Archdiocese of New York Hires Outside Organization to Run Schools

Details:  In an unprecedented move, the Archdiocese of New York is trying to save six cash-strapped elementary schools by allowing an outside organization to run them. The Partnership for Inner-City Education — which has a history of working with city Catholic schools — is contracting with the archdiocese to manage the finances and oversee the [Read More…]

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Rest in Peace, Deacon Joseph Cella

Longtime readers of The Deacon’s Bench may remember that I posted a story about Joseph Cella back in the early days of my blog, in 2007.  He was the “deacon with a badge,” the only Catholic deacon in Philadelphia who was also working as a cop. I’ve just gotten some sad news from Philadelphia, from [Read More…]

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“Why Would Conservative Catholics Be So Upset?”

That’s one of the questions Michael Sean Winters poses in this rejoinder to Archbishop Chaput’s comments yesterday in the National Catholic Reporter. An excerpt: Pastors around the world are reporting increased levels of Mass attendance and more frequent reception of the sacrament of reconciliation. Is this not what conservative Catholics have been calling for these [Read More…]

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For World Youth Day, Pope Francis Will Visit Where his Pontificate Really Began

A fascinating insight, via Vatican Insider:  The Church needs to “rid itself from all expired structures that do not favour the transmission of the faith.” This is what point 365 in the concluding document of the last general assembly of Latin American bishops at Aparecida, Brazil’s most important Marian shrine. The meeting set in stone [Read More…]

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Chaput: Right Wing “Have Not Been Really Happy” About Pope Francis

Philadelphia’s archbishop made his remarks in Rio, during an interview with NCR’s John Allen. Snip:  What do you pick up back home about the new pope? My sense is that practicing Catholics love him and have a deep respect for him, but they’re not actually the ones who really talk to me about the new [Read More…]

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Did the Pope Really Say That?

All day, my FB feed has been filling up with this particular quote, attributed to Pope Francis, discussing World Youth Day: We need saints without cassocks, without veils. We need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies, that listen to music, that hang out with friends. We need [Read More…]

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Signs of Faith: Washington Hosts Gathering of Deaf Catholics

Redemptorist Father Cyril Axelrod of London, right, who is both deaf and blind, participates in a July 16 Mass in the crypt church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, assisted by David Day. (CNS photo/Michael Hoyt, Catholic Standard)  Details, from the Catholic Standard:  With hands moving quickly through the air, [Read More…]

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Meet World Youth Day’s “Fashionista Priest”

Details, from Aleteia:   Father Andrew O’Connor is perhaps almost as well known in New York’s fashion scene as in the Bronx parish he pastors. Taking a retreat in Guatemala years ago, he was impacted by the grinding poverty and hopelessness he saw. He found a way to get New Yorkers to share their wealth [Read More…]

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“Mend a Quarrel:” A Message of Mercy We Need to Hear

Over at the CNEWA blog, (where I toil as part of my day job) there’s a heartfelt remembrance of a Mercy Sister, Christian Molidor, who worked for the agency for many years.  She died yesterday after a long illness. The piece quotes Sister Christian’s final e-mail, sent to her friends when she retired a couple [Read More…]

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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…]

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Ordination Update: 11 New Deacons for Dubuque—UPDATED

I received an e-mail last night, alerting me to the ordinations which happened over the weekend at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Hiawatha, Iowa. It marks the first class ordained by Dubuque’s Archbishop Michael O. Jackels. No pictures or details have appeared online yet, but the Dubuque Catholic newspaper, The Witness, has a complete [Read More…]

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A REALLY Great Moment in Journalism: NBC Reporter Anne Thompson Chats with Pope, Asks Him to Bless Medal

If memory serves, Anne Thompson also did the readings at one of the pope’s daily Masses shortly after his election. Now, she unabashedly pops up on national television receiving a papal blessing. Some women who appear on NBC channels wear tampon earrings. Some wear holy medals. Go figure. From the NBC Nightly News: Visit NBCNews.com [Read More…]

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Holocaust Memorial Draws Criticism for Using Star of David

And no, that’s not another headline from The Onion.  People are seriously objecting to the use of a religious symbol in the memorial. Details:  Plans for a Holocaust memorial at the Ohio Statehouse have stirred a debate over the separation of church and state that may lead to a lawsuit because a focal point of [Read More…]

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Pope to Reporters: “I Don’t Give Interviews…But I Enjoy Your Company.”

From the flight to Rio, via CNS:  With economic hard times as an excuse not to hire young people, the world risks tossing them aside and endangers its own future, Pope Francis said. Speaking to reporters aboard the papal flight to Rio de Janeiro July 22, the pope declined to answer their questions, but instead [Read More…]

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Study: Religious Progressives Predicted to Outnumber Conservatives

Details:  A new study has found that while the number of religious conservatives is still greater than that of progressives, the religious left may have a better chance of maintaining its foothold with Americans over time. “If you’re using a generational snapshot today as a proxy for the future, it is is safe to say [Read More…]

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Singing Priests, Weeping Faithful: The Charismatic Church of Brazil

Here’s a glimpse at part of the Catholic Church that will be welcoming the pope this week, from CNN: It looks like an airport hangar and it sounds like a rock concert. Thousands have packed into a megachurch on the periphery of Sao Paulo for one of Father Marcelo Rossi’s Thursday night masses. The Roman [Read More…]

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It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

And for proof, you have to check out this video of a muddy horserace in New York City last month. Just watch what happens.  “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of [Read More…]

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Great Moments in Journalism: MSNBC Host Wears Tampon Earrings

Details:  On her MSNBC show Sunday, Melissa Harris-Perry introduced a new type of jewelry inspired by the recent protests at the Texas Capitol. Tampon earrings. “My producer Lorena made for me, last week, some tampon earrings,” Harris-Perry said as she inserted them into her pierced ears. “Because, of course, you’ll remember the Texas state legislature [Read More…]

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