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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

My world Archives

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 […]

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From 40 days, down to 4

posted by deacon greg kandra

And how has your Lent been going? Mine, not so great. It went by too quickly. Too much frenzy, too many distractions, precious little time to be still, to ponder, to pray. I gave up swearing and eating meat, and […]

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“In the Arena” this weekend: Notre Dame — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

For those who are interested … We’ll be discussing the Notre Dame mess on “In the Arena” this weekend. You can watch a live stream of the channel right here. “In the Arena” airs Sunday night at 7:30 ET, with […]

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Away from The Bench, and caught on tape

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s this for an April Fool? Those who have been waiting breathlessly for Your Humble Blogger to appear on camera — I know it’s all my wife can talk about (not) — can now see my debut right here. Just […]

My big fat Greek parish

posted by deacon greg kandra

Okay, well, not exactly. But on the NET series “City of Churches” last week, they visited and toured my old parish in Astoria, Queens, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The neighborhood has the greatest concentration of Greeks outside of Athens. […]

In the arena: vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

The latest episode of “In the Arena” is available online. This week’s topic: vocations. Guests include a seminarian, the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Brooklyn, a couple Little Sisters of the Poor, and, as always, the popular Elizabeth Scalia […]

And it isn’t even Christmas!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Clicked on the computer this morning and found this lovely gift wrapped and waiting for me. Thank you, A! If you want to see what she’s talking about, just drop by for a visit. All are welcome!

The Anchoress again appears “In the Arena”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those who enjoyed her appearance last week (you know who you are!) can check out the latest installment right here.

The Anchoress — in the flesh!

posted by deacon greg kandra

I know she’ll hate that headline, but it’s my blog. Elizabeth Scalia, a.k.a. The Anchoress has announced to the world (and I’m happy to trumpet it as well) her recent appearance on my little TV show “In the Arena.” “In […]

My favorite part of working for the Church…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…is having a chapel down the hall with a window like this: It was just installed yesterday, and depicts Christ on the seashore, calling to fishermen who are tending their nets — an apt image for a television channel called […]

Faith in the age of Facebook

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those of us who spend a fair amount of time floating through cyberspace — and if you’re reading this, you’re one of them — will appreciate this insight about finding faith in the age of Facebook: With a new media […]

“Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I can’t believe it’s been a year. We miss you, brother. Deacon Jim HynesJuly 31, 1958 – February 26, 2008

Attention, twitter-files…any suggestions?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader, trying to be helpful, suggested I join twitter. It would be a great way for people to keep up with your blog, he said. Okay. I did. But now whenever I visit my blog — or, very often, […]

Plucked

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ah, memories … A former colleague from my days at CBS has penned this little reminiscence of life at the Eye Web. A snip: What had been the finest broadcast news organization has devolved into what employess there describe as […]

Happy St. Vincent Pallotti Week!

posted by deacon greg kandra

As Catholic Schools Week draws to a close, I was delighted to find this piece in the Catholic Standard about my alma mater, St. Vincent Pallotti High School, in bucolic Laurel, Maryland. The school has changed a lot in the […]

Pope: Journalists should bear “silent witness” with “serenity of conscience”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pope offered a few words recently to a group of Catholic journalists, and they’re worth reading and pondering: Benedict XVI has sent a message to participants in the national congress of the Italian Catholic Press Union (UCSI). The congress, […]

A virtual church — and virtually me

posted by deacon greg kandra

Illustration by Dan Salamida Some doofus is babbling on in America magazine this week about blogging. But I do think the illustration is pretty hilarious, and bears an uncanny resemblance to the author. Oh: and if you’re really bored, you […]

Egad

posted by deacon greg kandra

Doesn’t this guy ever shut up?

