loggia Whisperer speaks

posted by jmcgee

The popular but rarely-seen Rocco “Whispers in the Loggia” Palmo made an appearance recently on “Currents,” chatting with contributor and “Catholic Guy” Lino Rulli at a nearby pub. Over a couple brewskies, the two media mavens chatted about a wide […]

Smile and say “Ashes!”

posted by jmcgee

Now I’ve seen everything. I have a brief break between services on this Ash Wednesday, so I wanted to share this incredible-but-true moment from this afternoon. It was our noon mass. It was, predictably, mobbed. Standing room only. During the […]

It’s usually not this clean

posted by jmcgee

Brooklyn, New York. February 10, 2010. Photo by Associated Press

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by jmcgee

Another sign that The End Times are upon us: Your Humble Blogger will be appearing this afternoon on “The Catholic Guy” with Lino Rulli on Sirius satellite radio.  This event will occur around 4:15 pm ET.   Hide the children. […]

Let them eat cake

posted by jmcgee

Hours after dozens of CBS News staffers were laid off — many of them, friends and former colleagues of mine — this video popped up on the Harper’s Bizarre website. It’s touting Katie Couric’s appearance in the magazine’s annual fashion […]

When Lino met Jim

posted by jmcgee

The inimitable Lino Rulli interviewed Fr. James Martin recently for “Currents.” The conversation touched on everything from the priesthood to Jesuits to writing — and, in an odd way, resembled a scene from “Citizen Kane.” Curious? Check out the links […]

Let us pray: pictures from a retreat

posted by jmcgee

My classmate and pal Anthony Martucci had the presence of mind to actually use his camera while we were on retreat this weekend. Below are a couple choice shots. Thanks, Tony! Below is the lower chapel, where we celebrated mass […]

Back at the Bench

posted by jmcgee

Well, it didn’t look exactly like the picture above (which was taken a year ago) but Huntington’s seminary on Long Island is about the same, and we did have a nice dusting of snow on the ground for my weekend […]

The real story behind General Tso’s chicken!

posted by jmcgee

This delicacy is a staple for anyone who has ever eaten out of a cardboard carton that was  delivered by an intense young man wearing a baseball cap and a rain poncho and peddling a spindly bicycle with one flat […]

I’m sure it’s a mistake…

posted by jmcgee

…and he must have meant this place. But, if it’s not a mistake, and I read this right, I’m in some pretty swanky company here. Thanks, Marcel!   You’ve just made The Bench blush.

That’s the way it is…

posted by jmcgee

“Network anchors are a bit like European monarchs: they don’t really matter much anymore, but people still perk up for a royal wedding or a changing of the stars. CBS, which weathered Dan Rather’s scandal-tinted abdication and the splashy ascension […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

New York City, early Sunday morning, December 20th, 2009.

CBS News reporter: “My mother loved me enough to give me up”

posted by jmcgee

A former colleague of mine at CBS, Maureen Maher, shares some of her backstory and how her life was transformed by Catholic Charities: CBS News’ Maureen Maher says it was impossible not to get wrapped up in the subject matter […]

“It’s a love story…”

posted by jmcgee

That would be the story of Christ and his church.  And it’s the story we’re trying to tell at New Evangelization Television (NET).   Yesterday, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we marked our one-year anniversary of “putting out […]

Gotta love these singing nuns

posted by jmcgee

They are the jolly, jubilant, joyful Daughters of St. Paul, who have made music and the media their ministry.   They’ve been doing concert appearances around the country for years, and have released some wonderful CDs, too. They passed through New […]

Must have been a slow news day at Channel 9…

posted by jmcgee

…because they ended up interviewing Your Humble Blogger recently on the subject of religious radio. The results, below.  

The joy of travel

posted by jmcgee

The first unhappy surprise that my wife and I discovered at the airport this holiday weekend: bag charges. Every. Bag. Checked. Ka-ching. The last time we flew, last summer, they let you check one for free. No more. They don’t […]

Whispering with Rocco: a blogger’s take on the USCCB

posted by jmcgee

My gang at “Currents” got to chat with the legendary Rocco “Whispers in the Loggia” Palmo on Monday, to hear his take on the bishop’s confab that was then just starting in Baltimore. You can see and hear what he […]

His life with the saints — and the Jesuits

posted by jmcgee

Many of us have read and enjoyed and passed on to others Fr. James Martin’s wonderful memoir “My Life with the Saints.” We interviewed him for “Currents” last week, and got a glimpse at the writer behind the book. Take […]

