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Fr. Tom Gibbons :
98 article(s)

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.
October 28th, 2010

[check out Tom's live-blogging from the Rally]…
When I was growing up in the 1980’s in Northern New Jersey, there was this infamous—INFAMOUS—series of commercials broadcast throughout the New York Metropolitan Area.  His business was electronics and his name was…Crazy Eddie!!! In the good old days of six-station television, the only way it was possible to avoid this foaming maniac of a salesman screaming, “We ARE NOT undersold, we WILL NOT be undersold, we CANNOT be undersold, and we MEAN IT!!!” was if you had your channel permanently set to PBS.  And at the close of every commercial came the infamous tagline, “Crazy Eddie… his prices are IN-SA-A-A-A-A-ANE!!!!”
Given that Jon

October 8th, 2010

Any casual glance at Roman Catholic history would be likely to reveal that our Church has a somewhat… complicated… relationship to war.  The first example to come to many people’s minds would be the Crusades, that period of history when Western European Christians tried to “evangelize” those living in the Holy Land by force.  But another example of that complicated history with violence can be seen in the feast we’ve celebrated this past week: Our Lady of Victory.
On October 7, 1571 a fleet of the Holy League decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire.  The five-hour battle was fought off of western Greece, near the Ottoman naval station in Lepanto.  The victory gave the Holy League…

October 6th, 2010

My memory… it slips sometimes.  I wish I could blame it on my advancing age.  After all, forty is right around the corner and I’d like to simply believe that as time passes, so do the hard drive of my brain has to let go of some of the storage in order to make room for more up-to-date files… of course then I’d have to ignore my past history, including one of my more infamous episodes from college.
I was visiting some friends after my junior year of school one summer evening and everyone decided to hit the bars… as many of my friends were wont to do during that time of our lives.  But since going out in that manner was something I did a lot at that particular time of my life, I volunteered to be the designated driver. …

September 20th, 2010

This past Sunday, some of the Paulist students were invited to participate in a dialog that was held at Park 51, the site of the new Islamic Center in downtown Manhattan that has been getting so much attention in the news as of late. The event was sponsored by Unity Productions, an organization that has been promoting an initiative entitled “20,000 Dialogues,” in which a particular documentary film is watched about the faith of Islam, followed by a discussion. A few days later, I sat down with Craig Campbell, CSP to ask him about the event.
TG: How did you get involved in this dialogue?

CC: …I saw their documentary “Talking Through Walls” on PBS. After the airing, the company who made the film would send it out

September 9th, 2010

We often talk about the need positive role models in the media today, but we rarely talk about the need for priests as role models; they are largely absent from today’s modern media landscape. And when they do happen to be included in a television show or a movie, they are frequently presented as older gentlemen spaced out on God who insists on calling everyone he meets “my child” and who inhabit a world few if any of us could reach… and might not want to if we could. Characterizations that on some visceral gut level has the opposite effect of being inspiring.
Which is one of the many reasons I am grateful for the release of the new Robert Rodriguez film Machete…. In the interests of full disclosure, films by Robert

August 27th, 2010

The big thing in the news right now is the debate on the Islamic center in lower Manhattan.  I have to say that I’ve been struggling for a few days with what to say on this topic, but too much has been going on to not say anything.  After all, if I write a blog for an online magazine for spiritual seekers, it’s kind of hard not to comment on an issue that focuses so much on faith.
I do have to say that my first response to this issue was not as of a spiritual seeker, not as someone who is devoting his life to religious life, but as someone who is an American.  It was hard for me to not see this as a freedom of religion issue.  While I do understand the arguments by some who are against this project—those of course who are not obviously…

August 16th, 2010

One of the exciting ministries of my community, the Paulist Fathers, is the film production studio in Los Angeles. In 1960 Fr. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser founded Paulist Productions and over the course of fifty years, created projects that have featured such stars as Raul Julia, Martin Sheen, Carol Burnett, Patty Duke, John Amos, Carroll O’Connor, Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, Blair Underwood, Jane Seymour, Tim Matheson, and Ron Howard.
Last week while at our community’s house in Lake George, some of us decided to go see a movie and one of the people in our group was one of the former presidents of Paulist Productions. And as I sat next to him while the previews flashed across the screen, something occurred to…

