Busted Halo

Rebecca Gallo is walking the 480-mile pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago despite, or maybe because of, the doubts she has about faith. Journey with her along this ancient path.

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June 15th, 2012

Rebecca Gallo on the Camino.

I am due to arrive in Santiago on Saturday — a full three days ahead of schedule. I’m eager to get to my destination, but more excited about my early arrival because it means I can spend two nights at Casa do Raposito — a place of reflection for pilgrims who have just finished their Camino.

When I started the Camino 35 days ago, I didn’t know such a place even existed. I heard about it only thanks to someone I met on what I thought would be a terrible day.

I had stayed the previous night at a parish hostel in Berciamos. Sixty people sat at a long line of tables to share a community meal. After dinner, pilgrims from each country sang a song from their homeland. This took nearly an hour as we had 14 countries represented. Twenty pilgrims opted to join in the blessing and prayer offered in the meditation room before we went to bed. While there, we passed around a candle that had been through the hands of thousands of pilgrims before us. When it came to us, we could say whatever we wanted in whatever language, or say …

June 14th, 2012
Reflections on celebrating moments of national patriotism

20120613-230535.jpgA couple of weeks ago, as Britons and the world celebrated the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, I was smugly perplexed. I didn’t understand how a nation that prides itself on being so enlightened, so secular, and so civilized could buy into the hoopla surrounding royalty, monarchy, and rule by heredity. As a good American, and a native Bostonian, I know it is my duty to scorn all things royal, so I realized my views weren’t exactly without prejudice.

After reading and watching some of the coverage, the phenomenon became a bit clearer to me. It seems that those standing out in the chilly London rain to watch Elizabeth and her family float down the river aren’t celebrating her, per se, or even the monarchy itself, but instead taking pride in their nation and in an ancient institution that is called to live out a people’s collective values and present them to the world. Idolizing Elizabeth and her family is not a political statement, it seems, but a way to celebrate Great Britain and all that that nation has contributed to civilization.

Rallying around national leaders

In the United States, today is Flag Day, a minor holiday that …

June 13th, 2012

Wedding season is upon us once again. We’ve got four lined up this summer. Weddings always make me remember everything that went into our decision to get married. It was not simple and I had my share of harsh words with God. But in the end, we knew it was the path we were supposed to go down.

Ever since I was little I was always really open to becoming a nun or a sister. I had this very romantic image in my head of being in a cloister and praying all day or becoming a sister and living and working with the poor in some remote village in a far off land. I was ready for that life if God wanted it for me. This was not a hard lifestyle for me to imagine because I was not a boy-magnet in school and frankly, boys scared me. Of course I had my share of “falling in love” in high school and scribbling Mrs. So-and-so all over my notebook but I was always really nervous and intimidated to talk to boys. The idea of marrying a guy seemed a far-off reality when I could barely talk to one.

In my …

June 1st, 2012

[audio format="mp3" src='http://traffic.libsyn.com/bustedhalo/CorbinBleu2.mp3' width="300"]
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You may remember Corbin Bleu from the Emmy-award winning Disney Channel movie High School Musical alongside Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. The sequel, High School Musical 2, became the most-watched made-for-cable movie of all time, and the third installment broke opening weekend records in theaters and grossed a quarter billion dollars worldwide. Corbin Bleu has released two studio albums and won an NAACP Best New Artist award. He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Tony-winning Best Musical In the Heights, and now has taken on the role of a lifetime — Jesus — in the revival of the legendary rock musical Godspell.

Following are excerpts from the full audio interview, which you can play or download at the top or bottom of the page.

[Starting at 1:41]

Father Dave: Now, I’m sure everybody, almost, that talks to you asks you about the big success of “High School Musical,” but here on the Catholic Channel, and as a Catholic priest, I’d like to know — your faith is a big part of who you are, and even your career — if you read your blog entries, you’re always closing with a …

May 29th, 2012

“Don’t let your fears load your pack,” Rick said to me on our third day on the Camino. He’d read this advice on a Camino Forum, but admitted he didn’t follow it close enough. As we walked along, he decided to heed this advice and let go of his bedbug spray. Years ago the hostels along the Camino had a problem with bedbugs, but I’d read it had since been remedied. I hoped that was true. So did Rick.