“Contrary to popular perception, the role of women is very diverse”

posted by jmcgee

That’s what noted author and theologian Dr. Pia De Solenni had to say yesterday, discussing the role of women in the Church on my show “Currents.”   She has a lot more to say about women’s ordination and the importance of […]

Meet the man behind “Catholics Come Home”

posted by jmcgee

We were lucky to have Tom Peterson stop by our studios last week for a sit-down.  He’s the mastermind behind the powerful (and incredibly effective) “Catholics Come Home” ads that have brought an estimated 100,000 Catholics back to the Church. […]

Faith at your fingertips: praying the rosary

posted by

I still have my first set.  Do you? It was given to me as a first communion gift: simple black beads with a plain plastic cross.  They’re small, child-sized, but I carried them in May processions when I was in […]

Another warning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just a reminder: Your Humble Blogger will be on satellite radio’s The Catholic Channel tonight, at about 8:20 ET, appearing on The Busted Halo Show with Fr. Dave Dwyer. You can catch it on Sirius Radio’s channel 159. Or XM’s […]

Busted. Again.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For those who have nothing better to do this long weekend: Monday night, at about 8:20 ET, Your Humble Blogger will be appearing on The Busted Halo Show, on Sirius Radio’s The Catholic Channel.  I appeared on the show a […]

“Vocations come from being open”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This story from the Catholic Standard in Washington caught my eye, because the young priest now serves at the parish (and school) where I grew up.  He has some sound insight into vocations:      In second grade, right around […]

Words to live by: “Turn off the news”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As one who toiled long and hard in the network news business for nearly three decades, I can give this suggestion a hearty “Amen”:   I don’t mean to put anyone out of work in this difficult economy — I even […]

“We all have secrets. Let’s smoke indoors.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers know I’m a big fan of “Mad Men,” so I was delighted to discover this wicked parody. Anyone who is just now catching up with this absorbing series — and who feels completely adrift — can find all […]

Blushing in the blogosphere

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Several people e-mailed me to say, “Hey, did you know you’re in NCR?”   No!  But I’m humbled and delighted to be mentioned in some exalted company in this piece by Heidi Schlumpf.  Thanks for the props!   Check out […]

Happy One Week Anniversary!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

And they said it wouldn’t last.   I’m marking my first week here at Beliefnet, after two years at my previous address, and so far, so good.  I haven’t broken anything, and the Pope hasn’t called to complain.    I’d […]

I’ve headed cross-town

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those who are looking for “The Deacon’s Bench” can now find it at Beliefnet, the large (and growing) spiritual website. Change your bookmarks! My new URL: http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/ Come by and visit!

In Manila, a room with a pew

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, my TV show “Currents” interviewed Laura Sheahen, from Catholic Relief Services in Manila, who described in harrowing detail the recovery efforts there after the devastating typhoon.   She also contacted her old pals at Beliefnet, and passed along […]

My pal, St. Jerome

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of St. Jerome.  I have some special affection for this old saint– and an unusual connection to him.  In the 1930s, my father kissed his Slovak mother on the cheek and walked out the door of […]

Yes, you CAN subscribe!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Things are coming along nicely at my new digs.  I just finished hanging the curtains and plugging in the coffee pot.  And now we’re getting really fancy.   If you look to your right, in the upper right corner of […]

Yes, you can subscribe!

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’re moving right along … Head over to my new address, and there’s a button on the upper right corner for an RSS feed, so you can easily keep up with The Bench.

Lord, be close to your servants who move into this home…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I did a house blessing this morning, and it seemed like an opportune time to offer a blessing for my own new home, too. Take a look.

Lord, be close to your servants who move into this home…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning, I was invited by a couple in my parish to bless their apartment.  This is one of the many unexpected joys of being in ministry, and it gives me a chance to meet people — literally — “where […]

Here we go …

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend, I will start blogging at my new address. You’ll find me at this link. The URL: http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/ I expect Beliefnet will forward people automatically, but it might be a good idea to change your bookmarks. So…come by and […]

Welcome to “The Deacon’s Bench”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, here we are. To those of you who have been following “The Deacon’s Bench” at my previous address, welcome back! Good to have you here. Please excuse the boxes and bubble wrap. I hope to have the place tidied […]

Journeys with the Messiah: the “Currents” edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you still haven’t seen those stunning pictures of Jesus taken by fashion photographer Michael Belk, here’s a preview, from the interview with him that we did on “Currents” earlier this week.

