Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
241 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
November 1st, 2007
Fr. Roderick Vonhogen a new media pioneer from the heart of the Netherlands

As Pope John Paul II lay dying, thousands of pilgrims and other well-wishers gathered outside his window, offering prayers, hoping for a miracle or at least a glimpse of the ailing Pontiff. One of those pilgrims was Fr. Roderick Vonhogen, a Dutch priest from Amersfoort in the Netherlands, who had begun immersing himself in a new form of technology called podcasting, a short-form digital radio show that is easily captured through the internet.
As Fr. Roderick saw people’s reactions during the Pope’s last days, he began to wander around, digital recorder in hand and ask questions of the younger people in St. Peter’s Square. He added some of his own commentary and then posted his podcast on the…

September 14th, 2007
The Religious Landscape of People in their 20s and 30s

The publication of Mike Hayes’ book Googling God is an important first on a number of levels for everyone involved with BustedHalo. Not only does it mark the publication of our managing editor’s first book, it is also the debut of our new publishing imprint, BustedHalo Books, through Paulist Press. Plans are already underway to publish other titles through BustedHalo Books in the near future, including the Freshman Survival Guide and Moral Dilemmas, so stay tuned. But for now we hope you enjoy this brief excerpt from Googling God.

When Paulist Father Brett Hoover and I founded BustedHalo.com… in 2000, our mission was to minister to the “spiritual but not religious crowd” in their 20s

July 18th, 2007
One Paulist's journey from park ranger to priest to immigration-rights activist

Park Ranger and Pastor are not career paths that would seem to overlap much, but it was Paulist Father Gilbert Martinez’s work at the Grand Canyon that led him to the priesthood. After spending several years working as a National Park Ranger in the heart of one of the most awesome natural wonders on earth, the California native felt the call. Though he isn’t normally given to such lofty expressions of spirituality, Martinez looks back at his years of work—often alone in the quiet of the natural world—as a time when he was able to listen to God talk. His experiences in this cathedral of nature led him back to his Catholic faith and, eventually, the priesthood.
While he is still drawn to the beauty…

April 11th, 2007
A former staff member wonders if the joke's on us

The door to WFAN’s studio opened wide catching my eye and as I looked up I was greeted with the words “What the f*** are you looking at?” from none other than the legendary shock jock, Don Imus.
I had no idea how to react. Was Imus serious or joking around? There was no time to react but I stalled with a stuttering, “Excuse me?”
Again the words bellowed at least 20 times louder, “What the f*** are you looking at?”
I decided that I needed to play ball and go toe to toe with the acid tongued, leathery skinned morning man and replied sternly, “You, ya ugly bastard!”
Imus smiled and said, “Well stop looking at me, there’s no need to be looking at me unless…

April 5th, 2007
St. Peter denied Him three times, how often have I?

Usually when St. Peter’s denial of Jesus is recounted every Holy Week I find myself feeling somewhat superior. After all, Peter refuses to admit that he even knows Jesus—and here I am standing proud in my pew as a faithful follower of Christ. But this year I’ve begun to see that scene from the Gospel in a different light. Though Peter denies Jesus I wonder if on that tortuous night he also displayed a form of conflicted courage as well.
All the other apostles ran away in fear that night, but Peter followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard (in Luke’s Gospel he even enlists another disciple who is known to the high priest to help get him into the courtyard). Certainly this…

March 16th, 2007
… and 12 completely unnecessary facts about the day celebrated in his honor

The Man……

March 17th marks St. Patrick’s Day, the Catholic feast day for the patron saint of Ireland, who died on that day in the 5th century.

Patrick was not Irish but was born in Wales in about AD 385 and for much of his youth did not practice the Catholic faith. He considered himself a pagan until the age of 16 when he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village and brought to Ireland. During his 6 year captivity, he became closer to God.

He did not remain in Ireland but instead escaped to Gaul (France) where he studied for the priesthood. In a dream he saw “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs stretching out their hands” to him. He understood

January 9th, 2007
The real-life team chaplain remembers the tragedy depicted in the film We Are Marshall

In 1970, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, faced a tragedy of epic proportions when it lost its entire football squad, along with coaching staff, boosters and family members in a plane crash. The recently released film, We Are Marshall tells the story of how this tiny steel town coped with the loss of loved ones, and how Jack Lengyel (played by Matthew McConaughey) took the coaching reigns and tried not only to rebuild an athletic team, but also a community.
Paulist Father Bob Scott—who was the campus minister and chaplain for Marshall University’s football team at the time—would’ve perished along with everyone else had he not stayed behind to work on campus that weekend.…

