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August 22nd, 2014
Why racism and police brutality are right to life issues

Does black life matter? Once again our country is at a crossroads with its “unfinished business” of race relations. Within the past few months, headlines have described the stories of several unarmed black men killed by police. Either through blog comments, or in regular discussions, the opinions of who was at fault, usually differs depending on the race of the individual speaking. Now, I don’t want to put everyone into general categories, because not all black people think the same way and not all white people think the same way, either, but for the sake of brevity in this article, I will use generalities.
I’m writing through the lens of a young adult black male from New Orleans, Louisiana. My city’s…

August 21st, 2014

FXX begins running a marathon of every Simpsons episode ever today for the next 12 days, prepping us all for Simpsons World in October (an exhaustive app/portal allowing users the ability to watch all 552 episodes from all 25 seasons of the show whenever they want). We decided to take this opportunity to rewatch, remember and list below our favorite spiritual (mmm…sacrilicious…) moments of our favorite animated series. Please feel free to add your own favorite Springfield spiritual moments in the comments below.

#10 – Bar & Church People Switch Places During The Apocalypse (The Simpsons Movie)…
The Simpsons has long poked fun at religious types and end-of-the-world scenarios, so nothing

August 13th, 2014
A reflection on Robin Williams' suicide and the disease of clinical depression

Robin Williams made the whole world laugh, and he died of sadness, how can that be true? I mean, he was the psychologist who healed Good Will Hunting. He was Patch Adams,… the doctor who brought laughter to sick beds. He brought humanity to Vietnam. How could he, of all people, take his own life? This is the unspoken irony beneath all the tributes pouring out at the sad news of the death of this unique, talented, and gifted man who inspired so many.
Robin Williams talked and joked about his struggles with addictions, with sobriety, with heart disease, and with his depression. We hoped that he was victorious over them all. If the report of his suicide is to be believed, apparently that was not true. I am a clinical psychologist

August 12th, 2014

It’s that time of year again — back to school! You might be (or know) a college freshman, junior, or grad student. Even if you don’t fall into one of those categories, you might be experiencing your own moments of back-to-school stress and transition. Busted Halo® has compiled a care package of resources just for you! Who doesn’t love receiving a care package? Explore what’s inside by clicking the icons below. We hope you can put these items to good use. And happy back-to-school season!

 
Featured in Busted Halo’s Dorm Room Care Package:
 
“Foods to Fight Back-to-School Stress” by Alexandra Horne
“Back to College: What To Pack and What Not TO Pack”…

August 11th, 2014
Busted Halo® says goodbye to Fr. Steve and sends him off with a list of our favorite Fr. Steve moments!

For the past two years, the readers of BustedHalo.com and the listeners of The Busted Halo Cast podcast and “The Busted Halo® Show” on Sirius XM Radio have been blessed by the ministry of Fr. Steven Bell, CSP. Later this month, Fr. Steve will be leaving the Busted Halo® team and begin sharing his many gifts with the more than 50,000 students at Ohio State University, where the Paulist Fathers have a vibrant campus ministry outreach.
We here at Busted Halo® have been so very thankful for the pastoral care that Fr. Steve brought to readers and listeners through his many articles, videos, virtual retreats, podcasts, and many segments on The Busted Halo® Show. He shared a passion for helping others deepen their…

August 6th, 2014
Where to go for a relaxing, spiritual vacation

Whether you’re on a mad dash to plan a vacation before summer ends or you need an escape from the stress of your daily life, we have some places to go where you can recharge physically, mentally and spiritually. We’ve picked out our top 10 Catholic sites to visit (nine in the United States and one in Canada). Add the one closest to your vacation destination into your itinerary, or, if you live nearby, just plan a day trip, or a long weekend. These places offer breathtaking art and architecture, and inspirational histories, along with their obvious holiness. They are great places to bring the family or to take a solo pilgrimage.
West
Shrine of Saint Therese (Juneau, Alaska)
In these modern times, when our lives are…