It took me six days to get up the courage to leave my fears behind. At my hostel in Estella, I left a pair of flip flops, a paperback book, and a pair of rain covers for my shoes. Indeed, fear was what had me pack those things to begin with. The flip flops were packed after my sister’s warning about contracting foot fungus in the communal showers. The paperback was to combat potential boredom. The rain shoes were the hardest (and heaviest) to let go, but easier once experienced pilgrims told me all the ways to dry my shoes should they get wet. (Besides the fact that my mother had doused my hiking shoes in waterproofing spray before I left.)…

May 22nd, 2012

The trail marker was ambiguous. I thought it pointed to the mowed path off to our right. My new friend Michel thought it meant we were to stay on the paved road we were on. I recalled that my map indicated we’d be walking along a road for most of the day, so I listened to Michel, but was nervous we were going the wrong way. Walking through the Pyrenees with 22 pounds on my back, I didn’t want to have to backtrack.

“Is this the right way?” I asked God in my head.

“Just follow Michel. You’ll be fine.” God replied.

“Can’t you just show me another trail marker so I feel better?”

“Follow Michel,” he said. God often has to repeat things for me. I’m not the best at believing him the first time — or the fifth.

So I followed the Frenchman I’d met only an hour earlier. He had come up quickly behind me as I struggled up the mountain road. We greeted each other after which I thought he’d be on his way. But he slowed his pace to mine and we traded life stories. As I conversed with him in French, I thought of …

May 17th, 2012
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are faithful men who don’t shy away from talking about their beliefs. What does this mean for American religion?

President Barack Obama writes eloquently about his faith journey in The Audacity of Hope, describing Easter and Christmas visits to church, Chinese New Years spent at Buddhist temples, and time at Shinto shrines and ancient Hawaiian burial grounds. His multivalent childhood gave way to a deeper examination of faith when he lived in Chicago working for Catholic-funded nonprofits as a young community organizer. Finally, after struggling through an inner journey of doubt and disbelief, Obama writes that he:

was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized. It came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to His truth. (208)

Last week, Obama once again spoke about his faith, saying that it compelled him to take a stance that is perhaps outside the mainstream Christian canon, but nonetheless playing a role in his deliberations.

Prompted by his Catholic vice president’s comments on same-sex marriage during an interview on Meet the Press a few days prior, …

May 3rd, 2012

Living in Washington, D.C., the loud buzz of helicopters is a standard piece of the city’s soundscape, blending in with the traffic and sirens that stop silence dead. Earlier this year, when I read about various governments in the Arab world that had deployed armed security forces to ride around in helicopters and kill protestors and dissidents, that noise became a bit jarring. The image wouldn’t leave my mind. When I ran around the national mall, whenever I heard that loud hum I couldn’t help but think of those who were killed by thugs in the sky. I imagined what it would be like to experience something similar, and my eyes would dart around looking where I might hide. There was really nowhere to go.

Earlier this year, The Onion bitingly asked: Could the use of flying death robots be hurting America’s reputation worldwide? The video was of course referring to the use of drones by the U.S. Air Force and CIA in remote regions of the world.

Until now, the U.S. government has consistently denied using drones, remotely controlled aircraft used for surveillance and missile strikes even though it remains a known fact that they have been used since …

April 19th, 2012

Mitt Romney speaks during a debate in New Hampshire(CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

When he was running for president in 2007, Gov. Mitt Romney recognized that he would need Evangelical support were he to win the nomination. Then, like now, Evangelicals were suspicious of Romney for two reasons: his conservative credentials seemed less than genuine, and his Mormon faith is too far outside the mainstream.

Though there was only so much he could do to try to assuage Republican primary voters that he was indeed one of them, Romney thought he could make headway on the religious front by giving a Kennedy-esque speech about the role of religion in politics, tackling his Mormon faith head-on and appealing to the higher sensibilities of the American people.

So at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Romney sought to “address a topic which I believe is fundamental to America’s greatness: our religious liberty.” He said:

There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other …

April 18th, 2012

Spoiler Alert: This post assumes you have read The Hunger Games series and gives away parts of the story.

I totally jumped on The Hunger Games bandwagon. I was completely engrossed in this series. I’m pretty sure I read all three books in about four days. As I read the story, I felt excited that teenage girls would feel empowered by a strong woman character. In my head I made up lesson plans as to how I would teach this book. Katniss is a girl who keeps her family going despite the most terrible of odds. She is not held back by society’s view of her nor does she lend much attention to what others expect of her. She is fiercely loyal to those she loves and would do anything for them. But what I liked most of all about Katniss is that, in her head, she usually decides to do the wrong thing — run away, be cruel, kill someone. But when it actually comes time for her to act, she usually does the right thing — holds her tongue, faces the challenge, decides to show mercy, etc.