August 11th, 2010

Part of our Catholic tradition involves a concept known as “natural law,” a term used to describe a “right” ordering to the universe.  As a life-long Yankees fan I had never had any trouble understanding that concept, especially during the late nineties, where World Championships were like Christmas… they happened every year.  It was a “right ordering” of the universe that had never really been challenged: some teams are usually up, some teams are usually down, and no matter how good the Boston Red Sox ever get, they will always play second fiddle to the greatest sports franchise in world history (Manchester United be damned).
So you can imagine my… my… what’s the word… “shock”…

August 9th, 2010

I had exactly seven days left in Austin and I had not yet eaten the second greatest burger in Texas according to Texas Monthly Magazine.  Why I thought I would have room in my stomach for the second greatest burger in Texas I do not know… the last few weeks had been a gastrointestinal marathon of good-bye lunches, dinners, and breakfasts with the good parishioners of St. Austin Parish.  Not that I was an unwilling participant in all of restaurant hopping, mind you.
One of my favorite Paulist preachers here in Washington, DC used to be the rector of our parish in Rome.  One of the reasons I like his preaching so much is that he usually has great stories to tell, especially on the topic of saints; he almost always comes…

July 29th, 2010

Over the past few weeks, I have been on a culinary tear through the “Cheap Eats” Capital of the world: Austin, Texas . You see, on the east Coast, cupcakes are NOT served out of a trailer. On the east Coast, our idea of barbeque involves defrosting hot dogs in a microwave. On the East Coast, a breakfast taco is simply when you eat leftovers from Chili’s the following morning. So I have been spending these last days in Austin frantically visiting all of my favorite places… Amy’s Ice Cream, Torchy’s Tacos, Taco Deli, Iron Works… you name it. Someday I’m going to write a book about my experiences over these past few weeks: I’m going to call it “Eat, Pray, Austin.”

July 23rd, 2010

So I’ve taken up golf this past year in Austin.  I have mixed feelings about this development in my life.  Yes, I am enjoying the game… but I still can’t shake the feeling that this is somehow a natural progression of my priestly formation.  Priests and golf seem to be so synonymous that I wouldn’t be surprised if the bishop handed me a seven iron right after putting the oils on my hands during the ordination service.
This development in my life makes me wonder what will be coming next.  Seriously, it CAN’T really be wearing cardigans.  So many priests I know wear cardigans, but that …can’t be allowed to happen.  Catholic teachings on the sanctity of life aside, I am really going to have to find some

July 15th, 2010

If you’re like me and have been reading the news over the past couple of years, it is hard not to be concerned about the bees… or more importantly, the lack thereof.  The phenomenon of “Colony Collapse Disorder” has been going on for at least the past few years as the nation’s beekeepers have noticed a steep decline in colonies with each progressing year.
So, being the student for the priesthood, I thought recently that I would do what a man in my position could do; I prayed for the return of the bees during the prayers of the faithful.  When I offered this petition to God, I did hear some giggling in the pews after offering my intention, but I did not care… these are Biblical issues we are dealing with.…

July 4th, 2010

In 1630, a ship named the Arbella left England bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  On board the ship were religious dissidents who wanted to reform the Church of England by creating a new more purified community… otherwise known as Puritans.
Before the boat landed, Governor John Winthrop gave a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity.”  When he gave this sermon, he wanted to remind the people on board of why they were traveling. And in so doing, he established one of the central ideas about the meaning of this new land that would be passed down for generations.  He said to these early colonists:
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill….  The eyes of all people are upon us.  So