August 1st, 2014

Although some schools and universities still begin their school year in September, most students and teachers out there find themselves a little bit melancholy when August rolls around, signally imminent “Back to School” days and their waning freedom. So this month we provide you a tranquil image (St. Peter’s Church bell tower in Perugia, Italy) to keep you calm during your last few weeks of summer vacation. The Transfiguration and the Assumption are the big holy days of this month, of course.
Download the August 2014 Wallpaper:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · Mobile · Facebook
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen…

July 30th, 2014

Anyone audacious enough to claim a Christian response to the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrant children at the United States’ southern border should, at the very least, do several things.
First, they should acknowledge they do not and cannot possibly speak for all Christians. They should also admit to what is most likely a grossly incomplete grasp of the myriad political, social and cultural contexts of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central American countries from which many immigrants are coming. Finally, they should concede what is probably a very limited understanding of U.S. immigration policy.
With all that in mind, I will say that as someone who aspires to Christianity, I have…

July 30th, 2014

“If you build it, he will come.”
This is perhaps the most famous line of the movie Field of Dreams, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. With summer upon us and America’s favorite pastime in full swing, I have been reflecting on the movie’s deeper meaning for my spiritual life today.
Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer, hears a voice in his cornfield: “If you build it, he will come.” Ray has a vision of a baseball field on his farm that will host the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other Chicago White Sox players who were banned from baseball in 1919 after throwing the World Series. Despite nearly losing his farm, Ray goes ahead and builds the baseball field. He receives other messages that…

July 24th, 2014

Are you overwhelmed planning your annual summer vacation? We’ve narrowed down the list of places to visit to the best spots in the U.S. of A. with saintly names. Take your family somewhere new and exciting, but make it a learning experience too! These places have loads of history, as well as good eats and fun activities.

St. Louis, Missouri 
The city was named for Louis IX of France, the only canonized king of France. In fact, many other places are named for him in addition to this “Gateway to the West.” Louis IX thought of himself as the “lieutenant of God on earth” and died during his second crusade. If you visit the city, you certainly will find plenty to do. For a spiritual adventure, visit the Black Madonna…

July 23rd, 2014

Last summer, I spent a month interning as a medical translator for migrant farmworkers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It wasn’t the typical summer vacation, and there were some challenging moments. I don’t have any illusions that I changed the world or made a big impact, but I learned a lot about what it means to be human.
As a bit of historical background, during World War II, the United States established the Bracero Program, which brought Mexican farmworkers to replace the U.S. farmers who had gone to war. This system of importing labor from nearby countries evolved and became institutionalized; farms came to depend on it. However, with stricter regulations on immigration and growing nationalist…

July 22nd, 2014

Sometimes the most simple and repetitive moments can lead to something extraordinary. I had volunteered at the St. John of the Cross garage sale for many years, and had never thought about the impact that my volunteering might be having on others. A sunny Saturday in 2004 was when I met Lynda, a woman who would become like a grandmother to me.
The St. John of the Cross School transforms one person’s unwanted item into another’s treasures. A math classroom becomes a jewelry store. A history classroom becomes an art gallery, and so on. About 200 volunteers work hard for a whole week before the garage sale even begins, making the necessary preparations. People drop off their unwanted items at the door, and volunteers…

July 21st, 2014

A few years ago, I moved to Peru to work as a teacher with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). Each year, the school where I taught picked a tema trasversal, or transversal theme, toward which the entire academic community would strive.
I like the idea of naming a broad idea that encapsulates a particular season of life. When I consider my own tema trasversal for the year and a half I spent in Peru, I consistently arrive at “presence.” It arose almost every day during my time with JVC, rearing its head in everything from the books I read to the retreats I attended and the community activities in which I participated.
Why presence was so important is probably not mysterious. Service programs take all kinds, but volunteers…

