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Singer-Songwriter Marie Miller on the ‘Saintly’ Inspiration Behind Her New EP

Marie Miller is a folk/pop singer-songwriter and multi-faceted artist and speaker who weaves together music, humor, and storytelling to convey God’s love for us.  She stopped by the show to talk with Father Dave about her new EP, “The Way of Love.”  

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Fatherly Advice: Focusing on the Eucharist During RCIA

A listener named Sara emails Father Dave a question of faith: “First of all, I have listened since 2006. I love you all. Now you may find this crazy but I have been thinking about becoming Catholic since then! I am concentrating on the Eucharist because I get completely overwhelmed by the rules. Is this a sin? I feel it keeps me from Jesus rather than closer. I am in RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults). I have a wonderful teacher. I probably would have come into the Church this past Easter but ran into an annulment problem.  So do you recommend me focusing on the Eucharist?”

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How to Find a Spiritual Director

Claire Dwyer, editor of spiritualdirection.com, discusses how to find a spiritual director.

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Is Booing the Other Team a Sin? 

A listener named Julianne writes to Father Dave with a question of faith.  “I’m a mom of two very active children who love playing and watching sports. Recently at a basketball game, my 11-year-old son turned to me and asked whether booing was a sin.

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Father James Martin Talks Comedians at the Vatican, Meeting With Pope Francis, and More

Friend of the show, Jesuit priest, author, and editor-at-large of America Media Father James Martin stopped by Father Dave’s radio studio to discuss his recent meeting with Pope Francis, what it was like being at the Vatican with a number of famous comedians, and more. 

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John Stansifer on the Life, Military Service and Sacrifice of Father Emil Kapaun

Father Dave welcomes author John Stansifer to the show to talk about Father Emil Kapaun, the most decorated chaplain in U.S. military history. John has written over 20 screenplays, specializing in biopics and historical true stories. He spent six years in the Kansas Army National Guard as a mortar gunner and served alongside Vietnam War veterans, whose stories further developed his interest in military history. His latest book is called “No Bullet Got Me Yet: The Relentless Faith of Father Kapaun.” 

“No Bullet Got Me Yet” is a collection of letters written by, to and about Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest and army chaplain in the Korean War. Archived by the Father Kapaun Guild, the letters comprise the record of Kapaun’s heroism in the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea in the summer of 1950, and the sacrificial service he provided fellow POWs after he was captured by Chinese troops in November. He died at POW Camp in 1951 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2013.

RELATED: Spirituality and the Soldier

Father Kapaun, John explains, had been a priest for about a year when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, and joined the Chaplains Corp in the aftermath. He served as an auxiliary chaplain at a military airbase in the United States for two years, and after D-Day, June 6, 1944, decided he wanted to serve overseas alongside American soldiers. He was sent to the China-Burma-India Theater of the war in 1945. 

Father Dave asks, “What do you think, having investigated his life, was so compelling for him about serving in the military as a chaplain? Why was he so attracted to that?”

“He felt like he needed to protect his boys in a spiritual way,” John responds. “And he was aware of martyrs and proto-martyrs, and he had been training for the Church since age 7, so it was obvious where his life was going to lead.”

After World War II, Father Kapaun obtained a master’s degree in education at Catholic University before rejoining the military as a chaplain in 1948. He was eventually sent to Korea in 1950. “It was the rise of communism that spurred him on,” John says, “He thought the Nazis were nothing. He thought that communism was going to be the bigger threat. Turns out he was correct.”

RELATED: Learning About Grace and Thanksgiving From a Veteran

John goes on to discuss Father Kapaun’s capture, heroics, and time in a Chinese POW camp in the winter of 1951 before his death. “The survivors that knew him,” Father Dave comments, “describe him as a joyful, faithful presence during those dark times.”  

“He never stopped.” John says. “He got up before dawn and scrounged for food — never for himself, it was only to share with other people.  He constantly offered prayers, helped other POWs with their wounds and sickness. He was tireless with it.”

Father Dave asks John about the title of the book, “No Bullet Got Me Yet.” 

“Father Kapaun was a frequent letter writer,” John says, “and in one of his last letters Father Kapaun actually wrote- ‘No bullet got me yet, although machine gunners sprayed us with bullets, but the prayers of our loved ones helped us escape.’ When I heard that phrase, ‘no bullet got me yet,’ I knew that was the title of the book — that represents to me a philosophy that you keep the faith until your enemy kills you, and you keep going until you achieve your goal.”

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Carlos Whittaker on the Fight Against Racism

Popular Christian speaker and worship leader, Carlos Whittaker discusses his book “Enter Wild: Exchange a Mundane Faith Life for Life With an Uncontainable God and shares how he is working to heal racial injustice in our country.

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Father Dave Answers Questions on Priesthood from ‘Maternity Leave Matt’

While Busted Halo Show producer Krista LePard is out on maternity leave, our temporary producer, “Maternity Leave Matt” has some questions of faith for Father Dave:

Matt asks, “When you became a priest, did you stop being Dave Dwyer and become [solely] Father Dave? Do your friends or family call you Father Dave or are you still Dave to some people?”

