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Fr. Tom Gibbons :
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Since 2009, Tom Gibbons, CSP, has shared insights on faith, pop culture, and seminary life in the Kicking and Screaming blog here at Busted Halo. On May 19, 2012, Tom was ordained a Paulist priest at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City. He will begin serving St. Peter's Catholic Church in Toronto, Canada beginning in July 2012.
February 11th, 2013
A reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation

My first reaction? I looked at the date to make sure it was not April 1. My second reaction? Good for him.

January 31st, 2013

At long last, the final post for Kicking and Screaming.  Thanks for reading everybody!…

As I begin to write this last post of “Kicking and Screaming,” I am flying back to my permanent ministry assignment after having said the last of my “official” Masses of Thanksgiving in Austin, Texas. After ordination it is customary for many new priests to celebrate Masses at the parishes that had a significant role in their formation and spiritual journey. Indeed, in following weeks after ordination I went on what some of my friends referred to as “the tour,” celebrating Masses along the eastern seaboard at various churches that had held major roles in the previous forty years of my life. (T-Shirts

January 25th, 2013

The following is the homily I gave for the Masses I celebrated this past weekend in Horeshoe Bay and Austin, Texas… hence the Longhorn bias included therein.  

Whenever I go on an extended trip, I have the habit of making a CD mix in order to capture the “je ne sais quoi” of the place to where I’m going.  So in preparation of the big Austin trip, three super-cool mixes were made based heavily on the music I was listening to when I lived out there three years ago.  On one of the songs, Lone Star local Bob Schneider was singing about all of these people he wanted to be in life.
Want to be like Captain Kirk – get up each morning and love to go to work…
Want to be like Cassius Clay – change my name …

January 17th, 2013

I may have felt a little nervous on the morning of my ordination but the next morning, I was in a PANIC.

December 30th, 2012

Three years ago, I spent my pastoral year of seminary training in Austin, Texas. At the same time a certain MTV program about my home state came on the air: Jersey Shore. For the next few months, parishioners peppered me with questions about the likes of JWoww, Snooki and The Situation as if I knew them. But just as I began to get indignant about the unfair prejudices lobbed against my beloved Garden State, I realized that I too had my own …television-influenced biases regarding the Lone Star State. Up until that point, everything I knew about Texas I learned from J. R. Ewing.
There are overlaps between these characters from our respective home states. They were the center of attention for American TV viewers, and they

December 24th, 2012

This morning, I had some pre-Christmas errands to run and I found myself on the corner of Bloor and Bay, for those of you who know the “ritzy” part of Toronto.  They have some great displays in the stores and I had already checked most of the items off of my list, so I decided to go for a Christmas Eve walk, Egg Nog Latte in hand.  Along the way, I stumbled upon this sign in the middle of the sidewalk that said, “Give JOY.”  I got very excited—“JOY!”—so I went into the store and there was a clerk at the front door who said “welcome.”  So of course, I asked the clerk where I could find THE JOY and the man pointed me over to the shelf.  As I started perusing some of the items on the shelf, I began to realize that…

December 6th, 2012

This weekend we celebrate the first weekend of Advent… and I am already tired of Christmas. Yes, I too got excited when I walked into Starbucks November 1 and saw that sales of Egg Nog Lattes had begun. Yes, a broad smile came to my face when I heard the piano keys and jangling bells of Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” come over the radio. And I have to confess that I got a kick when I noticed the “Mistletoe Kissing Station” located in front of the CIBC on Bloor. But after the fifth playing of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” on a particular day, Christmas begins to feel like a politician that is trying too hard to be liked. By mid-November, all I want for Christmas is for Mariah…

November 2nd, 2012

Ironically, I had started writing the article before the images of floods and disaster in my home state of New Jersey and of New York City covered the airways.
The following continues a series that will serve as the conclusion of the Kicking and Screaming blog.

In 1975, Billy Joel decided that it was time to return to New York. His time in Los Angeles had been fruitful — he released his first two albums under Columbia Records and had garnered some of his first hits, including his signature song Piano Man… — so the move might have been a surprise for many. It was a dark time for the Big Apple. The city had lost much of the romanticism it had enjoyed in the previous decades, many of its urban areas were beginning

October 20th, 2012

Then one morning, after loosing track of just how many steps I had taken and how many days had passed, I had arrived at May 19. So I simply did what I had been doing every day for the past six years; I took one more step.

October 1st, 2012

This homily was given for the Sunday Readings located here.…

Today’s Gospel, the one where Jesus is appears to be telling his followers to cut off indiscriminate body parts, is actually not as bad as it sounds.   Jesus often spoke in allegorical terms and there is no reason to think that he is not speaking allegorically here.  After all, you would think that if anyone were to follow this teaching after Jesus gave it it would be the disciples.  And yet, as archeologists tell us, there is absolutely no record of the disciples having to spend the remainder of their days being forced to limp across the dessert with one foot, unable to “high five” each other because of past sins committed.
On the one hand, we can breathe

September 10th, 2012

One of the advantages of having a Paulist lead you on a retreat is that cinematic offerings are usually not off of the table the way they might be under Jesuit or Franciscan guidance. And there was probably more than a little divine inspiration when he suggested on closing the retreat with a movie: The Avengers.