Speaking of deacons and social justice…

posted by deacon greg kandra

…which was a big topic of discussion following this post, the deacons of the Diocese of Brooklyn received a letter this weekend from Bishop DiMarzio. It begins with this quote from the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life […]

“Danger, Will Robinson!”: the man who was the Robot dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another icon from my youth has passed away: Bob May, who donned The Robot’s suit in the hit 1960s television show “Lost in Space,” has died. He was 69. May died Sunday of congestive heart failure at a hospital in […]

Life, as I know it, is over

posted by deacon greg kandra

Because I just bought me one of these here fancy new-fangled telephone thingies. The good news is that my pastor doesn’t know how to use one. The bad news is that I’m afraid he may learn.

My people

posted by deacon greg kandra

My grandparents emigrated to this country from Austria-Hungary (what became Czechoslovakia) in the early years of the 20th century, settling in a tiny coal mining town outside Scranton, where my grandfather spent much of his long and difficult life underground, […]

A reader writes

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon sent me this e-mail yesterday, which is challenging and thought-provoking — for me and, perhaps, for all deacons: I read your column (blog) regularly and enjoy it. It is obvious that you enjoy your ministry – especially your […]

What’s a deacon?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This chump thinks he knows.

Work in progress

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few more shots of the new studio facility for NET in Brooklyn, then and now. (I know this fascinates you, doesn’t it?) There is still more work to do; the studio itself is an empty shell, awaiting lights and […]

Danger: News Director at work

posted by deacon greg kandra

My new office. If I behave, they may give me a chair. Actually, this was taken in our still-under-construction office space back around Thanksgiving. Things have improved since then. I now have a floor. We move into our new studio […]

From the Neuhaus funeral: “This loss tilts the world on its axis”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In New York City today, they crowded into the Church of the Immaculate Conception to bid farewell to Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. One of the people there was Fr. Frank Mann, of the Diocese of Brooklyn — a friend and […]

I’m back

posted by deacon greg kandra

Miss me? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I spent a blissful two-and-a-half days out at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York — the historic house of formation for the Dioceses of Rockville Centre and Brooklyn. It was my […]

Gimme a break — and I’ll take it

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m headed to Huntington, Long Island this afternoon for my annual diocesan deacon retreat. Things will be quiet on The Bench. But you will all be in my prayers, in one way or another. I’m taking my camera, and hope […]

Another slow news week in Brooklyn

posted by deacon greg kandra

Must be the post-holiday slump that leads to things like this. BTW: Patrick McNamara’s blog on church history is truly terrific reading. Check it out.

Thou shalt not steal: Brooklyn bishop victim of identity theft

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the My Own Backyard Desk (on the Bishop Beat) … some startling news about a modern crime hitting very close to home. According to the New York Daily News: Thieves stooped to a new low over the Christmas holiday, […]

I can’t believe it, either

posted by deacon greg kandra

First, there was the chestnut stuffing at Thanksgiving. The pumpkin pie. Then the carrot cake at the office Christmas party. The chocolate mousse at Christmas. The plate of cookies Christmas night. Egg nog. The ziti and eggplant and tiramisu at […]

Christmas, 1968

posted by deacon greg kandra

What do you get when you combine 1 grandmother + 1 Instamatic camera + 1 nine-year-old in a new sweater? This:

Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the mail today, I got a membership card for this. I’m going to go lie down.

The gift: a New Year’s Eve remembrance

posted by deacon greg kandra

My mother used to love to tell this story: It was New Year’s Eve, 1948. The snow was falling, the wind was howling. And the man who would be my father showed up at her doorstep with a huge box […]

Clearly showing the effects of too much eggnog

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger, with Fr. Frank Passenant and my pastor, Msgr. Joe Funaro, just before Midnight mass.

See you at Spago, babe

posted by deacon greg kandra

The ad agency that created this devilish ad for NET is making news again. Check out Broadcasting & Cable, and the Hollywood Reporter. Meantime, tell Wolfgang to save me the usual table…

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The picture below was taken by a friend, a parishioner in my parish. This is a few blocks from my home in Forest Hills, in the beautiful borough of Queens.

