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The Deacon's Bench

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Vocations Archives

Hispanic deacons reflect ethnic changes in Church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a surprising, and heartening, bit of journalism from, of all places, the Chicago Tribune, about a demographic shift in the diaconate: When Sergio Lopez’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had only three months to live, […]

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Gee, ya think?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A high-ranking Vatican official has put his finger on a big problem with the modern priesthood: The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has lamented that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular […]

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It’s not “Conjunction Junction,” but “Vocation Station”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember Schoolhouse Rock? (If you don’t…well, nevermind. But the name of this new website hearkens back to that 1970’s classic.) A pal just sent this my way, and it looks terrific: a new website for vocations that specializes in the […]

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The rockin’ nun of MySpace

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later: a singing nun has become a sensation on MySpace: She jams on an electric guitar and introduces herself on her hot-pink MySpace page as a straight, single Libra who loves to […]

“God wanted me ordained now, not 30 years ago”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not long ago, a reader wrote in and asked if I knew of any places for a man with a late vocation. I directed him to this seminary, in Massachusetts. And now a local paper has done a story about […]

Vocations drive: “Be A Scout For The Padres”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new push for vocations has been launched in Florida, where parishes have started hanging that great recruitment poster you see on the left. Details on a vocations workshop, from the Florida Catholic: Pope John Paul II’s legacy of an […]

The other Atlanta Braves: 20 new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

Nothing, I think, is quite as rare as an ordination during Lent. But that’s not stopping the gang down in Atlanta, where a new class of deacons is about to be ordained tomorrow. From the Georgia Bulletin: There will soon […]

Better late than never

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I write a lot about late vocations around here — most deacons, after all, become deacons later in life — but a post earlier this week about the diminishing number of nuns and monks prompted this e-mail from one woman: […]

Number of nuns and monks worldwide continues to decline

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news won’t be surprising to those of us who have been following this sort of thing. But it’s still worrisome. From the BBC: Newly published statistics showed that the number of men and women belonging to religious orders fell […]

The death of a young priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

I checked in at Cardinal Sean’s blog late today, and was stunned to read the news of the death of a newly ordained priest: This week it was quite a shock for all of us that a young priest ordained […]

“My confessor, my friend”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader in South Carolina sent this column along with a note: “This guy sounds like a great priest.” He sure does: There are people who stand by you. People who inspire you. People you imagine will always be there […]

Vocation stories just don’t get any better than this. Really.

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is another of those great late vocation stories — but with a lot of twists along the highway of life. A lot. It comes to us from the Detroit Free Press and columnist Susan Ager: Tony Cureton is 63 […]

“The silent heroines” of the American church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Amid all the hand -wringing and finger-pointing about Catholic education — or jaded memories thereof — a voice of sanity is finally being heard. Some warm words for the women who taught us, from Rocco: Far too often, all the […]

Insurance agent, waiter, husband, father, deacon…and priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Wisconsin paper has the story of a deacon — soon to be a priest — who has followed an unusual career path: After working as an insurance agent and a waiter at Tippin’s, Mike McLain is now adding deacon […]

Be not afraid

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The excommunicated married archbishop is at it again. CNS does the honors: Excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said the Catholic Church should not fear accepting married men into the priesthood. “There is no contradiction between marriage and priesthood,” he told reporters […]

Passing the cup

posted by deacon greg kandra

Word from Florida about a novel way of promoting and praying for vocations — and it seems to be catching on: A new practice is spreading in the Diocese of Palm Beach and elsewhere around the nation: families allowed, one […]

Cardinal: “Abolishing celibacy is not a solution.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Once again, the subject of a married priesthood has come up — and once again, someone is saying it’s not in the cards: Ordaining married men is not a guaranteed way to solve a vocations crisis, and it will not […]

The lonely guy

posted by deacon greg kandra

It used to be the Maytag repairman had the loneliest job on earth. Now, according to this report from Connecticut, he may have some competition: The rectory is very peaceful — a little too peaceful, if the Rev. Joseph Looney […]

Father January roots for the Yankees

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those clever people in Britain have devised a new way to encourage vocations: priestly pin-ups. Or, more accurately, clerical calendars: Twelve Catholic priests have swapped their pulpits for favourite pastimes in a calendar designed to try to recruit young men […]

