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March 27th, 2013

Lent is a time many use as a second chance for those New Year’s resolutions they have already broken. It’s a time for cleansing and making new. This year I wanted to make up for an Advent that was less peaceful and prayerful than I had planned. I had hoped to give more time to reading, praying with the daily Mass readings and reflecting on the year. Unfortunately the busyness of the holidays got the better of me and snatched away that hoped-for time.

March 27th, 2013

As a native Argentinean Catholic, it is difficult to describe my euphoria upon learning that our new pope is from Argentina. As a Jesuit-educated Catholic, I was doubly excited! On the day of the announcement, the junior high students in my classroom eagerly awaited the new pope’s arrival on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square. I smiled at their enthusiasm and glanced hopefully at the poll asking students who our new pope would be, taken less than an hour earlier when white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel. The majority of my students had voted for Europe or Africa. The lone vote under South America was my own, reflecting my silent prayer for a pope from Latin America, where the majority of the world’s…

March 26th, 2013

Every year Catholics commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection in worship. On Holy Thursday we remember the Last Supper and the gift Jesus gave to us in the Holy Eucharist. The Good Friday liturgy recalls his arrest, crucifixion and death, and the Vigil and Easter Sunday liturgies celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Personally, we may feel a bit removed from the actual events of Holy Week because we are participating in them liturgically (in worship), and not historically. However, our own personal experiences may help us understand what the people with Jesus were going through as they witnessed these events.
This became very apparent to me a few months ago when my mother died. She had been on a ventilator for…

March 25th, 2013
A Lenten reflection on "Roll Away Your Stone"

I don’t pretend to know what “Roll Away Your Stone” is about. Mumford & Sons, the writers and performers of the song, apparently don’t know what the song is about themselves. But when the tune rolled up on my Pandora station the other day, I found myself jerked out of my half-listening state to sudden alertness by this line: “Stars, hide your fires.” I had reason. I am currently teaching Macbeth to my college freshmen, and this line is lifted straight from Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The line occurs in Act 1, Scene 4, when Macbeth, his ambition roused by a prophecy that he will one day be king, reflects on the obstacles in his path. The Scotsman’s thoughts have already turned toward…

March 24th, 2013
A guide to the three-day celebration of the Church

The Triduum (TRIH-du-um) is the time of the Church year when we celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This three-day celebration begins with the Holy Thursday Mass and continues on Good Friday with the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. At the end of this liturgy, we leave the church in silence, waiting to celebrate the glory of our Lord’s resurrection. Then, on Saturday at sun down, the Church re-gathers to celebrate the final, and most grand, moment of the Triduum: the Resurrection of our Lord.
The Triduum is somewhat like a three-day prayer marathon, and if you are a novice there may be some rituals that are unfamiliar to you. This guide will help you walk and pray through the liturgies…

March 20th, 2013

A week in and it’s clear: Pope Francis is a man of surprises.
It started minutes after his election to the See of Saint Peter. He appeared on the loggia in a simple white cassock to greet the hundreds of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Before blessing the faithful and the merely curious in the traditional formula, Francis asked the crowd to bless him first in silent prayer. And for 30 seconds, they and hundreds of millions of people watching throughout the world joined in silent prayer for the new Holy Father.
That moment evidenced that Francis is clearly just that: holy. His closeness with all of us during these days of great trial and possibility is so clear. His predecessor, Benedict the Meek,…

March 19th, 2013
6 ways for Pope Francis and the rest of us to address transitions in a new career

No cardinal ever says he wants to be the pope — and it’s not because of his humility. Being pope is a backbreaking, overwhelming task. The room where the new pope vests in the papal robes is called the “Room of Tears” for a reason!
Sometimes we’re all afraid of responsibility, and young adults know this all too well. From your first job to that first big promotion, responsibility on the job can be daunting and filled with daily pressures. And often, while the prospect of a new profession or promotion is exciting, transitions are tough.
So, here is some unsolicited advice from my new book, Loving Work, to help Pope Francis prayerfully make his way through the papal transition — and hopefully some…

March 13th, 2013

Celebrations have spread throughout the world with the election of Pope Francis. Amidst all of the festivities and news coverage, you might be wondering, What does he do now?

March 11th, 2013

Spring break is coming up, and for many young adults that means time away from hectic work/school schedules and a much-needed week of rest and relaxation. Whether you’re traveling somewhere tropical, hitting the ski slopes, or simply staying home, don’t forget your faith! We are in the midst of Lent, after all — a season dedicated to spiritual reflection and deepening our relationship with God. Here are a few tips for nurturing your faith while on vacation (or staycation):

Help out around the community
Yes, you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on an all-inclusive resort for spring break. But what’s one less day poolside with a piña colada when you can be helping others who may not have the means or the…

March 8th, 2013
A millennial perspective on this quiet man's papacy

As the world focuses in on Rome for the papal conclave, many are discussing what qualities are needed in the next Successor of Saint Peter. Our televisions are filled with pundits — some knowledgeable, others not — discussing the needs of the Church as we move into the future.
But it seems to me that there has been a voice missing in this conversation: that of the young.
This is unfortunate, because implicit in many of these discussions is the notion that Benedict’s papacy was somehow a failure.
I think many of us would disagree. And we should know, because perhaps more than anyone, our lives were affected by Joseph Ratzinger. We were too young to be part of the “JP II (John Paul II) generation.”…