Ring around the collar

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know what you’ll find around the blogosphere, and one of my recent happy discoveries is a shiny new blog (with an appropriately Celtic green tinge) that belongs to Patrick McNamara, from (surprise!) the Diocese of Brooklyn. Patrick is […]

WWJA: What Would Jesus Advertise?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The wickedly good ad campaign for a Certain Religious TV Station (ahem) has just gotten a nice mention in the Gray Lady — along with a look at how churches are using marketing to get people in the pews: The […]

“Let them know about the root of Jesse…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

My brother-in-law sent me this e-mail tonight. He said, “If this story is one you wish to share, feel free.” I do: Greg, after reading your homily for tomorrow, I think back to my days living at Mom and Dad’s […]

My appearance on Catholic Radio 2.0 in a nutshell

posted by deacon greg kandra

To quote Samuel Johnson, in another context: it’s like a dog walking on its hind legs. It’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all. I survived. The evidence can be found here, or just click […]

Desperation sets in

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yes, we’re scraping the bottom of the media barrel here: someone has decided to put me on the radio. Those who enjoy train wrecks can tune at this link at 11 am ET. Saturday. It’s Catholic Radio 2.0 with the […]

Bored? You can watch me on TV right now

posted by deacon greg kandra

At this link. Deacon of the gospel at this morning’s mass. Streaming from 5:30-6:30 PM ET.

Christmas Plugs-a-palooza

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. And if you find yourself in Queens next weekend, you might want to stop by my parish to hear great, truly great, holiday music. It’s our 25th annual Christmas concert: the first […]

Clearly, it’s all downhill from here

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, ain’t this a kick in the head? I’m gobsmacked. And speechless. (But, of course: it was the feast of St. Nicholas. My stockings are now filled to overflowing.) Advent blessings, and heartfelt thanks, to one and all.

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion II

posted by deacon greg kandra

To quote James Earl Jones: “This is CNN”: Embedded video from CNN Video

Journalism hits a new low

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good grief. They’ll write about anyone these days. Or anything.

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Evidently this item made it to Drudge. You can read more about it here. Click on the image above to enlarge.

Satan is our spokesman

posted by deacon greg kandra

Suddenly, for some reason, I feel like Don Draper, the dashing ad executive from Sterling Cooper on “Mad Men”. (A series whose absence from the air waves still fills me with ennui.) Anyway: the folks at Ad Age have now […]

An audience with the pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

Ever been to a papal audience? Amy Welborn has — and she posted this neat little account, with pictures, over at her blog. I’ve been to two of them — one in St. Peter’s Square, the other in the Paul […]

Stop good TV. Please.

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here it is, a “Deacon’s Bench” exclusive: a first peek at the viral internet ad campaign for NET, the cable channel for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Want more? Visit StopGoodTV.com.

“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 […]

You talkin’ to me? YOU talkin’ to ME??

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parishioner sent this to me: a snapshot from the Living Rosary that we prayed outside my church last month (the month of the rosary). The plates served as our “beads” — blue for the Hail Mary, white for the […]

Casting out our NET

posted by deacon greg kandra

As I mentioned several weeks ago, I’ve embarked on a new chapter of my professional life, as News Director for our diocesan cable channel. On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, (and the feast day of our diocese) […]

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 […]

“Bench” press

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve been reminded by Julie over at Happy Catholic that it’s that time of year again. (No, not time to run and hide because it’s getting closer to Christmas.) It’s time for the annual Weblog Awards. There’s a category this […]

The Deacon’s Blush

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wow. I’m humbled to be included in such esteemed company. Thanks, Dave!

