Why Men Shouldn’t Be Ordained—UPDATE

Remarkably, this little satire has become one of the most popular posts at The Bench, ever.  (Its appeal may be more universal than I ever imagined. It was recently picked up by a Buddhist blog, which thought it had humorous applications to Buddhist monks.) For some reason, the post is getting renewed attention and traffic [Read More...]

Japanese Commuters Join Together to Push 32-ton Train Off Trapped Woman

There’s a great homily in this story:  Japanese commuters teamed up to heave a 32-ton train carriage away from the platform to free a woman who had fallen between the train and the platform at rush hour. In a nightmarish scenario, the woman, who is in her 30s, slipped and fell into the eight-inch gap [Read More...]

A Prayer for Mental Health

The following e-mail arrived today from a priest: Hello Deacon Greg. We do not know each other, but I stumbled upon your website today. I am asking, please, that you pray for me and give my name to others who have a ministry of prayer. I am a 51-year-old priest and have terrible terrible mental [Read More...]

A New Deacon’s Ordination Impressions: “This Time, I Was the One Wearing the White Dress…”

The Catholic Messenger this week has write-ups about the 14 newly ordained deacons in the Diocese of Davenport. There’s full coverage of the ordination itself — and reflections from the new deacons, including this from Deacon Bob Glaser: “I had two siblings and two in-laws in their 80s. I was worried about them getting here. [Read More...]

How to Write Good

Source. [Read more...]

So, the Pope Picks Up the Phone and Makes a Call…

And John Thavis reports part of a recent conversation he had with Argentine journalist Jorge Milia: Pope Francis spoke endearingly about Pope Benedict, whom he calls “el viejo” — literally, “the old man,” but a term that carries with it affection and respect. “Today I was with el viejo, and we talked a lot. It’s a [Read More...]

Thank you, George and Mary Kandra

 George and Mary Kandra, my grandparents, with their daughter, Anne, in the backyard of the their home in Taylor, Pennsylvania. Date unknown. A long time ago you came to this country in the bottom of a boat, from a far-flung corner of Slovakia. I never knew much more than that; your home town, I think, [Read More...]

Putting Out into the Deep: Priest Celebrates “Boat Mass” in Knoxville

An unusual custom continues: Father Joe Campbell’s streak of consecutive boat Masses without a rain-out is intact. Father Campbell held Mass June 15 for about 85 people enjoying Norris Lake on Father’s Day weekend. It was his 22nd Mass on the water. And just as before, word spreads among Catholic boaters on Norris Lake that [Read More...]

Ah, travel

Remember when air travel was like this? Yeah. Neither do I. This is more like it: As I write, I’m sitting at a table in Au Bon Pain at the United terminal at LaGuardia, waiting for my flight to Denver for the Catholic Media Conference (you can follow on twitter at #cmc13). I’m looking forward [Read More...]

Ordination Update: 25 New Deacons for Pittsburgh

They are a diverse bunch: The men of the deacon class of 2013, who have made this formation journey together, are a diverse yet cohesive group: They range in age from 45 to 64, with the average being 55. One is single; the rest are married and, collectively, they have a total of 49 children [Read More...]