I feel like George Jefferson

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m movin’ on up. In the next several days, you’ll find “The Deacon’s Bench” at a new address, with a new look. The good people at Beliefnet have invited me over there, to take up the Catholic corner of real […]

Blog love

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can you feel the love? Below, Your Humble Blogger, yesterday, with a blogger pal, Fran Rossi Szpylczyn. She trekked into Brooklyn (with her buddy Sue) to watch a taping of my show and chow down at nearby Rhythm & Booze. […]

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay. After all the confusion over these pictures, here’s the real deal, from my senior yearbook. (Note: I didn’t need to wear glasses until college.) Gregory James Kandra Pallotti High School Laurel, Maryland Class of 1977 </aDeacon Greg Kandra Forest […]

Why the only books I favor burning are yearbooks

posted by deacon greg kandra

The sad part is: I really did look like this. The horror, the horror. Snaps, courtesy Yearbook Yourself, with an embarrassed h/t to Fr. Austin. UPDATE: Um, some readers seem to think these are really pictures of me. Sorry to […]

Mary Travers, 1936-2009

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somewhere in a battered cardboard box in the back of my closet there is a 45 rpm recording of this classic (and controversial) song that I played over and over and over on a record player in my corner room […]

Feeling crabby

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve had a hankering for a big fat crab cake for a while, and suddenly this recipe popped up in the New York Times. Get thee behind me, Satan. Of course, when you’re in Maryland and temptation strikes, there’s only […]

Inside America’s last high school seminary: “A place where God is powerfully working”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Speaking of vocations… A producer for “Currents” recently visited the last high school prep seminary in America: Cathedral Prep, in the Diocese of Brooklyn. For a brief glimpse inside, take a look.

Snazzy!

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’re in the middle of rolling out a new ad campaign for “Currents,” the daily Catholic news magazine show that I produce. Above is one of the “bus tails” that’s popping up around the city, featuring our on-air team of […]

Ladies and gentlemen: bus tails

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know what you’ll see on the back of a New York City bus. This is the new ad for my TV show, “Currents” on NET (New Evangelization Television). It says: “Lost in traffic? Follow us.”

John Paul, Laborer

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every time I see this picture, of Karol Wojtyla, I’m struck by the family resemblance. My father looked like that. And his father before him — a man who worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania along with countless other […]

What the…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is the blogosphere big enough for two of these?

“Overheard in the newsroom”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the name of a popular website that has now become my favorite loitering place on the ‘net. And for good reason. Some of this stuff is so insanely hilarious, you just know it has to be true. Believe me, […]

Where can you find some thoughtful TV commentary on Kennedy the Catholic?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Right here, of course.

What on earth is happening to television news?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I have to wonder, especially after getting this e-mail from a former CBS News colleague who can’t quite believe his eyes, or ears. He caught the CBS Evening News last night, to see what they had to say about the […]

Don Hewitt, R.I.P.

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Today, a lot of what passes for news on television couldn’t hold its own with a supermarket checkout counter. Today, the only measure that counts is what kind of promotable nonsense you can come up with to draw people away […]

What I’ve been up to

posted by deacon greg kandra

The curious, or the bored, can visit my Shutterfly site “The Deacon’s Camera” for a photo gallery from the last couple weeks. It’s mostly complete — I may want to add a few more pictures in the days ahead. Among […]

I’m back!

posted by deacon greg kandra

As many of you may have heard, there was a Blogger/Google glitch — a “brain fart,” someone called it — which shut down my little blog (and, it seems, hundreds of others) for a couple days. It now appears to […]

My view for the next couple weeks

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Deacon’s Wife and I will be at Disney World for a few days. (Fr. Austin, I’ll be sure and send your regards.) Longtime readers will remember what a great time we had last year. We decided to do it […]

Little Sisters, big step

posted by deacon greg kandra

As promised yesterday, here’s the link to the story showing the Little Sisters of the Poor taking their first profession. It’s also available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

Walter and me

posted by deacon greg kandra

The last time I saw him, maybe a year ago, he was a shadow of his former self. He was in midtown Manhattan for an event, and they brought him into the newsroom to say hello. He was feeble, and […]

That’s the way it was: Cronkite’s first “Evening News” broadcast

posted by deacon greg kandra

A fascinating glimpse at Walter Cronkite’s very first edition of the “CBS Evening News,” as replayed on the CBS late night program “Up to the Minute” in 1992. Rest in peace, Walter.