Sounds like a deacon, actually…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…though I was hoping to be more like Kermit. You Are Scooter Brainy and knowledgeable, you are the perfect sidekick. You’re always willing to lend a helping hand. In any big event or party, you’re the one who keeps things […]

That’s the way it was

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail, asking if I was going to miss working this election night. I’d toiled into the wee hours for more election nights than I can remember and now, for the first time […]

Catholic TV producer: “People respond to truth, not pablum”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Once, “Catholic media” meant just your parish bulletin and the diocesan paper. No more. Here’s a story that shows how much things have changed (and it happens to be right up my alley), about a growing Catholic television station that […]

My little parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The video below was produced for our parish stewardship drive, set to begin in early November. It’s artfully produced (by one of our trustees, Roger Aguinaldo) and gives a great look at the history of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. […]

A prayer at the start of a new job

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

At Thomas Merton’s hermitage, 2004 Words from the master, with a grateful h/t to Doug Souza: Take my life into Your hands, at last, and do whatever You want with it. I give myself to Your love and mean to […]

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The good folks at Our Sunday Visitor have just published a special vocations section — and Your Humble Blogger is prominently featured on the front page. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) The link will take you to the menu, where […]

My favorite e-mail

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A retired CBS News executive (and a Catholic), on learning of my career change, sent me the following e-mail: Hi Greg! Congratulations on this bold move. 26 years is PLENTY. I’m sure you can get the Church to fill in […]

An ending. And a beginning.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a letter from Thomas Merton, who offered this advice to a man who was thinking about a career change: I would say there is one basic idea that should be kept in mind in […]

The Deacon’s Bookshelf

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After getting a lot of inquiries over the last few months — including one just today — I decided to add a new sidebar feature to the blog: Books About Deacons. It’s just a start, but I hope to add […]

Wow. I’m so excited, I think I may need to change my diaper.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today, when nobody was looking, The Deacon’s Bench clocked visitor number 500,000. I did a little Googling and found that’s almost the population of Las Vegas. Wow. Thank you all for making that possible — and for keeping this little […]

I’m a moderate kind of guy…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…and some of you may have noticed that I’m now moderating comments. Some of you may also have noticed that your comments have been rejected by your moderator. If you want to know why, I direct your attention, once again, […]

“Mrs.” Clinton and “Ms.” Palin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress dropped me a line a few minutes ago and said a reader was wondering why the New York Times refers to these women differently. I know the Times has a tradition of always using an honorific — Mr., […]

A Christmas memory in September

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The legendary animator who helped bring this beautiful moment to life died today: Bill Melendez. Bless him. (I spoke about this particular Christmas memory during my Midnight Mass homily last year.)

Decision ’08

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader asked me if I was nominated in more than one category and, by golly, it looks like I am. How’d that happen?? You can click on the buttons below to cast your vote. (So far, that wily Fr. […]

Ah, Sunday

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Periodically, people ask me what my Sunday is like. It varies week to week, but most of the time it has this common theme: it’s not a day of rest. This weekend was a little different, because it was a […]

Department of Shameless Begging

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Like what you see here? Well, wander over to the 2008 Blogger’s Choice Awards and put in your two cents (or two clicks) and let them know. Your Humble Blogger is nominated in the category of Best Religion Blog. If […]

A little reminder

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some who have left comments here may have noticed that their comments have been deleted. I don’t like doing that, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and a few observations have crossed that line. I refer you to […]

I’m one in a million

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Or, actually, a little better than that. One in 837,617. “The Deacon’s Bench” is the 837,617th most visited website in the world. Or so says Alexa.com. I have no idea if that’s good or not. Drop by the site and […]

Kimberly Dozier: “The more horrors I saw, the more my own Christian faith came to the fore”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s rare to find someone in the media talking candidly about their faith and spirituality. I was heartened, then, to discover this post about one of my CBS News colleagues, Kimberly Dozier: On Memorial Day 2006, CBS News correspondent Kimberly […]

In love with “WALL-E”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night, my wife and I finally went to see “WALL-E”; everybody else on the planet was going to see “The Dark Knight,” so it was easy to get tickets. Two hours later, I staggered out of the theater, wiping […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Actually, you can read those thousand words right here. This is a shot from my in-laws’ 50th anniversary celebration. I’m the one on the left. The fellow on the right is the celebrant, Msgr. Vincent Gatto, 82-years-young and a true […]

Finding Jesus at Disney World…and some nuns, too!

