Where playing is like praying

The great Dan Barry of the New York Times captures something mysterious and nostalgic in this essay about playing basketball on a Sunday morning in a chilly Catholic school gym.  Turns out, it’s a lot like church: Bowed and gasping after each game, I feel the mysterious tug on my basketball jersey that tells me [Read More…]

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Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before: a white zebra

Reallly. Her name is Zoe.  Read all about her here. And yes, her eyes really are blue. [Read more…]

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Hail, Mary: Israeli actress Odeya Rush to play Mary in “prequel to ‘Passion of the Christ'”

Well, that’s how one Hollywood writer is describing a promising new film scripted by the “Passion” scribe Benedict Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi. Details: The movie about Mary, Mother of Christ that has been bouncing around Hollywood for years may be moving closer to reality. The Wrap reports that Alister Grierson has been tapped to direct the [Read More…]

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LC leader admits he knew for years about Williams’ child

Another shoe drops: The leader of the Legionaries of Christ admitted on Tuesday he knew for years the scandal-plagued religious order’s most famous priest had fathered a child but still allowed the popular cleric to preach about morality. The religious order, still reeling from revelations that its founder was a sexual abuser and drug addict [Read More…]

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Now I won’t feel so bad when people yawn during my homilies

There are other factors at work.  Or, at least, that’s what this guy says.  I’ll buy that. [Read more…]

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Dolan: White House “strangling” Catholic church

He made the remarks this morning: The spat between Catholic leaders and the Obama administration over its contraception policies is heating up again, with one of the nation’s most prominent bishops charging that the White House is “strangling” the church over the matter. Archbishop Timothy Dolan told “CBS This Morning” Tuesday that the compromise reached [Read More…]

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Happy blog-o-versary

Last Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of my ordination; this week marks the five-year anniversary of “The Deacon’s Bench.” Flipping through the archived scrapbook of memories, I found this warm appreciation of the diaconate by Rocco Palmo, who was an early booster of the blog.  Others began dropping by and mentioning The Bench — people [Read More…]

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Turn off the computer and go to bed

Because it turns out that social networking is increasingly breaking up marriages: More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a  legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using [Read More…]

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Quote of the day

“We applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries [Read More…]

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Snapshot of the Class of 2012: America’s new priests

As has become its custom, the USCCB has posted a survey with some interesting facts about the men who are being ordained this spring: The average age of men ordained to the priesthood in 2012 is trending younger with the median age for the 2012 class at 31. Two-thirds of the class are between the [Read More…]

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“The worst thing you can do is send your kids to a Catholic school if you want them to retain their faith.”

Those are the attention-getting words of the founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria, Tom Monaghan. Here’s more: Around the time he sold Domino’s Pizza and the Detroit Tigers about 20 years ago, Tom Monaghan stopped doing most interviews. He devoted himself to Catholic education, most prominently by founding Ave Maria University, now based near [Read More…]

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Update: no collars for deacons in Brooklyn

Returning now to a favorite topic of debate on The Bench: deacons wearing the collar. I sit on the diaconal council for the Diocese of Brooklyn, and during our most recent meeting last week the subject was once again broached.  Some men were wondering about wearing the collar while engaging in some ministries — notably [Read More…]

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Meet the nun who calls herself “the hostess of the protest”

While Chicago contends with anti-NATO protests, one person at the forefront of the activity is a woman with a lot of experience at this sort of thing. She happens to be a Catholic nun.  Details: If you watched Sister Kathleen Desautels on Sunday morning near downtown’s Petrillo Music Shell, you could tell she’s been here before. [Read More…]

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A question about preaching: What’s so funny?

Sunday, my pastor and I were sitting in the sacristy, listening to a visiting priest preaching on the 7th Sunday of Easter.  Evidently, he was keeping the congregation in stitches. This priest was a goldmine of winsome stories and wry observations — a few of his jokes were threadbare, and I’d heard them before, but [Read More…]

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Top Boston College grad joining the Jesuits

A great vocation story from the Boston Globe: Dan Kennedy will graduate from Boston College on Monday, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and the recipient of the school’s most prestigious prize, the Edward H. Finnegan Award. Winners of the Finnegan, given to the student who best exemplifies the BC motto, “ever to excel,’’ tend [Read More…]

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“The Quest”: a glimpse at priestly formation, from 1973

Buried in the bowels of YouTube, somebody uncovered this gem.  While it may be of particular interest to folks in the Diocese of Brooklyn, it’s also a fascinating sort of time capsule that shows life in a college seminary in the 1970s.  (Look beyond the platform shoes and sideburns and you’ll hear a lot of [Read More…]

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The Living Rosary

How did you spend Sunday afternoon?  At my parish, we did this: It’s the “Living Rosary,” an unusual devotion that we practice twice a year — during Mary’s month of May, and during the rosary’s month, October. The pray the rosary in the front plaza of our church, one person representing one bead, singing verses [Read More…]

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“Up for grabs”: a Democratic strategist on how to win the Catholic vote

Here’s another take on this election from Jim Arkedis of the Progressive Policy Institute.  It offers a window into how Democrats  are thinking about Catholics: Catholics are up for grabs this year. A Gallup poll from April has President Obama and Mitt Romney tied among Catholics, 46 percent each. At nearly 20 percent of the population, [Read More…]

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