Godcast

posted by deacon greg kandra

The good people over at Busted Halo have just put up their weekly podcast, which features a cameo appearance by Matt McClure, co-anchor of “Currents,” the daily Catholic news show I produce for The NET. And if you want to […]

What’s the deal-ee-o with the giglio?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might find an answer here, with a story we aired last night on “Currents.” And right here we have a profile of the #1 capo. Ah, Brooklyn! You can also find a write-up in the local paper. Enjoy.

The modern diaconate in America (and, in “America”)

posted by deacon greg kandra

For your summer beach reading… The Catholic newsweekly America has just published a special issue on the diaconate, which features a thought or two from Your Humble Blogger, along with much saner and smarter people like William Ditewig and Scott […]

A thought or two on the encyclical …

posted by deacon greg kandra

… from Brooklyn author and journalist (and FOB) David Gibson, on last night’s edition of “Currents.” Take a look.

Memories of holidays past

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sifting through old pictures I found the snapshot below. Walt Disney World. July 4th, 2006. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The crowd you see started to collect at about 4 in the afternoon, and it never […]

It wasn’t even close

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a nice e-mail a short time ago, announcing the winners of the Catholic New Media Awards. No, I didn’t win. But I did come in second. A very, very, very distant second in the category for “Best Blog […]

Stop the presses!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lino Rulli catches up with Ed Wilkinson, the editor of our diocesan newspaper, the Tablet. Watch the scoop here.

A NET grows in Brooklyn — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

We finally had the formal dedication of the studio (and blessing of the chapel) for the new home for New Evangelization Television (NET) this afternoon. The building, just off Prospect Park in Brooklyn, was officially renamed the “Msgr. Michael Dempsey […]

What’s a consecrated virgin? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lino Rulli found out when he went out on a date with one for “Currents.” Mayhem ensues. Enjoy. UPDATE: You can hear more from the consecrated virgin Lino interviewed right here. She talks in depth about her vocation, and its […]

Pumped up Lino

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who missed it, get a load of this: Lino Rulli, working out with the founder of the Hard As Nails youth ministry, Justin Fatica. From the daily Catholic news show “Currents.” Enjoy.

Honoring Jim

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you may remember my writing about Deacon Jim Hynes, my deacon classmate (and fellow Disney fanatic) who died tragically last year after a brief but valiant battle with cancer. They’ve just put a stone at his grave, and […]

A “Currents” affair

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who have been clamoring for it, relax. Complete episodes of “Currents” are now archived at our YouTube channel. They go up the day after they air. Monday’s show is below. (You can also find other episodes of other […]

One more thing I don’t miss about my old job

posted by deacon greg kandra

News items like this one.

This takes the cake

posted by deacon greg kandra

God bless my staff, which gave me this cake at the end of the day — thus offering further proof that bakeries are required by law to hire only people who cannot spell. Thank you, gang, for making my birthday […]

“Make grunting sounds while putting on socks”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s one of Bill Geist’s “50 Ways to Tell You’re 50.” I’m ahead of the game. I was doing that at 48. Happy birthday to me.

Lino Un-rulli

posted by deacon greg kandra

That was Cardinal Egan’s wry nickname for the “Catholic Guy” on Sirius Radio, Lino Rulli, who now also works as a contributor to “Currents.” Here, for a drizzly Friday: Lino’s piece from our first episode of “Currents,” wherein he meets […]

The Deacon and the God Googler

posted by deacon greg kandra

The venerable Mike “Googling God” Hayes (from Busted Halo) popped over to “Currents” this afternoon, to be interviewed for a program we’re airing on June 10. The subject was youth ministry, and keeping the young in the faith. He was […]

“Currents” clips

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone missed it — I know you were all glued to your computer screens last night (not) — you can catch part of yesterday’s debut of “Currents” at our website. Click on the screens to watch individual pieces. We […]

Well, who’da thunk?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just got word from a friend that I’ve won an award from the Catholic Press Association for this essay. Must’ve been a slow year in the publishing biz. Heh.