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple weeks back, I blogged about my vacation at Disney World. I got some nice reaction to the piece, which I ended up re-publishing (in slightly altered form) in my parish bulletin. Imagine my surprise when I got an […]

“That isn’t a cookie”: a true story

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the pontiff’s recent decision on communion still freshly in our minds, a true story: One of our priests today came back into the sacristy after communion, tossed his stole on the counter and fumed, “Did you see that? Did […]

Listening early for The Call: inside Brooklyn’s Cathedral Prep

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was surprised and delighted to see a brief article in this morning’s New York Times about Cathedral Prep Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens. By day, it’s a high school for young men; by night, it is used by the diaconate […]

Finding Jesus at Disney World

posted by deacon greg kandra

As I mentioned elsewhere, I was away for several days, visiting Disney World. Don’t laugh. This has become an annual ritual for me and my wife. We first went there in 1996, for a one-time vacation, to get it over […]

“He’s a great guy and a great priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the sentiment expressed below about a priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct — and has finally been cleared. I couldn’t agree more. I know this priest. He traveled with us to Italy on pilgrimage in 2004. I […]

I’m back!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Did you miss me? Ha. I didn’t think so. I hope to get up to speed in the next day or two and post some things. Meantime, to the left is a picture from our vacation. If you’re stumped — […]

Looking for me? I’ll be with David Cook

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Deacon’s Wife and I will be away from the Bench for a bit, taking a much-needed break. See below. Posting will be light, but I’ll be back soon. Tanned, rested and ready to blog!

Do you wanna dance?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Twenty two years ago, on May 24, 1986, Siobhain Marie Meyer, throwing common sense aside, became my wife. Happy Anniversary, to the greatest partner, on the dance floor and in life.

Happy Anniversary!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where were you on May 19, 2007? This is where I was: face down, on the floor of a basilica in Brooklyn. It was one year ago that I was ordained to the order of deacon. Congratulations and blessings to […]

Reporters and religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a story that really hit home for me: the struggle of journalists to keep their faith. It comes from The Quill, the journal of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ): When Los Angeles Times reporter William Lobdell was given […]

Katie Couric picks Randy Pausch for Time’s list

posted by deacon greg kandra

A gal in my office was asked to suggest a name for Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People. She picked someone who is a hero of mine — and a fellow I’ve written about frequently on the blog […]

“Ben-eh-dee-toe! Ben-eh-dee-toe!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Still hungry for pope stuff? Those who are curious can read my wrap-up of the papal mass over at the CBS Evening News blog, Couric & Co.

What I saw: my day with B-16

posted by deacon greg kandra

I thought it might be interesting to just post a few pictures from today’s mass at Yankee Stadium, to give you a “Deacon’s Bench” glimpse of the day. My wife and I left Forest Hills, in Queens, about 9 a.m. […]

Waving buh bye

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the better shots I took at Yankee Stadium, if I do say so myself: the Holy Father waving goodbye after the final blessing and preparing to start recessing into the dugout. For the curious: it’s a Pentax K100 […]

Yes, I was there

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here it is: proof that Your Humble Blogger was indeed at Yankee Stadium today for the big papal finale. The fellow on the left is yours truly, from approximately where we sat for the mass. I’ll post more after my […]

The Audacity of Pope

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger has hardly been idle. I just posted a little something over at the CBS News blog “Couric & Co.”: Watching Pope Benedict step out of his limousine this morning and wave to the thousands cheering on the […]

Father What-A-Waste

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s Katie Couric’s cheeky nickname for the dashing and telegenic Fr. Thomas Williams, who played football for the University of Michigan before becoming a priest with the Legionairies of Christ. He’s now a Vatican analyst for CBS News. And here’s […]

“All is gift, all is given”: a four-minute tour of my parish

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This terrific video was produced by Roger Aguinaldo, one of our parish’s trustees, to plug our Parish Expo next weekend. It’s geared to the theme of stewardship, and the idea that “All is gift, all is given.” It’s a nifty […]

