Brooklyn Diocese: Currents Studio Collapses

The holidays often bring with it unexpected disasters. In this case I received this horrible note from our friend and fellow blogger Deacon Greg Kandra, who I often refer to on this blog as “the good deacon.” Deacon Greg recently left CBS TV where he worked for many years to take over a budding new TV operation with the Brooklyn Diocese at Net TV as their news director. He has been producing a show called Currents on the diocese’s NET TV (New Evangelization Television). As opposed to many other efforts in “Catholic TV” Currents’ set looked extremely professional and their staff were the consummate broadcasters. Read below and be heartbroken.

(Here) you see a photograph taken on the afternoon of Tues, Dec 22, of what remains of our beautiful studio.

At 3 o’clock, just as we were set to start taping the show, the anchors and I were chatting in the studio, going over copy, when we heard a loud “thump” on the roof. Must be reindeer, someone joked. Ha ha. We got ready to start and we heard a louder THUMP, and the lighting grid began to tremble and groan, and it looked for all the world like the roof was about to cave in. “Get out!,” one of the technical directors yelled. We scrambled, grabbed our things, and streamed out into the parking lot. No one could figure out what was going on. Someone called 911 and the fire crew went in and looked around. The rest of the grid had started to come down right after we fled the building. Part of the interview set was damaged. Fortunately no camera equipment was hit. It was a miracle no one was hurt.

Long story short: the studio is out of commission for about three months. Maybe longer.

We’re figuring out a Plan B for continuing to tape “Currents” in the new year.

I’m not one to solicit funds often, and Deacon Greg is probably too proud to ask for this himself. So if you’ve got a Christmas shekel to spare, drop them a donation here.

Men in Black: The Deacon Version

Deacon Greg raises an issue that I’ve heard lots of opinions on: Should Deacons wear a Roman Collar?

As a wanna-be Deacon I have a definite opinion on the issue and it’s pretty simple. Deacons should not WANT to look like a priest. Or perhaps better stated, Deacons should want their own “look.” What that look might be is what should be debated.

In my parent’s parish in the 70s and 80s our Deacon was the DRE (Director of Religious Education) and he wore a collar then. He doesn’t today. But often he was mistaken for a priest, especially by parents who would just drop their kids off at CCD but hadn’t ever been to mass in the parish. The Deacon always said he knew which parents were church-goers because they’d all recognize him as a Deacon and the non-attendees would say “Good Morning, Father.” Even a name tag didn’t help him. People still confused him for the priest.

My thought is simple. Deacons can wear the collar but also should wear something more distinguishable from their priests. Maybe the diaconal stole should be worn over the clerical collar when on official parish business, maybe even one with the word “Deacon” on it? I’ve seen those who don’t wear collars wear a small lapel pin (pictured, right) but I just don’t think that cuts it.

As Deacon Greg notes, wearing a collar definitely changes the perspective of people toward Deacons. You’re not really “one of the lay people” anymore once that gets strapped on your neck. But to add something more distinctive to it might raise the profile of the Deacon as a minister and be useful in helping identify them in hospitals and funeral homes.

Any ideas on a Deacon’s Uniform?

Is Blogging Ministry?

Yes…next question…

But seriously, Deacon Greg thinks so too. And in this beautiful and funny piece for our friends at America Magazine he tells us why.

Then, one night in August, on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, I decided to check my e-mail before going to bed. There was an item in my inbox titled, “I lost one of my students today.” I sat down and took a deep breath. It was from a Catholic teacher in Newark, N.J. One of his pupils, a 15-year-old boy, had been shot and killed that morning while sleeping in his own bedroom. News reports said a neighbor downstairs had been handling a rifle that had gone off accidentally.

The teacher was devastated. He told me that he wrote because he just needed to get it off his chest. “I am stricken with grief at a time when my heart would otherwise be elated—but I know my young student, my child, celebrates this feast in the arms of the Blessed Mother,” he wrote, and asked for prayers for himself, his students and the boy who had been killed.

I did not know what to say. I wrote back to him, offering a few words of consolation, and told him I would pray for him. But something, I felt, had changed.

The flickering words on a computer screen spoke of something greater, and deeper, and sadder than anything else I had encountered in my months of blogging. In the middle of all the bickering in the blogosphere, I had encountered a moment of unexpected grief and profound grace—beautiful, heartbreaking, soul-wrenching grace.

If nothing else, the Internet makes us acutely aware of this: the world is bigger than we realize and smaller than we expect. We are bound together in ways we cannot even imagine. I have learned a lot since I began blogging, but the greatest lesson may be that we are catholic, which means we are universal, and that we are everything and everyone, for better or for worse.

Indeed he is correct. From my time here and my 8 1/2 years at Busted Halo I’ve gotten e-mail from prisoners concerned about homosexuality, women who have had miscarriages and thought their child had lost all hope for salvation, I even had someone write in who was afraid their son was contemplating suicide. While our retreat program is filled with similar experiences, they pale in comparison to what gets revealed in the anonymity of the internet. It is beautiful and sad at the same time. Beautiful that we are all connected and can reach out to one another and that we can provide some kind of virtual ministry to these people who seek us out. At the same time, the world seems like a lonely place where people have to resort to sending a note on the internet to virtual strangers, albeit people with whom they likely respect and maybe even feel some kind of spiritual or emotional resonance.

The rest of the article is downright funny and poingnant in other ways. So check out the whole thing here.