Despite all of these positive characteristics, at the end of the …

April 11th, 2012

Mass at a church in Cleveland, Ohio.(CNS photo/William Rieter)

One day Brandon and I made up our minds to run a marathon. If you knew us, this decision would have sent you into laughing hysterics because we are both the most un-athletic people we know. But we were both desperately out of shape and were firmly resolved to do this. We found a running group. They placed us with a coach. Slowly over the weeks, we ran more and more miles. It was horrible. Excruciating. I had never worked so hard physically. I was constantly sore and had little free time. I stopped eating things that I loved like McDonalds or frozen dinners. I had no idea about the theory behind running or the reasons for high knees, veggies and pasta, or changing our pace at different points. I just did what I was told at first then slowly learned more about it. Why it was important to eat carbs at certain times, or when to hydrate, or when it was best to consume sugar. I learned to love running. Not just physically, but in my head, also. I was in shape, eating right. And my body felt the best …

April 5th, 2012
Remembering the poor and marginalized when we're crunching numbers

Ron Swanson, the man’s man parks director played by Nick Offerman on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” is a libertarian who believes “child labor laws are ruining this country.” He describes government as “a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teat until they have sore, chapped nipples.”

Despite his extreme views, Swanson holds great admiration for his deputy, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler. Knope is the sunny antidote to Swanson’s anti-government rants; she believes that government is a force for good in the community, providing not only necessary services to residents of fictional Pawnee, Indiana, but also programs and resources that improve their lives. Swanson, of course, disagrees. (Watch highlights of Swanson’s anti-government rants here).

Swanson is a bit of a caricature, and I suspect even he doesn’t believe all of what he says, but the contrast between him and Knope offers a visual of the national debate over government. Though presidential politics continues to dominate the news cycle, another battle is shaping up in Congress, where House Republicans have presented a slash-and-burn budget proposal, seeking to privatize, cut, and minimize the role of government in the lives of US citizens. Not surprisingly, Catholic and Christian relief organizations …

April 2nd, 2012

My first ever homemade batch of hot cross buns© 2012 Phil Fox Rose

Every year, I bring hot cross buns to an Easter brunch gathering of family and friends. Sharing food has always been sacred to me, all the more so when it’s around a spiritual event. I don’t know why I started bringing hot cross buns. We didn’t do it when I was growing up; maybe it’s my British roots, but it just seems the thing to do. (Good Friday is the traditional day, but Sunday is when we gather.) This year, for the first time ever, I am making my own, inspired in part by a recent spirituality of bread baking workshop at my church. Based on the test batch, I think it will work out fine.

The hot cross bun is not complicated to make. At its simplest, it’s spiced bread. Flavor and ingredient-wise, its noteworthy for a few reasons. First, traditionally it’s made with currants, an ingredient unknown in America except in its fellow British baked good, the scone. Second, it sometimes includes bits of candied fruit — the same atrocity that afflicts fruitcake and makes it wildly unpopular. (I prefer mine without, if you hadn’t …

March 26th, 2012
Reaching out to a growing number of hungry people

Natalie Garcia, right, chooses food from the shelves with the help of a volunteer at the Sister Regis Food Cupboard in Rochester, N.Y. (CNS photo/Mike Crupi)

In the shadow of what was once a functioning residency for priests, a line forms toward a door. Word has spread by now, and everyone knows the day and time to be there. They also know what to expect to receive.

This scene is a familiar one every Friday in the Little Village neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. Donna Oborski, R.N., has taken on the health and needs of Our Lady of Tepeyac parish and surrounding neighborhoods since she assumed the role as parish nurse in 2009. The parish food pantry, which opened in 1995, has been growing steadily over the years. Feeling strongly about keeping the pantry open and growing, Oborski took over its operations when she came on staff. At the time, the pantry was serving, on average, eight people during each distribution day. Now, the line has grown to an average of 74 people. “I am proud that we now have ‘one stop shopping’ for the community,” Oborski says. “They can have food, diapers, formula, clothes, and we steer …

March 22nd, 2012
How candidates’ views on immigration reform are shaping up in this year’s election

People wave US flags and hold signs calling for action on immigration reform as President Barack Obama visits El Paso, Texas, in 2011. (CNS photo/Gael Gonzalez, Reuters)

The Republican Party may have a Latino problem on its hands. The remaining candidates seeking the party’s nomination have taken an unusually harsh tone regarding immigration, and the two Catholic candidates are at odds with their Church about the rights of migrant people. Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has moved to the far right on immigration, and Latino voters are responding by falling in line behind President Barack Obama. Understanding what the Catholic Church teaches on immigration, and how those teachings might influence crucial Latino communities, may give the GOP nominee a reason to reconsider the harsh rhetoric.