High five: San Bernardino ordains new deacons

posted by deacon greg kandra

A regular visitor to The Bench, Pete Bond, sent me this wonderful bit of news: Saturday, he and four other men will become the newest members of the diaconate family in California: As most of the faithful are aware, “Gaudete” […]

“Adopt-A-Priest” for Eucharistic adoration and vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Vatican is poised to make a big push for Eucharistic adoration — and John Allen has the very creative details: As part of a broad initiative to promote Eucharistic adoration, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy is proposing that religious […]

A deacon’s son — and seminarian

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be a seminarian today? This piece from a paper in Salt Lake City profiles one seminarian — who, it turns out, is the son of a deacon: “Whether you’re new or almost finished with your seminary […]

Los Angeles installs first lay parish administrator

posted by deacon greg kandra

California, birthplace of trends, may have just given birth to another: the first layman has been appointed in Los Angeles to act as a pastoral administrator at a parish: Like many in his religion, Humberto Ramos prayed regularly for God’s […]

When your daughter is a sister: a mother’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something you don’t read every day: a mother’s letter about her daughter, a cloistered nun. It’s a beautiful testament of faith and love and joy. You’ll want to read it all, but here’s part: Sarah had countless interests. She […]

Encountering Divine Mercy — and a young man with a mission

posted by deacon greg kandra

The roving religion writer for the Washington Post, Christy McKerney, popped by Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Massachusetts the other day, and had a memorable encounter with a young seminarian: Only Brother Andrew Davy, a 26-year-old American University graduate […]

A Catholic evangelist?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is what convert and businessman Richard Lane calls himself, and some of his wise words on the faith were published recently in the St. Louis Review: Lane is known as a Catholic evangelist, a term he said people have […]

“This is not a priest recruiting group”

posted by deacon greg kandra

How do you know if you have a vocation to the priesthood? That question has haunted more than a few men over the years. And in Los Angeles, a group (led by a man with another vocation, to marriage) is […]

The bullet in the breviary

posted by deacon greg kandra

You can never tell where a vocation will come from, and in Florida Catholic this week there’s a stirring story of a young boy whose life was shaped by one memory of an uncle who was a military chaplain during […]

God’s bloggers: seminarians make the PC their pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

More and more, your keyboard is becoming a critical evangelization tool. Don’t believe it? Check out this pretty compelling bit of evidence from The Leaven, the diocesan newspaper of Kansas City, Kansas: When Jesus told his disciples to go out […]

What nuns do when we aren’t looking

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You’ll be shocked, simply shocked. H/T to the 3Massketeers.

Sisters of Bethany find a new home with Episcopal nuns

posted by deacon greg kandra

Readers may remember the story of the Sisters of Bethany, who were forced to pack up and move after the record sex abuse settlement in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The sisters have now been offered a new place to […]

The world needs heroes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Kevin Knight at New Advent has posted this link to the new vocations website for the Archdiocese of New York. It is, in a word, sensational. It was put together by Grassroots Films, which produced the equally sensational (and widely […]

McCarrick to priests: “The best thing you can do is smile a lot”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington’s retired Archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, dropped by my neck of the woods recently (okay, Long Island) and spoke some sage words to the local priests. This, from Long Island Catholic: Showing the people good and happy priests is the […]

What’s a consecrated virgin?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I thought you’d never ask. And, frankly, I’m not so sure myself. But the good people at The Catholic Spirit newspaper in Minnesota do have the answer — along with a few others. They spoke with a youth minister who […]

Veterans Day: a chaplain remembers

posted by deacon greg kandra

This Veterans Day brings us this meditation from a veteran, and a Jesuit, William Blazek, SJ, MD, courtesy the Washington Post’s On Faith section: One thing that has always struck this veteran about those who serve our nation in the […]

That ordination in St. Louis: “God loves us, just ask Her” – UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

To paraphrase Britney Spears: oops, they did it again. Two women took part in what was billed as an ordination rite in St. Louis. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: To the Roman Catholic Church, the ceremony was not an ordination. […]

Kids and vocations: “You’re not even on their radar”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Arguably the toughest job in the Church these days is being a diocesan vocations director. The Los Angeles Daily News chats with the man doing that these days — and ticks off the usual grim statistics, along with a few […]

Alex Jones: the evangelical who became a Catholic deacon

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the more celebrated Catholic converts — and a recently ordained deacon, by the way — is former evangelical Alex Jones. He now spends much of his time traveling the country, talking about his journey back to the Church. […]