March 7th, 2013

Exactly one year ago, I was in the middle of a 40-day Facebook fast for Lent. Naturally, I found a new obsession: compulsively checking my email. It was the final step in a long process. The test was taken, websites combed over, e-applications submitted, and emails with an “.edu” extension opened immediately. Now, it was time to decide where to go to graduate school.
I did the “safe” thing and applied to a lot of schools (eight, in fact). I wasn’t sure if the admissions staff would buy my story: Theology and psychology undergrad major who taught English for three years, worked for an economics department for two, and then decided to pursue … public health? Of course, it all made sense to me. Was it going to…

March 5th, 2013

Planning for spring break is a big… deal – beach or ski trip? All-inclusive resort or local hostel accommodations? Hurricane relief work or volunteering at a local shelter? Bet you didn’t see that last one coming.
For the 2-1/2 years that I have been in college, it has always been a goal of mine to participate in a service project. At Fordham University, where I’m a student, one group that offers such trips is Global Outreach (GO!), a cultural immersion and service program that facilitates students learning about issues of injustice around the country and the world. Teams of students are sent out every winter, spring and summer break to work with 

March 5th, 2013

We had wanted to include the start date for the papal conclave on this one, but the Cardinals are taking their sweet time arriving in Rome and setting a date for the election of a new pope.
However, with the conclave in mind, we did decide on a Sistine Chapel theme this month. The Creation of Man…‘s iconic hands seem appropriate since the Cardinals will not only be seated under them, but also be looking for guidance from the Holy Spirit in their decision, much as Adam in the painting is having life breathed into him by God. Likewise, the end of the month finds us celebrating Easter and new life, as well as God’s giving of another gift to us — his son.
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen

February 27th, 2013
Download and distribute our free Survival PDF to share with the high school grads you know

The next few months are anxiety-filled times not only for students but for parents and high school educators as well, as they begin finding out about college acceptances, financial aid packages, and everything else surrounding the move from high school to college. As the authors of a book about how to make a smooth transition to college life, we have become intimately aware of how stressful and exciting (and all the emotions in between) these next few months can be.
When The Freshman Survival Guide was first published in April 2011, we were confident that — after years of research and feedback from the online versions we’d posted on Busted Halo — the information, insights, advice and real-world…

February 25th, 2013

When I was growing up, the divide between Catholics and Protestants seemed greater than it does now. I’m not sure the word “ecumenical” had even been invented yet. But be that as it may, I remember being baffled by my Catholic friends, who on regular school days seemed, well — regular. But drive by a church, and there was this sudden flurry of unexplained activity, which I thought might denote some scratching but which turned out to be my friends crossing themselves. I hadn’t a clue what that meant. I think I’d heard the name “Jesus” by then, maybe at 11 years old, but I certainly had no real idea who he was or that he was to play such an enormous part in my life when I became an adult.
Lent was another occasion…

February 21st, 2013
Sit out the papal succession hype and stay focused on your own personal faith

Copies of the February 11 Italian edition of the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper on a news stand near the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Every day when I wake up, I fumble for my phone right from bed so I can check The New York Times and get a grip on reality. When I woke up last week and saw that the pope was resigning, I thought I’d lost that grip. Everything I thought I knew about Catholicism — where tradition is tradition is tradition — was upended.

It didn’t take long to tumble down the endless chute that is the papal succession obsession. What did it mean that the pope would resign at such a tumultuous point? Who would be the next pope? What country would he be from? What kind of changes would he make? …

February 19th, 2013

Where would you want the love of your life to take you on a romantic getaway? Hawaii? Paris? Camping? Did you ever wonder what God’s idea of a romantic getaway is? One thing is for sure — it is not a cruise. No, God wants to take you to the… desert!
The Hebrew word for desert, midbar, has significance beyond the images of isolation, barrenness and death that we conjure up when we hear it. The root word is dabar, which means word. So, the literal meaning of desert in Hebrew is the place of the word…, making the desert a place of encounter, communication, relationship; a place where one hears the voice of God. This sums up the experience of the Israelites in the book of Exodus in company with God — in the desert.

February 18th, 2013

Traditionally, Lent was a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter, during which Christians practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying and almsgiving to strip away all that is unnecessary and become more mindful of their ultimate dependence on God. Let’s recapture the true meaning of Lent in ways that are actually relevant to your life. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

February 17th, 2013
The results are in!

You sent us your ash photos and you voted for your favorites!

So, after 112 photos and hundreds of votes, without further ado, check out the winning 2013 Best Ash, as voted by you, and a slide show of the other prize categories awarded by the editors of Busted Halo.

February 12th, 2013
Three steps for Catholics returning to the Church after being away

I often run into people who, upon finding out that I’m a lay minister in the Catholic Church, inform me that they’ve been away from church for some time. Many aren’t angry with the church (though some are and often have good reason for being so!), rather they’ve simply fallen out of practice. Many tell me that they’d really like to return but they’re “afraid the roof will cave in.” It can be quite anxiety provoking to come back to church. Who knows what kind of feelings this might stir up? The truth is that relief,… not anxiety, is the central emotion that many people feel upon “coming home” to the Catholic Church.
But how does one “come home”? Do you need a formal invitation? Is there a need to announce

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