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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

February 12th, 2013
A look at the origins and symbolism of the celebration of love on February 14

Question: So what’s up with Valentine’s Day? I’ve been dating my girlfriend for two years, and she wants me to go all out with gifts and an expensive night out, but it feels phony. Wouldn’t a box of chocolates be ok? I never knew what to do on Valentine’s Day even when we first started dating. What does the church say about Valentine’s Day, and why does it matter?
Answer: …I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day either. I love romance as much as the next girl, but if you are married or dating, it can feel like a Hallmark holiday. When I was single, it felt like a reminder that I was not in a couple, even if other days I was totally OK with my status. But before we dismiss it entirely, we should understand

February 12th, 2013

Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins, has long been one of my favorite days of the year. Mostly because, for all of my childhood, the day before Ash Wednesday (when I went to church and had some weird, dark substance smudged on my forehead) was dedicated to eating delicious, fattening food.
On Fat Tuesday the pink- and white-speckled countertops in the kitchen I grew up in were loaded with my (unhealthy) favorites: Spinach dip loaded with fresh artichokes and spinach, teeming with globs of sour cream, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Rotel dip with ground beef swimming in canned Campbell’s cheese soup and Rotel diced tomatoes. Red velvet cookies topped with syrupy, sweet cream cheese frosting. Hot wings…

February 11th, 2013
A reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation

My first reaction? I looked at the date to make sure it was not April 1. My second reaction? Good for him.

February 11th, 2013

I set out not long ago in a search of the way of traveling what Jesus calls “real life” or “life to the fullest.” This nomadic expedition toward a life of joy (which I describe in my book Holy Nomad…) led me to my own backyard, where I stumbled onto the divine teaching of an apple tree. As Lent approaches, here in the belly of a lifeless, ashen, Midwestern February, I wish for the world to blossom. The start of the Lenten season is always marked by my anticipation of the world’s slow emergence from hibernation, when the russets of winter lawns yield to lush green blankets of grass, the naked trees sprout their first buds of growth, folks wear brighter smiles and move at a quicker pace.
The apple tree in my backyard

February 6th, 2013

It’s that time of the year again. Most Christians have to face an important decision in their lives — what to “give up” for Lent. Last year I was invited to a Facebook page where people were posting the all-important decision they had made. I was fascinated that the trend hasn’t changed: no sweets and no coffee still are tops. There’s a new “tech” trend: no Internet. I couldn’t help posting on my own Facebook page, “So we’ll have a lot of unsweetened, decaffeinated, and dis-Interneted Christians on the planet again. But will we love each other any more for it?” To which my sister-in-law promptly commented, “No, it will make us grumpier! If the point of Lent was for us to love each other more… it would be 40 days of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol!”

February 4th, 2013

You’ll see a lot of young adults in Church on Ash Wednesday. Let Busted Halo® help you keep them coming back!
As young adults make a turn in their spiritual journey toward your church on Ash Wednesday, download, print, and share this invitation to deepen their relationship with God. We’ve made a color and black and white version available below for downloading. You can personalize the sheet with your parish information at the bottom and invite people to volunteer to distribute it on Ash Wednesday. Busted Halo® is an online ministry. Your parish is the place they can turn to for an in-person… encounter with their faith.
Don’t miss this opportunity for New Evangelization!

February 1st, 2013
Download for your desktop to remember important dates in February

As a thank you for being a part of the Busted Halo® community, we’re offering our users something special today.
This is the first in what will be a continuing series of monthly wallpapers featuring a thematic image of the Church season along with important dates to keep in mind for the coming month.
Downloads are available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices.
With Ash Wednesday just 13 days away, we thought the Lenten image of the desert was the obvious choice to begin this series. Remember, Lent is coming.
Download the files directly below, mark your calendar, and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.
Download:…

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