August 8th, 2012

This was the cosmic equivalent of either Jim Perry or Bob Eubanks turning over the Queen of Diamonds on the game show Card Sharks and all I had to do was shout, “Lower!” Yet when the Game Show host Fate turned over that next card, it turned out to be the King of Spades, I was one of that 5-10%.

July 29th, 2012

In the Old Testament Class for which the paper was being written, we discussed how the personification of divine insight in the Hebrew Scriptures is often referred to as “Woman Wisdom.” But sitting in a waiting room to find out if I had cancer, I could not help but wonder if I was also being joined by “Dame Irony.”

July 23rd, 2012

I have to admit – for my first homily in Toronto, I basically wanted to tell a few jokes, say “Jesus loves you,” and then sit down. The problem with that plan came when I started reading the newspaper this week. I arrived in town on Wednesday and there was this story about this mass shooting at a crowded block party in Toronto in which two people were killed and 24 were injured.

July 12th, 2012

The following continues a series that will serve as the conclusion of the Kicking and Screaming blog.…

When I told people that I was going to L.A. for Spring Break, I received a deluge of advice on places that I just HAD TO VISIT. The Getty Museum, the Beverly Hills Hilton, the Die Hard building, the Santa Monica pier. And while those places are all fine and good, there was only ONE place I had been dying to visit since I was five years old. You know how in the 90s they had those commercials where someone would win the Super Bowl, the World Series, Star Search, or something like that, and an announcer would ask, “Now that you’ve just [INSERT LIFE ACCOMPLISHMENT HERE], what are you going to do next?” Yes, I know, the newly

July 3rd, 2012

The following is the first in a series that will serve as the conclusion of the Kicking and Screaming blog.…
The story of my ordination to the priesthood begins in a Los Angeles graveyard.
At the very end of the movie Pretty Woman — as Julia Roberts for all intents and purposes begins her film career and Richard Gere essentially closes out his (zing!) — a voice wafts over the streets of Southern California and proclaims, “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreaming. This is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreaming!”
When my plane arrived in the land of dreams for Spring Break

April 5th, 2012

As many of you know, I hail for the great state of New Jersey. And when you grow up in the Garden State, there is a rich assortment of personalities that have shaped the culture and the history of New Jersey for generations. Singers, politicians, actors… a wide variety of people who have contributed to this large tapestry we know as American culture. People to look up to, people to model one’s life around. And one of my greatest heroes from my home state is… Tony Soprano.
(Okay, Bruce Springsteen is REALLY my hero from New Jersey. Tony just works better for the direction I’m heading, so just go with me for a bit…)
And I don’t know about you, but I often have times in my life when I don’t always feel like…

February 27th, 2012

When we think of Lent, David Bowie is probably not the first person that comes to mind. But in 1977 he released a song called “Heroes.” Granted there was no duet with Bing Crosby involved, but there was a bold proclamation: “We could be heroes! Just for one day!” At first glance, this sentiment may not seem to have a lot to do with Jesus. After all, we think of Jesus as all of these different things: Messiah, Son of God, Second Person of the Trinity … but we often don’t take the time to consider him to be a hero.
Why not? After all, a hero is defined (according to Wikipedia) as “someone who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the will for self sacrifice…

February 22nd, 2012

Did you know that Ash Wednesday is the busiest church day of the year? I was surprised to hear that! I thought it might be Easter, but then someone explained to me that chocolate hangovers might affect attendance. So, I thought the busiest day must surely be Christmas, but then I remembered all of the big movies that are released on Christmas Day, and it made a little bit more sense. But Ash Wednesday? I guess on the one hand, there’s no chocolate around because people have given it up for Lent. And then on the other hand, everyone knows that Hollywood waits for the dead of winter to release all of its bad movies because the Oscar nominations have already come out and it’s too cold to leave the house anyway.…

January 23rd, 2012

You know, I probably shouldn’t say this, but on this Pro Life weekend, I really didn’t know what to say today. Every time I started to write one thing about the March For Life, two other concerns came to the fore. This was an issue that I used to look at in very black and white terms when I was younger. Then I got to a point where I could only see it in terms in gray. Now I guess I am at a point where I look at it in terms of black and white…and gray.
At first glance it’s a black and white issue, an open and shut case, there’s really not much more to discuss. And I have to say that this past October, I was given the amazing gift of two nieces — each from my two sisters — and I even got to be in the room for the birth…

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