“God said: look at Father Seán. He’s too happy. Let’s make him a Bishop.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is too good to pass up: remarks by Cardinal Sean O’Malley last month in Venice, to an international gathering of Capuchins. A good long snippet has already been posted by Rocco, but go and read the rest. The man’s […]

From their cloister to your computer

posted by deacon greg kandra

And now for something completely different: cloistered nuns who have made Eucharistic adoration their personal ministry — on the internet. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: When she entered religious life four decades ago, Sister Mary Catherine supposed her life as a […]

Permanent in Portland: deacons ordained in Oregon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Deacon doings out in Portland, Oregon: news that they’ve just ordained a half dozen more men to the diaconate: Six men were ordained permanent deacons Saturday for service in Catholic parishes of western Oregon. “Today’s celebration is all about service, […]

EWTN priest steps down over relationship with widow

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news escaped my attention earlier this week, but it’s quite a surprise, coming from one of EWTN’s most visible personalties. According to the letter read on the air the other day: Dear Family: Regretfully, I have a message that […]

“Take my life, it’s all for thee…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader a few weeks back recommended a video at this site and, when I started exploring, the one below captured my attention. It’s got some beautiful images, stirring music, and a moving message about vocations. Enjoy.

On a mission from God to…Seattle?

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to be a missionary in the modern age? A couple hundred people called to that vocation are gathering to discuss that question this week in Pittsburgh. And, as the local paper describes it, the job is the […]

One seminary, two brothers

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s unusual that brothers find themselves in the seminary studying for the priesthood at the same time — but that’s happened to two men in New Orleans. The Clarion Herald profiled them recently: At a time when the U.S. church […]

She sees dead people

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s rare to find a funeral director who’s a woman. And even rarer to find a funeral director who’s a woman…and a nun. But here’s a story about one in Kansas: For Benedictine Sister Christine Kean, becoming a funeral director […]

“One hour at a time”: evangelicals discover monasticism

posted by deacon greg kandra

When I was visiting the monastery in Georgia, I heard about evangelicals making retreats there. I thought that was unusual — but this article seems to indicate it’s part of a growing trend: About eight years ago, I found myself […]

“More than ever, the world needs souls who will climb up on that mountain”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a remarkable vocation story: a Franciscan who is also a musician — and who is about to enter a cloister in Italy. It comes from The Catholic Moment newspaper in Indiana: Music often tells a story, and a concert […]

Praying for the geeks: a nun who blogs

posted by deacon greg kandra

What’s it like to have a 15th century job in the 21st century? This plugged-in nun knows — and San Francisco’s David Ian Miller decided to toss a few questions her way. His interview: Her cell phone has a custom […]

Deacons taking root and flourishing in Virginia

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone doesn’t know what deacons are — and, from experience, I can tell you that many don’t — here’s some help. A leading newspaper in southern Virginia, the Virginian-Pilot, has a surprisingly in-depth (and, for once, surprisingly accurate) article […]

“What can I do for you?”: reflections on the diaconate

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled across this excellent reflection on deacons and it’s too good not to share. It’s by Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Oregon: “What can I do for you?” With those words Archbishop John Foley began his homily in St. […]

Vocations video “Fishers of Men” honored for excellence

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some weeks back, I blogged about the stunning vocations video “Fishers of Men”. Now, it’s been honored with a Gabriel Award for communications excellence. You can watch the video below. Just click the ‘play’ button. The USCCB press release follows: […]

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 […]

From selling Tabasco to saving souls: the ad executive who became a priest

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Via Dolorosa is a long way from Madison Avenue. But this story from Georgia tells of an advertising executive who has just been ordained a priest, and is following the way of Christ, at the age most executives are […]

Monks who play together, pray together

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some weeks back, I blogged about the new Benedictine monastery cropping up in Oklahoma. Now, Rod Dreher has gotten in on the act. He’s linked to this account of the monastery construction, which has some splendid pictures (including the one […]

Does he look like a priest to you?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The picture on the left is a self-portrait by a seminarian — who clearly has a talent for things besides praying. The unusual story of his artwork and his vocation comes to us courtesy of The Michigan Catholic: Craig Giera’s […]

“If God chose me to be a bishop…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at Renew America, Matt Abbott has posted a provocative essay from a parish priest in Texas by the name of Fr. James Farfaglia. I’ll just re-post the first half, and you can jump to the link for the rest. […]