Father Dave first answers this question from a broader theological perspective. “The Sacrament of Holy Orders is for a deacon, a priest and a bishop; you’d have Holy Orders for all those three. We believe that, like the Sacrament of Baptism, it does make an indelible change.  So we would call it an ontological, meaning at the very essence of a human person, an ontological change, which cannot be undone or reversed.”

WATCH: Holy Orders in 2 Minutes

In other words, even if someone leaves the priesthood or if a layperson decides to leave the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Baptism cannot be undone.  Father Dave adds, “The sacraments leave an indelible mark on the souls when we talk about Baptism and when we talk about Holy Orders; it’s an ontological change. So in some ways, yes, I ceased being the prior version of me and I’m now a different me.”

Father Dave is still, however, Dave to good friends and family members.  “In fact, my sister and my mother were really the only people in my adult life who called me David, because that’s leftover from back when we were all much younger.”

Matt’s second question is, “What brought you to be a Paulist – and what’s the difference between Paulists, Jesuits, etc.?”

Father Dave responds, “The jargony word we would use in the Catholic Church is called “charism:” Each of the different orders have a slightly different way, mission, approach, origin story, and all that kind of stuff. In the same way that you might say, ‘What’s the difference between all the superheroes?’ They all like fight crime and save the world, but they each get a little different origin story and a different uniform, and, you know, that kind of thing.”

RELATED: What Is a Charism? Understanding Our Holy Traditions

Father Dave gives a few examples of some of the different orders but reminds us that these are broad brush strokes.  Franciscans are living out the vow of poverty, Dominicans are the Order of Preachers and tend to be fairly academic and intellectual, and Jesuits usually work in universities and tend to also hold other roles, like professors, physicists, or astronomers, in addition to priesthood.   

The Paulist Fathers are missionaries who take a vow of stability, meaning they’re going to stay in one place and stay connected and rooted there. Father Dave was drawn to the Paulists because of their reputation of working in media.  He’d been working in television and radio and wanted to continue doing that when he became a priest. 

Father Dave reiterates, “The charisms are really different ways in which people can serve the Church; different ways in which people can live out their Catholic faith. In the same way that Catholics who have not joined a religious community might prefer parish A over parish B, because parish A has a lot going on with social justice and serving the poor and parish B has a great music ministry and a Latin Mass – there are always going to be different things that are under the big tent of Catholicism that will connect or be more attractive to someone, whether you’re talking about just a Catholic in the pews, or someone that’s living out there life.”

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Siblings of Jesus? Unforgivable Sin? Father Dave Answers Questions From the Gospel of Mark

At the start of a recent homily, Father Dave addresses two things from the Gospel of St. Mark that Catholics and non-Catholics alike often have questions about.  

In the Gospel of St. Mark and in a few other places, we hear about Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Father Dave explains that those who translated Gospel texts from the original languages wanted to keep  faithful to the language. In the culture of Jesus’ time, immediate and extended family were considered almost the same, to the degree that they would actually use the same word for “brothers” and “cousins” – two family members that we would have distinct names for in today’s culture.  

RELATED: Learning About Sacrifice, With the Help of St. Mark

The Greek term Adelphos used The by St. Mark in his Gospel is an ambiguous word that could mean either brother or cousin. This passage could actually say that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters, or it could refer to cousins or more distant relatives, common parlance in Near East family descriptions. 

“So we’re left with a big shrug, right?” Father Dave says. “Which is why many of our Christian brothers and sisters would adhere to the fact that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth, but not necessarily after that, whereas we, from our sacred Tradition, have always believed and always taught that Mary is blessed Mary ever virgin, and that she did not give birth to any more children. So for us, our faith always comes with a balance of Scripture and Tradition. And tradition isn’t simply, well, we’ve always thought that so I guess it must be right. It is, we believe, Holy Spirit- inspired sacred Tradition, in a similar way, that the Scriptures are inspired.  So for us, if we take those two together, we know that we must be talking about cousins, and not literal brothers and sisters here.”

The second question Father Dave answers comes from the Gospel of St. Mark when Jesus refers to the ‘Unforgivable Sin.’’  He begins with Jesus’ own words, “All sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness.”  

LISTEN: Are Any Sins ‘Unforgivable’?

“What does that mean?” Father Dave asks.

Father Dave notes that St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical about the Holy Spirit specifically addresses this concept.

“Scholars and official Church teachings have been unable to really pinpoint exactly what Jesus means by that. St. Pope John Paul II said that it really emanates from God’s gift of free will –that God desires that all be saved and offers forgiveness. But he doesn’t ever force it down our throats. So in that sense, John Paul II defined this ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ as a complete, utter rejection of God with our own free will. So it’s not that God can’t, but that God won’t force it on us.” 

Father Dave goes on, “So is there an unforgivable sin? Is there some secret list somewhere, like the secret menu at a fast food place? No. There’s not something that you can utter by mistake or even intentionally that will cast you away from God if you seek God’s forgiveness, which is what we’re encouraged to do all the time. There’s also not one particular thing you or I could ever do, that God wouldn’t forgive if we asked.”

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Three Lessons From Lydia

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter. Father Dave reflects on women in the Church and specifically spotlights Lydia from today’s readings. Lydia reminds us how to worship God, practice humility, and spread hospitality while living our faith. Preached at St. Paul the Apostle Church, New York City, NY on 05-06-24

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