Busted Halo
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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.
April 29th, 2010
This homily was given on Wednesday, April 28 and was based on the daily readings that can be viewed here.  What can I say?  It’s what happen when I get “homilist block” while surfing movie trailers on iTunes. I love summer movies… and I got very very excited when I saw what one of the movies coming out this summer. One of my favorite TV shows growing up is going to be a major Hollywood motion picture… The A-Team! Seriously!!! For those of you who were too distracted by such “higher quality” shows such as Hill Street Blues in the Eighties and never got the chance to watch Mr. T strut his stuff, The A-Team is about these four soldiers who were convicted for a crime they didn’t commit. So they escaped…
April 29th, 2010
Fans of Leonard Nimoy have Star Trek Conventions.  Baseball historians have trading card conventions.  White people who don’t like paying taxes have tea parties.  And hipsters from Generations X-through-Y have South By Southwest. As I prepare to leave my thirties, as I continue towards a horizon that is increasingly influenced by the artist-formerly-known-as Joseph Ratzinger and less so by Quentin Tarantino… and as I find myself wondering just how much the Venn Diagrams intersect the worlds of secular society and faith overlap, I decided to try an experiment: I would wear my clerics at South By Southwest film and music festival. Before arriving in Austin to spend my pastoral year, I had to come up…
April 6th, 2010
The following is the homily that I gave on Easter Sunday at St. Austin’s.  Since we are just beginning the Easter Season, I thought it still might be appropriate. We have been telling and re-telling the story we just heard in the Gospel for 2,000 years. And with all stories that we know, there’s a certain comfort in familiarity.  No matter how much fear creeps into the Agony in the Garden, no matter how brutal Good Friday becomes, we all know how the story ends. But because we are so familiar with the story, it can get easy to forget one simple thing; after the death of Jesus, the people in today’s reading did not know how the story was going to end.  In fact that Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Peter, the disciple…
March 30th, 2010
This homily was given on the Tuesday of Holy Week based on the Gospel reading for the day: Peter’s Denial of Jesus. The text can be read here. A few days ago, I was talking on the phone with somebody who had told me once that a Catholic priest had abused him when he was a child.  He had just begun to get some peace about it, but all of the new allegations over the past few weeks in Ireland and Germany really kicked up these feelings again… because for him it wasn’t just the abuse, it was the cover up that happened at a larger level.  All of his anger and frustration at the Church came roaring back.  And as he spoke I was reminded of today’s Gospel reading. Peter’s denial of Jesus is a story that is contained in all…
March 24th, 2010
So, what happens when a Catholic seminarian interviews the director of a documentary about Muslim Punks at the South By Southwest film festival? A pretty good conversation about the struggles of being Islamic in North America and the similar dynamics involved in different spiritual traditions it turns out! After the Austin premiere of Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, filmmaker Omar Majeed and I discussed this lesser-known movement within the modern musical and cultural landscape as it traveled from the United States to Pakistan. The video above was selected from clips of a 14 minute interview. To view the first part of the full interview, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKLe7oQ4H6w. To…
March 19th, 2010
The following post is a continuation of BustedHalo’s coverage of the 2010 South By Southwest festival. The guest contributor for this post is Lynn Freehill, an Austin-based writer. After 25 years of on-again, off-again lessons about how God asks us to forgive each other, I came to a group discussion of forgiveness with fair confidence that I could hold my own. Forgiveness was a challenging concept, I’d come to believe, but a beautiful one. But when one group member, James, launched by asking how we each defined forgiveness, my confidence whooshed away. Here I was a writer, and I couldn’t even articulate the idea in simple words. How to explain it: accepting something that had gone wrong? Telling the…
March 17th, 2010
The following post is a continuation of BustedHalo’s coverage of the 2010 South By Southwest festival. This is my week to play “press agent.”  I have a badge that makes me feel extra special and my name is on a list that allows me to take pictures on many of the Red Carpet premieres here at South By Southwest.  Yet the casual observer might notice little things about me that betray that this is not my full time job. My camera—although a nice piece of equipment that has always served me well on vacations—appears to have cost thousands of dollars less than the other cameras around me.  The fact that I am dressed entirely in black—save a white tab around my neck—also suggests other employment pursuits.…
March 16th, 2010
The following post is a continuation of BustedHalo’s coverage of the 2010 South By Southwest festival. The search for the spirituality at the South By Southwest media festival in Austin began with a pot movie.  No, I am not advocating alternative lifestyles… at least not those of the Cheech and Chong variety.  But when I found out that Edward Norton would be showing his latest film at the Alamo Draft House on South Lamar, I put a big black circle around the showing of Leaves of Grass on the extended grid of movies offered on the opening night of the festival. It might have something to do with the fact that the theme that seemed to permeate last summer was the movie Keeping The Faith. For those who have not seen…
March 12th, 2010