Rejoice, heavenly powers: my first Triduum as deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last time I checked, I still had a pulse. Over the last four days, there were times I wasn’t sure that would be the case. But at this late hour on Easter night, I can finally say, with certainty: I […]

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 […]

Meanwhile, from the Awards Desk …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

‘Tis the season. Awards season, that is. And you might want to wander over to the Bloggers Choice Awards to see who the contenders are in different categories. (Your Humble Blogger is listed in Best Religion Blog.) There are a […]

Blogs, glorious blogs

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m humbled and delighted to report that I’ve been nominated in several categories for the Catholic Blog Awards. I’m in some very lofty company. Check the link to see the nominees and vote! There are a lot of categories, and […]

Deacon Jim Hynes, 1958-2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not long ago, I posted about Deacon Jim, classmate and brother deacon and friend, who was diagnosed with cancer. Last night, Jim’s journey came to an end. Lord, who shall be admitted to your tentand dwell on your holy mountain? […]

Shameless plug: I like to be in America…

posted by deacon greg kandra

Your Humble Blogger can be found in the pages of the current issue of the Jesuit magazine America (subscription required). The title: “The Joy of Transformation” The subject: the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I’d like to thank the Academy …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Who cares about the Oscars? Oscars, schmoscars. I just got word that I’ve won the Blog of the Day Award. I’m flabbergasted. If you’re curious to read more about this wonderful honor, you can visit the BOTD link, or just […]

Deacon Jim’s way of the cross

posted by deacon greg kandra

Every Friday during Lent, parishes around the country – maybe around the world? – offer one of the most enduring devotions of our faith: the Stations of the Cross. We retrace the route to Calvary, praying at each station. We […]

Trolling the ‘sphere…

posted by deacon greg kandra

I couldn’t help but notice that The Anchoress has pointed out that it’s time for the Catholic Blog Awards. They’re accepting nominations at the link. The Anchoress is high on my list of nominees — and so is the Happy […]

Priceless

posted by deacon greg kandra

The picture below was sent to me by my friend and deacon classmate Bill McNamara, who got it from a woman he knows in Minnesota. It’s her youngest child at this week’s Ash Wednesday service. Deacon Bill thought I might […]

“Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sunday, we’ll be marking World Marriage Day, sponsored by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Our parish will be hosting a special mass for the event, and Your Humble Blogger will be preaching for the occasion. (Homily to come!) In anticipation of […]

Extreme Makeover: The Lent Edition

posted by deacon greg kandra

Among other things, I write a weekly column for the bulletin at my parish in Queens, New York. From time to time, I’ll post it here, as well. Below is the column for this week. I confess: I’m a sucker […]

A prayer for Jim

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of my brother deacons, a classmate ordained with me last May, is seriously ill. Jim was taken to the ER earlier this week, and I finally was able to visit him in the ICU tonight. He’s hooked up to […]

“The whole universe is a Mass, feeding us every day”

posted by deacon greg kandra

I got a letter today from my friend, the Trappist priest and writer James Stephen Behrens (known to his pals as “Jeff.”) He enclosed with it, as he does with many letters, a short reflection. In this one, he wrote […]

Tag. I’m it.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

My favorite gal in a wimple has just notified me that I’ve been “meme’d”, which I think is a good thing. The meme is this: 1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).2. Open the book […]

Warning: deacon at work

posted by deacon greg kandra

A parishioner sent these to me this week: snapshots of Your Humble Blogger, hard at work (or hardly working) at the sacrament of baptism earlier this month. We had three little girls, baptized on the feast of the Epiphany. As […]

Busted

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I was delighted and humbled to see one of my pieces tagged at Busted Halo as part of their “Best of 2007.” The piece in question grew out of the homily I delivered at my Mass of Thanksgiving, on May […]