When the head of a parish is a woman

posted by deacon greg kandra

How’s the priest shortage affecting the Deep South? A paper in Mississippi takes a look at one parish in one diocese, where lay ministers are taking charge and pointing to a new way of church management: Dressed in a knee-length […]

“Behold your angel”: one deacon’s journey

posted by deacon greg kandra

I love a good vocation story — especially when it involves a deacon. And this one, from California, is a real inspiration. Get a box of Kleenex and read on: Tom Ciccarelli’s path to becoming a deacon for the Catholic […]

From Rome to home: seminarians stay connected on the web

posted by deacon greg kandra

The new generation of seminarians is jumping into the Internet with both feet — and CNS reports on how these young men are using the world wide web to share their experiences: An ocean away from family and friends, some […]

In Atlanta, growing vocations like peaches

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has a thriving effort to encourage all kinds of vocations — and an example of that was on display recently: A fireman. A doctor. A teacher. A rock star. These are common responses to the perpetual […]

A ministry that’s like two “praying hands”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With more lay people taking on vital roles in American parishes, a church in Illinois has given two vital roles to one lay woman: “I’m in heaven every day. I love what I do. I wonder why it’s taken so […]

A new deacon Down Under

posted by deacon greg kandra

On the other side of the world from where I live, another journalist has just become a deacon — but will soon enough be ordained a priest. A paper from Down Under (New Zealand, actually) has this Top Story: New […]

A 40-year-old seminarian asks “Why not?”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Surfing around the internet, I stumbled upon a terrific new design for the website for Florida Catholic, which serves several dioceses in the Sunshine State. It’s bright, user-friendly, beautifully designed, and eminently readable. And among the choice nuggets this week […]

“A heroic sense of calling” draws men to seminary

posted by deacon greg kandra

With so many seminaries all but empty, and so many dioceses struggling to find priests for their parishes, what is happening in Minnesota could well be considered a miracle: St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul has increased its housing, […]

Collared

posted by deacon greg kandra

Can wearing a clerical collar be hazardous to your health? A report out of England suggests it can make you a target: Catholic and Anglican vicars should remove their clerical collars while off-duty to avoid being singled out for attack, […]

“My life is a gift given to me by God, and He has a plan for it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Thinking about dedicating your life to God as a priest or nun? The Columbus Dispatch, in Ohio, decided to profile a few people who are weighing that question, as part of a series. And the first installment was published Friday: […]

Oops: that’s not the kind of ‘Dialogue’ they meant

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Florida seminary is reeling from a lot of bad buzz over ads in its quarterly magazine — and now, it seems, it was all a terrible mixup: Whether it was a ghastly prank or a nightmarish mistake is not […]

A monastery in Oklahoma? OK!

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not everyday that you read about a new monastery being built, from scratch, in the United States. But that’s exactly what’s happening with a hardy and devout group of Benedictines in Oklahoma: Benedictine monks will transform 75 large oak […]

A flood of vocations from one parish in Michigan

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story has been floating around for a bit — the National Catholic Register published it back in July — but it’s getting a second life in the blogosphere, earning a mention here and here. It’s truly astounding: Occasionally, one […]

Seminarians: “Just regular guys God called to serve”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good news out of Nebraska: an especially big batch of seminarians is starting formation this fall — one of the largest classes, in fact, in the United States: The 23 newcomers attending St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward this […]

A married Episcopalian priest converts — and so does his flock

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something exciting: an Episcopalian priest converts to Catholicism — and brings a big part of his flock with him. Oh, and he’s married with kids, too: For the Rev. Eric L. Bergman, the duties of a Roman Catholic priest […]

To be or not to be: a married Episcopalian discerns

posted by deacon greg kandra

From time to time, you hear about married former Protestant ministers becoming Catholic priests. A couple months ago, I mentioned here some Lutherans who had made that leap. But this may be the first time I’ve read an article about […]

Defying the odds: one parish, five vocations

posted by deacon greg kandra

After crinkling my nose and rolling my eyes over the McGreevey story, I was heartened to come across this sunny bit of news from the Sunshine State — one parish that has produced five, yes five, vocations: Beth Burwell wrestled […]

Will she switch to decaf?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I love coffee. I consider it to be my one vice (or, at least, the one I’ll admit to.) So it was with fascination and a little awe that I read this item about a coffee shop owner who is […]

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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