December 22nd, 2006

Dana Reeve, the epitome of grace and class under pressure, is probably most known for the tragic events that surrounded her husband Christopher Reeve and his paralyzing accident. Dana remained by her husband’s side and her comforting words “you’re still you” provided him with the resolve that he needed for his remaining days to be an activist for people with spinal chord injuries. Tragically, Dana died from lung cancer (despite the fact that she never smoked) less than two years after her husband passed away.
I met Dana briefly after she was interviewed on a talk show I produced at WOR Radio in New York. About a month before that, I was asked to review a play she was starring in called “Good…

November 20th, 2006
In the spirit of St. Ignatius, the Super Size Me director takes viewers on a 30-day spiritual reality retreat

Morgan Spurlock gained fame and an Oscar nomination by becoming a human guinea pig in the documentary Super Size Me in which he ate nothing but McDonald’s meals for a full month. His newest project “30 Days,”(which just finished its 2nd season) is a six-part documentary series that takes the conceit of his debut film to a deeper level by launching real people from very different backgrounds into unfamiliar territory and. capturing not only their strange situations, but also some deep and life changing attitude shifts.
In season one (now available on DVD) the seminal episode focused on poverty as Spurlock takes a page from Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickel and Dimed, and subjects himself…

May 1st, 2006
United 93 honors losses that are both national and personal

The fact that we know how director Paul Greeengrass’ United 93 ends somehow makes the film all the more harrowing to watch. We know that the doomed September 11th flight out of Newark airport will be overtaken by terrorists and targeted for the U.S. Capitol. We also know that a group of passengers will rally and force the plane to crash in a field in Shanksville, PA with no survivors. Greengrass gives Americans the chance to re-live a piece of our national nightmare and nearly five years later the wound is still fresh; having known a member of the flight crew personally made an already difficult film to watch into an excruciating experience.
United Flight attendant Debbie Welsh was a member of my parish, and I…

April 20th, 2006
A Guide to the new reality show God or the Girl

With its mix of equal parts “The Bachelor” and “Jackass” with a spiritual twist, A&E’s new reality series, “God or the Girl” has people talking. The five-part show follows the lives of four young men who struggle with making a decision to pursue studying for the priesthood instead of staying in a relationship with a significant other.
The four “contestants” offer an accurate reflection of the diversity of young adult faith experiences, ranging from highly pious to the irreverent. While “God or the Girl” makes an attempt to honestly portray how these men struggle with their decision, it sometimes stoops to sprinkling in stupid…

January 25th, 2006
A Portland parish becomes devoted to the environment

On the long list of social justice causes that the Catholic Church advocates for, issues like poverty and the right to life are usually foremost in people’s minds. But, with the help of their pastor, a parish in the Pacific Northwest has rallied around their concern for the environment with a fervor that has not only enabled them to have a significant, tangible impact on their surrounding community but also illuminated a neglected area of Catholic Social thought that continues to grow in relevance.
When Paulist Father Steve Bossi was assigned to St. Phillip Neri parish in Portland, Oregon, he was excited to return to the Pacific Northwest where he grew up, but he knew he was going to face a huge challenge in…

January 19th, 2006
John Paul II gave us a moment that we need to remember

When Pope John Paul II’s would-be assasin, Mehmet Ali Agca, was released from a Turkish jail last week after serving almost 25 years behind bars — except for the complete transformation of his hair from jet black to grey—the man who emerged looked strikingly similar to the person who inhabits one of the more enduring images that I hold dear of the late pope. In that scene John Paul is huddled in a corner talking quietly at close range with the man who tried to kill him. It was an extraordinary act of forgiveness that continues to be extremely rare—if not unheard of — on the world stage and one I don’t remember nearly enough in my own life.

After Agca shot John Paul II six times at close range while thousands of pilgrims looked on in St. Peter’s Square, people around the world were shocked. “Who would want to kill a Pope?” was the question on many people’s lips. “He should get the chair,” my mother remarked angrily. And we all agreed.

Breaking the endless cycle

It was an understandable reaction. Think about it, how often do any of us forgive or ask forgiveness for the many comparatively small transgressions in our own lives? How often in our history books, filled with accounts of hatred and violence, do we come across unpredictable acts like this that break the endless cycle of vengeance? Months after his recovery, the Pope’s visit to his attacker in prison was a radical step in a different direction. He looked at his would-be killer in the eye, conversed with him, shook his hand, and even prayed for him!