Romney dominated the Puerto Rico primary last week, trouncing Rick Santorum, his main rival, winning more than 80 percent of the vote and all 20 delegates. Romney benefitted from the support of Puerto Rico’s governor, and he tried to appeal to voters by coming out in favor of statehood with no preconditions. Santorum, who campaigned on the island, made a major gaffe when he said that he would support statehood for the US territory only if …

March 20th, 2012

A student serves meals at a ministry center in Oklahoma. (CNS photo/Dave Crenshaw, Eastern Oklahoma Catholic)

The other day I was buying some food from a food truck and I noticed a homeless man sitting by the truck playing his guitar. I bought some extra food to give him as I walked back to my car. As I stopped to give him the food and tell him to have a good night, he grabbed my hand and asked me to listen to his song. So I did. I sat next to him and listened to the love song he had written. And then he talked to me for some time about the lady the song is about. He didn’t look twice at the food and seemed to have forgotten about it by the time I headed home.

I forget sometimes that charity isn’t complicated. This man didn’t care too much about food. He was just really, really lonely. He was heartbroken and just wanted to chat about it. I can relate. I remember being in college and needing to talk to my friends for — I’m sure for them — agonizingly long periods of time about my latest heartache. This …

March 12th, 2012

Last year writer and brewing expert J. Wilson published Diary of a Part-Time Monk, which tells of his Lenten fast: subsisting on nothing but water and beer. Wilson had heard the legends of the Benedictine monks of Neudeck ob der Au, who were said to have developed a particular beer style — the doppelbock — that is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and calories, to sustain them through periods of Lenten fasting.

Wilson was sufficiently intrigued by this legend and he decided to embark on 46 days of beer-and-water for Lent. In the process, he lost nearly 26 pounds, and gained some significant insights into self-discipline, physical and mental rejuvenation, and plenty of media attention.

It goes without saying that such odd and extreme forms of fasting aren’t what the Church envisions for the observance of Lent. Anyone who embarks on a diet entirely free of protein and fiber for 46 days is inviting medical problems. It’s also very unlikely that the 16th century monks of Neudeck subsisted solely on beer and water; more likely they saw the rich beer as a helpful supplement during Lent, but probably not on strict fasting days. In the 16th century, fasting likely …

March 8th, 2012

Elizabeth Warren speaking at the Women in Finance symposium in 2010. (wikimedia commons) US Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder)

Radio provocateur and conservative ringleader Rush Limbaugh entered the national conversation around the Health and Human Services contraception mandate, taking the already heated rhetoric to a new low.

A Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, testified before Congress that she supported the HHS mandate and stated her desire for her school, a Jesuit institution, to provide coverage for contraception despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to artificial birth control. Limbaugh reacted to the testimony on his radio show.

Rightly and predictably, Limbaugh’s critics have assailed his comments as out-of-bounds and inappropriate. After several advertisers began pulling their revenue from his show, Limbaugh issued a half-hearted apology. President Obama called the student to offer his support.

In response to the debacle, Georgetown’s president, the lay Catholic John J. DeGioia, issued a letter condemning the heated rhetoric and calling for cooler minds without ceding ground on the debate. From the letter:

In our vibrant and diverse society, there always are important differences that need to be debated, with strong and legitimate beliefs held on all sides of challenging issues. The greatest …

March 7th, 2012

I am a workaholic. When I have a job to do I am almost obsessive about it. Especially working in education, there is just so much to be done. There are always so many things to figure out: how to better serve the students, how to better teach the students, how to better meet the students’ needs, how to better meet the families’ needs. In this line of work there is an endless amount of time and effort that could be put in. Each day it is hard for me to detach myself from my work and attach myself to the other important parts of my life.

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is check my work e-mail and then I’ll check it again right before I leave for work. Sometimes I find myself praying at night — Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with, shoot, I forgot to submit that announcement I need read in the morning. Should I get up and send an e-mail right now? No, it can wait. The Lord is with Thee, oh, I need to stop at the grocery store on my way into work to …

March 6th, 2012

fastingonsundays-flashA lot of people will tell you that when you give something up for Lent, you can take a “cheat day” on the Sundays of Lent.  ”Hogwash!” says Father Dave as he gets on his soapbox (his words). Good stuff.

The Busted Halo Show with Father Dave Dwyer is on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Sirius 159, and XM 117, Monday through Friday, 7:00pm to 10:00pm EST. Give us a call with your questions and comments: 1-888-3-CATHOLIC, or at bustedhalo@thecatholicchannel.org. Go to www.sirius.com orwww.xmradio.com to get subscription information.

Published on: Mar 11, 2011

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