The “Currents” crew

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here they are: Nathalia Ortiz, Matt McClure, Tai Hernandez and Lino Rulli. The on air anchors and reporters of “Currents.” Photo: by Tim Haines, Tim Haines Photography 

Conan’s not the only one debuting tonight

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you can, whisper up a prayer for the good people at The NET (including Your Humble Blogger) as we really “put out into the deep” today. The first-ever daily Catholic news show, “Currents,” debuts tonight at 7:30 ET. (Channel […]

Holy Toledo: Ohio’s Catholic radio station offering “faith with frequency”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As Your Humble Blogger prepares to launch the first-ever daily Catholic news show on our little channel in Brooklyn, there’s word that another deacon is about to put out into the deep, with a Catholic radio station in Ohio: Toledo’s […]

“Currents”: the news show that goes against the tide

posted by deacon greg kandra

It debuts Monday, June 1, on the NET, at 7:30 ET, but here is a first look at the program I’ve been developing over the last nine months: “Currents,” the first-ever daily Catholic news show. Take a look. And you […]

Happy anniversary, to my Beauty

posted by deacon greg kandra

From your Beast 23 years? Already?

The Dodgers may have left, but Brooklyn does have The Deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in, from beautiful downtown Brooklyn: a first glimpse at the newest of New York’s deacons, the class of 2009. Below, scenes from an ordination. I’ll post a link to the Tablet article when it’s published next week. Meantime, […]

Have you voted yet?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Polls close Saturday! You can view the nominees right here. If I win, I promise to mention you in my acceptance speech…

May 19, 2007

posted by deacon greg kandra

Happy Anniversary, brothers!

From “The Deacon’s Bench,” to the priest’s…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several months ago, I posted the moving story of Fr. Kim, and told of his remarkable conversion and journey to the priesthood. (I even preached a homily about him during Advent.) His son got in touch with me recently and […]

First look: “Currents”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some of you may remember earlier pictures I posted of the construction of our new studios for New Evangelization Television (NET), the cable channel for the Diocese of Brooklyn, where I work as Director of News. I’m pleased to announce […]

Fresh-squeezed: it’s the Lemonade Stand Awards!

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m delighted and humbled to have been honored by Deacon Scott Dodge with the Lemonade Stand Award, given to “a blogger who demonstrates great attitude and gratitude.” The rules state that I now have to pass on this prestigious award […]

Thank you for dancing with me

posted by deacon greg kandra

It snuck up on me, but my sitemeter at the bottom of this page now tells that there have now been just over one million visitors to The Bench. I’m amazed, incredulous, humbled and grateful beyond words. Thank you for […]

Vote early and often

posted by deacon greg kandra

Balloting is now underway for the fabled Cannonball Awards, and you can cast your vote over at The Crescat. Wouldn’t one of these look nice on my mantle?

I’d like to thank the Academy…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, what do you know? I popped over to The Crescat and discovered that I’m one of the nominees for the venerable Cannonball Award. Voting begins May 3. I’m humbled beyond words. (Do I get a discount at Denny’s or […]

George Weigel steps into “The Arena”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The esteemed writer and theologian was our guest on “In the Arena” this past weekend, and he had some interesting things to say about Obama, abortion, and Catholics in America. He’s joined by Elizabeth Scalia (“The Anchoress”) and Grant Gallicho, […]

Time, talent, treasure: “Generations of generosity”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Anyone curious about where I spend my weekends can take a look at the video below, produced by my parish Stewardship Committee. It will be shown at all our masses this weekend. (Your Humble Blogger makes a couple cameo appearances.) […]

“In the Arena”: on blogging

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger, babbling about blogging. Doesn’t this guy ever shut up? 

From my inbox: “Shame on you, a deacon of the Church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got this e-mail this morning, regarding the Mel Gibson divorce: This is a couple’s private tragedy. The laws of The United States may exclude celebrities from privacy protections, but that does not give us a moral pass to pronounce […]

“In the Arena”: Notre Dame

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m late posting this, but for those who missed the “In the Arena” episode about the Notre Dame controversy, you can take a look right here.

Let the electioneering begin

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger is up for a little award (thankfully, “Best Singing of the Exultet” is not a category.) Methinks if you click on the little icon above, it will take you to the site for the Blogger’s Choice Awards, […]

A priest’s “beautiful death” on Holy Thursday

posted by deacon greg kandra

This one hits especially close to home. During the Triduum, I received word that my in-laws’ pastor in Maryland had died moments after celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. He was 55. For his flock, the tragedy added new […]

Easter in the rearview mirror

posted by deacon greg kandra

Above is the sanctuary at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, my parish in Forest Hills, New York. A friend snapped the shot during a momentary lull between masses this Easter Sunday. Most of the last 24 hours or so, the […]

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 »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.