July 1st, 2010

As many of you know, I am from the great state of New Jersey.  And when I share that with people I have met at my current assignment in Austin, Texas, one of the things I have been frequently been told is that I don’t SOUND like I am from New Jersey.  Which I understand… in the many years I have spent living away from the land of my birth, I have come to appreciate that the window most people view my home state either has involves Tony Soprano or someone named Snooki (whom I have since learned is actually from Marlboro, New York).
Having grown up in a country-suburban environment, I was largely insulated from incorporating into my speech the verbal-stylings that Frank Sinatra helped make famous.  Still, there are times…

June 21st, 2010

The following is a reflection for the Feast Day of St. Thomas More, June 22.
In 1952, director Fred Zinnemann released a film that was eventually selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The movie was called High Noon…, and it starred Gary Cooper as a retired lawman who was being hunted down by a criminal he once brought to justice.  In the film, Gary Cooper had to make the decision whether or not to stand up to this criminal and his posse… or leave town.  While everyone in the town begged him to do the “smart” thing and leave, Gary Cooper decided to stay and face the bad guys

June 13th, 2010

I usually make a CD mix for long trips that attempt to capture the “theme” for the particular vacation. On a road trip through Arizona and Mexico, the mix featured “South of the Border,” “Rosalita,” with some Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers thrown in; the “Big Apple” mix for the 2006 weekend in New York was loaded with Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, and George Gershwin. So as last year’s Spring Break trip to Berkeley, California approached, the iTunes was fired up and yet another digital heirloom was created.
Because this vacation was partially an exercise in nostalgia, the songs selected leaned heavily on music I was listening to during my Lenten apostolate two years ago. Near the top of the…

June 2nd, 2010

Last year for spring break, I headed back to Northern California. I know, Berkeley is not exactly Daytona; there are no houses rented by MTV featuring free shows by Snoop Dogg and the tie-dyed culture seems somehow incompatible with wet T-Shirt contests. But the Cal Newman Center was the location of my Lenten apostolate two years ago and a part of me wanted to head back to the place where this life was newer than it is now, a time when I was still just wading into this pool called religious life… with both hands gripping the railing. And upon arriving in Northern California Peet’s Coffee was the first item on the checklist.
The checklist was an exercise in nostalgia: a list of the things I used to do, food I used to eat,…

May 26th, 2010

I was working on my homily that I would be giving on Pentecost Sunday and doing what I usually do when I am preparing homilies… procrastinating on the Internet.  So while browsing Busted Halo’s offerings, I noticed that fellow blogger Monica Rozenfeld posted something on the Jewish festival of Shavuot.

As I’ve mentioned before, this past summer I worked as a chaplain in a New York hospital along side two rabbinical students.  Having that experience gave me an even deeper appreciation for just how Jewish our Christian faith really is, especially the Catholic faith.  All of this makes sense if you think about it… but, truth be told, until my theological studies and my experience this summer, I hadn’t really thought about it.

May 18th, 2010

The word “saint” is a pretty loaded term in our lexicon.  For many, they conjure up images of those who have reached spiritual heights the rest of us could never hope to attain.  For others, they conjure up images of marble statues, figures ensconced in stony forms that seem to highlight some of the more inflexible aspects of our Catholic tradition.  Of course the most common understanding of the word is the definition of a person who always, always, ALWAYS does the right thing… sort of a holy Dudley Do-Right.  The term even caused modern day “Servant of God” Dorothy Day to remark, “Don’t call me a saint… I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”
I have to confess, even as a lifelong…

May 3rd, 2010

You know, when I decided to become a priest, there was one big thing I was really struggling with… one thing that I was really going to miss.  Because in my past life, there was something that I really liked to do… and when I looked at the job description of a priest, I realized that my days of doing this one thing were over.
Watching Meet The Press… on Sunday mornings.
Seriously… there was nothing better than waking up late on a Sunday morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich from Dunkin Donuts, and sitting down to watch the weekly political boxing match. And of course, I was usually far from being a passive watcher of the program.  I have been known to hold my fair share of political opinions

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