“In God’s Name”: seeking Him and filming the quest

posted by deacon greg kandra

In early 2002, I got a phone call from CBS News executive producer Susan Zirinsky, asking me if I would be interested in helping her with a project she was trying to throw together in just a few weeks. I’ve […]

Remembering Dan Fogelberg

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sad news today that Dan Fogelberg has died of prostate cancer at 56. His song, “Same Old Lange Syne” for decades has been a perennial this time of year. But for me, his greatest legacy is “Longer,” which was the […]

A Jesuit off-Broadway, and on the web

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Elsewhere, I’ve written about a particular FOB (friend of the blog), author and Jesuit celeb, James Martin. (He’s become quite the priest-about-town, even popping up on television to chat with MCPF Stephen Colbert. I expect to read about him in […]

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 […]

A Trappist monastery plans its future

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of my favorite places to visit and pray has been the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers, Georgia — the Trappist house that was once home to Thomas Merton’s censor, and Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks. Alert readers will note […]

Actually, I’m from Maryland, but not Bal’mer, hon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What American accent do you have? Your Result: The Midland   “You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, […]

“Good times never seemed so good…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was in high school, one of my teachers — a nun — loved this song. We thought she was incredibly hip. Now, according to press reports, it has even more meaning than any of us pimply teenagers imagined […]

“Bella”: a pro-living movie

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people have wondered what I thought about the movie “Bella” (especially after I linked to Barbara Nicolosi’s less-than-enthusiastic post a couple weeks back). Well, frankly, my weekends have been nuts lately, and it’s been hard to find the […]

Further evidence of our corrupt electoral system

posted by deacon greg kandra

But I would like to thank all those who voted for me — which, at last tally, numbered one: my wife. Better luck next year. Meantime, you can read about those who rigged the election for Matt Damon, and others […]

“God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

November 19 marks my six-month anniversary as a deacon. I still can’t believe it. Anyway: I had asked a friend if she would sing Bernstein’s “A Simple Song” at my Mass of Thanksgiving the day after my ordination. She was […]

What’s it like to work with Katie Couric?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I get asked that question a lot. Below is the best answer I can provide. This has been making its way around the world on the web, and has caused quite a sensation here in Gotham, where New York magazine […]

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 […]

And wouldn’t you know it, I live in Queens

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You Belong in Brooklyn Down to earth and hard working, you’re a true New Yorker.And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots. Where Should Your Inner New Yorker Live?

What is your model of the church?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I was in formation, one of our texts was Avery Dulles’ Models of the Church, which posits that there are different intereptations for what we all know as “church.” The varying models include Church as Mystical Communion, Church as […]

No way. Yes, way. Really?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I just cannot buy in to this, not at all. I got this from BFF The Anchoress, and she slipped this to me in home room, and of course Sister Steve caught us and we are so busted, and now […]

Vote early and often!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There are still a couple days left to vote! If you click on the logo above, you can add your vote to the Weblog Awards — and maybe give the ol’ Deacon’s Bench a boost. Operators are standing by to […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by deacon greg kandra

Outside Rockefeller Center, New York City. November 5, 2007. Photo: by Stan Honda/Getty Images

Among the monks

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m back. Regular readers – and I know there are one or two out there – may have noticed my absence last week. Tuesday morning, I finished throwing a few things into my Travelpro and dragged it out to a […]

I’m full of fudge — and chutzpah

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Lo and behold, I return from a four-day retreat with Trappist monks — four days spent blissfully chanting the psalms at four in the morning, conversing with geese, napping at mid-day, and devouring brandy-laced fudge at dinner — when what […]

Ask the deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The following item appeared in my parish bulletin last weekend. It got a lot of reaction, so I thought I’d post it here. Enjoy. This weekend marks my five-month anniversary as an ordained member of the Catholic clergy. Time flies […]

A retreat report

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people have asked me how my retreat went last weekend. Very well, thank you. It was probably the most restful 48 hours I’ve had since ordination — and the first time I’ve had two consecutive days off since […]

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 immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

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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