January 4th, 2006
The controversial Catholic author talks about his new book on one of the Church's oldest prayers

As a cultural historian and author, Garry Wills has spent more than three decades researching and writing on historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan (his Lincoln at Gettsyburg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for nonfiction) but it is as a writer on religion that Wills has been making his mark of late. With books like Papal Sin (2000), St. Augustine’s Memory (2002) and Why I Am A Catholic (2002) Wills has been both an outspoken advocate for and critic of the Catholic church.
His latest book, The Rosary, is both a history of one of Catholicism’s oldest practices as well as a prayer guide. Wills debunks myths surrounding the origins of the rosary and brings to light many…

December 24th, 2005
Reflections on St. Joseph from a soon-to-be adoptive father

As Christmas Day draws closer and crèche scenes start to pop up in New York City, I inevitably begin to think about the Holy Family. But this Christmas, as my wife and I begin the process of adopting a child, I find myself drawn closer to the life of St. Joseph than ever before.
Imagine Joseph’s surprise when, in his old age, he accepts Mary as his betrothed only to find out later that she is pregnant. By law, Joseph had the right to stone Mary. So the first intended audience for the gospel must have found it quite surprising that Joseph decided to simply “divorce her quietly.”
A second surprise is that this choice causes Joseph so much angst that he can not even sleep soundly. A dream instructs…

September 21st, 2005
The poor serving the poor in Nicaragua

I set off on my recent mission trip to Nicaragua with every intention of spending a week in service to poor orphans and with the hope that the encounter would deepen my relatively limited, first-world perspective on poverty. My perspective was indeed startlingly altered by my time there but in a way that was completely unexpected. My wife and I had gone to help out at Hogar Belen, a home for abandoned and disabled children, and found ourselves instead assisiting the orphanage in their outreach to those even less fortunate than themselves.
An orphanage helping the poor…? I thought the orphans were the poor.
Twice a month the staff of Hogar Belen, heads to the city dump to hand out food. The orphanage itself is…

September 11th, 2005
"Pay It Forward"

Kim Statkevicus had it all. A successful, loving husband, a great house in the suburbs, a 13 month old son and another child on the way—the picture perfect American dream. But on September 11, 2001 Kim’s husband, Derek was among the many killed in the World Trade Center. As she began to mourn the loss of her husband complete strangers came rushing to her aid. “Derek died in a very public way,” she said in a recent phone interview, “so the outpouring of support for me was immense. Because I was pregnant I received so much stuff, and it just kept on coming in. While I was very grateful, I also wondered what I was going to do with [all of it], much of which I didn’t need.”

Kim (pictured…

May 17th, 2005
Finding God through rewinding

For years my mother has been dealing with a host of medical problems. Since I was 9 years old, I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t sick. Often I’ve sat by her hospital bedside comforting her while I was falling apart inside. When the depression that accompanies pain and illness enveloped her, my father and sister would grow increasingly depressed as well. As a teenager and throughout my young adulthood, I have usually been the one who has talked my family off of the proverbial ledge.
But in helping to guide my family through their dark moments I have sometimes felt that—though both my mother and father are still alive—I have lost my parents. I have become the grown-up now, the parent of my…

May 1st, 2005
CNN's Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter correspondent sits down with BustedHalo to talk about the death of John Paul II, the election of Pope Benedict and where the Catholic Church is headed

If you happened to be anywhere near a television set during the extensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, chances are you are familiar with John Allen Jr. Allen, who serves as a Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR in additon to his role as correspondent for National Catholic Reporter seemed omnipresent during those weeks as he
helped interpret the breaking news at the Vatican for American viewers. Just seven weeks after the installation of Pope Benedict, his new book The Rise of Benedict XVI: The inside story of how the pope was elected and where he will take the Catholic Church,… has hit the shelves. On the eve of its June 7th release, Allen, 40, stopped by BustedHalo’s

April 19th, 2005
Coming to terms with Benedict's papacy

As the Papal conclave closed, fear crept into my heart. “Anybody but Ratzinger,” I prayed. Moments before the announcement of who was to succeed Pope John Paul II I even said to myself, “If it’s Ratzinger, I’m becoming an Episcopalian.” After my fears were confirmed, I cringed as the white-haired German whom many liberal Catholics have come to despise emerged on the balcony at St. Peter’s.
In his former job, as the head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the Cardinal Ratzinger was tenacious. He abhorred relativism, silenced liberal theologians, and published a document called Dominus Iesus, that stated that religions other than Catholicism…

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