July 18th, 2014
How volunteering provided clarity for my career

Stacking mountains of canned goods might be considered more of a backbreaking activity than a life-changing one. I was not looking for “life-changing” when I volunteered at my parish food pantry in Chicago a few years ago. I had prayed that getting lost in the canned goods would provide some distraction while I figured out my career path.
I signed on for a four-hour volunteer commitment each week. The first day I arrived at the pantry, I was not sure what to expect. Volunteering in a food pantry or a homeless shelter is not an activity I did with my youth group or even as an undergrad in college. Social justice work was what other people did while I was busy pursuing a career in journalism. Through all of my 20s, I was…

July 17th, 2014
A guide for building a culture of encounter

Have you spent time volunteering or on a service trip? Did the experience excite, affirm or even challenge you? Use our virtual retreat to help you reflect on your experience and take some next steps toward building a better world. Whether you volunteered on your own or with a group, this retreat is for you. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a list of additional resources to get you motivated to volunteer again.

Click either image to open or download the 2-page PDF.

Click either image to open or download the 2-page PDF.…

Getting Motivated
Listen to real stories that contribute to a “culture of encounter”:

StoryCorps: “If you need me to hold your hand, I’m there”
StoryCorps: “I guess it’s my turn

July 16th, 2014

The summer entering my sophomore year of high school was a bittersweet one. I was transferring from my public high school to the Catholic one in the area. I was mad, but wanted to cherish the summer with my neighborhood friends. In order to graduate from St. Thomas, I had to complete 60 hours of community service, and I decided to get it out of the way that summer.
There was a farm down the street from my house which I started volunteering at three days a week. It was a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm — this means that through funding and volunteer work from the community, we were able to enjoy fresh veggies all growing season. I thought, and still think, that this is a spectacular concept. CSAs teach us the importance…

July 15th, 2014

I applied to become the leader of my school’s Global Outreach (GO!) project to Quito, Ecuador, on a whim — a whim that took into account neither the fact that I would be responsible for the lives of nine other people in a foreign country, nor any concern that I had never even traveled outside of the state without parental assistance. This whim, however, was connected to an intense desire to serve. The added bonus being the opportunity to help the people in whose culture I had been raised.
As I would later share with my guinea pigs (the endearing title I gave to my team), though I was not born there, Ecuador had always been my motherland. I grew up with the my mother’s stories of living with papito Nicanor in the farmlands…

July 14th, 2014

It’s summertime! That means beaches,
barbecues,
long-awaited vacations and …
volunteering?
We already know all the things that make summer so wonderful, but this year, why not add something new to that list?
Don’t know where to start?
 
Here are five easy ways to find your volunteering niche this summer:

Clean House and Take Action

Go through your pantry and fill a box with nonperishable goods that you could do without. Summer is actually the time of year when food pantry activity is at its highest, since children don’t have access to school lunch and breakfast programs. Now, instead of just dropping the box off at your local food pantry, schedule time to volunteer. There are plenty…

July 10th, 2014
A reflection on Peter denying Jesus and the modern-day dilemma of identifying as a Catholic

I’m Italian. When this fact comes up, and people respond, “Ohhhh, you’re Italian?” I’m never quite sure what will follow. But usually, it’s something like, “Your mom must be a great cook!” What can I say? It’s true. She makes hundreds of meatballs on her meatball-making day, and they are a-mazing. Generally, the reactions I get to being Italian are favorable, a far cry from what Italian immigrants faced in the past, during times wrought with ethnic discrimination.
However, there are also parts of my identity that are important to me, but not always seen favorably by others. This has been my experience as a Catholic.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with Catholicism, I’ll admit. I grew…

July 9th, 2014

This is a hard article for me to write. It’s about one of the worst things I’ve ever done, or not done, actually. In advance, I want to tell the mother in the story that I’m sorry for being too scared. I’m sorry for being too selfish. I’m sorry for who you lost.
When I was in high school, often I was afraid to rock the boat. I didn’t want to make waves or make anyone mad. So when I heard a girl in one of my classes quietly saying that she was pregnant, I was caught. I knew what I should do, but that didn’t make it appealing.
I am pro-life, in theory at least. But like many people, when I have to sacrifice for my convictions, often I turn away. I was unsure what to say because I hadn’t…

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