During my novitiate year, as a way to better learn about the community a number of Paulists came and talked to us about their priestly careers.  And one of them, after talking about all the things he was able to do during his time with the community—serving as the chaplain for UCLA, spending a number of years in Rome, working as a commentator on network TV—said something that stuck with me over the past four years.  He said, “If you don’t have a lot of fun as a Paulist, it’s your own fault.” With that in mind, there has been one event I have been looking forward to ever since I arrived in Austin for my pastoral year: South By Southwest (SXSW).  SXSW is a yearly festival that integrates the latest in independent…
March 8th, 2010
I know that a magazine entitled “Spirit” does not necessarily involve any faith connotations per se.  Of course, the official magazine of Southwest Airlines never claimed to focus on journeys of faith… only those involving honey-roasted peanuts.  And when I picked up the magazine on a recent flight, I can’t say that I finally solved the problem of evil or figured out the math of single God made up of three persons.  But when I landed on the page entitled “Wheel of Fortune,” I was given yet another subtle reminder of the different kind of life I am leading. No, the article did not entail any veiled references to Pat Sajak (disappointingly) but it did feature a bright, multicolored wheel… each piece…
February 23rd, 2010
You know how “Fight Club” has these rules?  Well, as I’ve come to learn, priests also have similar rules among themselves.  Rule Number One: Do not wear clerics on an airplane.  Rule Number Two: DO NOT WEAR CLERICS ON AN AIRPLANE. Why is this you may ask?  Well, the best explanation I can give is a story I heard about a fellow Paulist.  This particular Paulist very much sees his priesthood as a responsibility to be as complete a representative of a loving God as he can possibly be.  He takes this sense of identity very, very seriously and strives with all of his might to fulfill this divine mission.  But—because he is a human being, just like everyone else—he acknowledges that he sometimes falls short…
February 17th, 2010
Did you know that Ash Wednesday is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation?  Seriously!  My jaw dropped when I heard this yesterday.  The reason: Ash Wednesday is not considered a Feast Day… it’s a fast. That being said, for a day that does not fall under the purview of obligation, it sure does get good attendance.  While I don’t know this for sure (I can let you know at the end of the day), I would be willing to venture that more people show up for church on Ash Wednesday than they do for a typical Sunday.  My opinion of the reason why so many people do: giveaways. If Trade Show people and Athletic Stadium Mascots have learned anything over the years, it’s that people love giveaways.  Have you…
February 11th, 2010
When I first saw Moulin Rouge! about ten years ago, one of my artsier friends brought me to the independent movie house and I had no idea what I was walking into.  She had a reputation for crazy films so I was skeptical at first.  As the movie started (if you’ve ever seen it), my initial skepticism seemed more than justified.  The films seemed to be all over the place with crazy people shouting, rapid-fire camera cuts, and a music selection that could only be described as schizophrenic… I’m sorry, I mean “multiple-personalitied.”  During its first twenty minutes , Moulin Rouge! was like an old airplane—with holes in its fabric wings—bouncing along the runway trying to take off. And then—just…
February 4th, 2010
It was an act of incredible self-restraint to NOT begin my reflection for the feast of Saint Blaise—the patron saint of throat illnesses—with this opening line:  “Today’s homily is brought to you by Vicks!” I know, “bad seminarian.”  How dare I even think of money when reflecting on one of the holy ones of the church, a martyr no less!  Maybe after preaching five Masses this past weekend that involved a cash appeal, I guess my head has found itself in a fundraising place.  As I’m beginning to see, it’s all part of the territory of becoming a priest.  When I told my sister that I was going to be doing the appeal for the Paulists this past weekend, she said, “Ahh, you’re a priest already!”…
February 1st, 2010
A few months ago, I was sitting with some of the young adults at our parish in Austin and I casually mentioned the name of Issac Hecker.  The response to that name was, “Who’s that?”  And initially the response took me off-guard because for the past three-and-a-half years, much of my conversation has centered around the founder of the Paulist Fathers. So when I preached this past weekend for the Paulist Appeal, I thought it would be a good opportunity to focus on Hecker and how his story relates to the conversion of St. Paul.  Because I seemed to get a good reception on the homily, it is printed below. It does cover some good history of the community that supports Busted Halo, The Paulists, but you
January 26th, 2010
The emotions involved in coming THIS CLOSE to meeting Bruce Springsteen.      
January 21st, 2010
On more than one occasion, I found myself utterly forgetting the patient’s name when praying with the patient. Somehow praying for “Buddy’s” recovery and for God’s presence in “Buddy’s” life in this time of trial seemed less… personal.
January 19th, 2010
Climbing "Mount Bond" was a challenge that I always lost but never stopped trying to conquer while growing up. The closest I got in my attempts were smoothly ordering a "Coca-Cola, two cherries, no ice" when going out to restaurants, my own underage version of the famous vodka martini... I know, I know, you only wish you could be THAT cool.
January 12th, 2010
There's no such thing as a normal life, Wyatt. There's just life." - Val Kilmer (as Doc Holiday), Tombstone
January 8th, 2010
I myself am not a fan of New Year's resolutions; I much prefer Lent when it comes to endeavors of personal improvement. For Catholics, the practice of sacrificing something of value for 40 days is like a New Year's resolution, except with teeth.
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