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January 4th, 2013

When I came into the Catholic Church ten years ago, there were a number of things I was a bit unclear about, including: the Pope, the Council of Trent, when exactly to kneel with everyone else so that I did not stick out like a foolish person with no wit, and — Eucharistic Adoration. Not only did I not know what it was, I could barely say… it.
I remember seeing our priest carrying the monstrance (another baffling thing I could barely say – it’s the special vessel used to carry the Blessed Sacrament) down the aisle, with the end of his sleeve wrapped around its handle like a good housewife holding a hot handle with an oven mitt. What’s with the cloth covering and all?
“Holy,” a friend whispered

January 3rd, 2013

I’m hurtling down New York City’s West Side Highway, being driven to high school. A very cool song with a very cool drum intro starts to play. I’d heard it before, but this time everything is different. I hear it anew because just a few weeks prior to that moment I had received a trap drum kit and a video from the Dave Weckl “Back To Basics” series as a gift from my parents, and I’d begun to teach myself how to play drums.
When I get home that day, I dig out the Dave Brubeck LP Time Out… from my parents’ vinyl collection and listen to “Take Five.” My mother, a singer and lifelong musician herself, asks me if perhaps I’m biting off a little more than I can chew. She knows the technical complexity of this

January 2nd, 2013

Merry Christmas from Busted Halo®!
A lot of people think Christmas only lasts one day, or worse yet, that December 25 ends the Christmas season. In fact, this date is just the beginning of Christmas in the Church, a season that actually lasts about 3 weeks.
In the tradition of receiving fun gifts, games and surprises on this holiest of days, we present you with Christmasopoly, a fun way to be informed about how long Christmastime really lasts. Use this as you journey through the 8, 12 and 20 days of the season, doing Christmas, all of it, the right way.
Click the image below to view a larger size, and click here for a printable version.

 …

January 1st, 2013

She was the beauty that was once revered for having the most beautiful voice in the world, garnering such an impressive array of recognition for her talents that she held the Guinness Book of World Records title for most awarded female act of all time in 2009. While the social legacy of Whitney Houston is still under construction as the entire world wrestles with the tension of the troubled and struggling woman who sang the songs of our lives and touched millions of hearts, my mind is made up.
Whitney Houston’s remade version of “The Greatest Love of All” hit the charts in 1986, the year I graduated high school. Though it wasn’t the song our school choir sang, it was the “unofficial official” theme song of…

December 31st, 2012

As the viral video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” by Jefferson Bethke, approaches 18 million views, I will add my response into the clutter. I’ve seen pro-life responses. I’ve seen Catholic exceptionalism responses. I’ve seen atheist and non-Christian responses that agree but then have their own conclusions. I am not interested in getting into theological debate, or in driving wedges between people. I want to make a simple point. It’s the same point I often make to friends who say they’re spiritual but not religious. And to some atheist friends right after they’ve explained why they don’t believe in God.
It is this: What you are calling religion…

December 30th, 2012

Three years ago, I spent my pastoral year of seminary training in Austin, Texas. At the same time a certain MTV program about my home state came on the air: Jersey Shore. For the next few months, parishioners peppered me with questions about the likes of JWoww, Snooki and The Situation as if I knew them. But just as I began to get indignant about the unfair prejudices lobbed against my beloved Garden State, I realized that I too had my own …television-influenced biases regarding the Lone Star State. Up until that point, everything I knew about Texas I learned from J. R. Ewing.
There are overlaps between these characters from our respective home states. They were the center of attention for American TV viewers, and they

December 29th, 2012

Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act caused a lot of stir among Americans. Even Catholics were split on the issue. One priest tweeted, “What’s nxt? Will the government tell us we have to buy a car now, house, etc.? Let’s frame this the gov’t is forcing people to buy a product.” Another priest tweeted, “#gratefultweet This morning I am especially grateful that the poor and vulnerable may be better cared for in this wealthy nation.”

December 29th, 2012
Busted Halo hits the streets and talks with people about the Vatican’s demand for reform of the LCWR

In 2008, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began an investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (or LCWR), the largest association in the United States of leaders of Catholic nuns and sisters in religious communities. During its study of the LCWR, the Vatican office analyzed how Catholic doctrine was being addressed within the organization. This past April, the results of the investigation were revealed.
This week, as the LCWR is meeting to develop a response to the Vatican’s investigation, we’re here on the street asking Catholics who are marching to support the sisters what they think.
[Published on: May 31, 2012]…

December 28th, 2012

This is not the article that I intended to write. I was putting the finishing touches on the first draft while watching my 3-year-old niece emphatically demonstrate her defiant hold on “terrible-twoness” when my cell phone alerted me to the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Turning on the TV, my shock moved from horror to sadness to fear to anger and round again within minutes. I instinctively picked up my niece and hugged her despite her loud protests. She was not just being my niece whose moodiness I’d gladly prefer to nothing at all; she was also a representation of every child who perished in that massacre and all our babies who have fallen innocently out of our hands.…

December 27th, 2012

May 20, 1988, a mentally ill women named Laurie Dann walked into Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka, Illinois, armed with three handguns and shot one boy in a washroom then entered my classroom. She opened fire on us, small children taking a test about bicycle safety. She killed one boy by the name of Nicholas Corwin and wounded four others before departing to a nearby home, shooting an adult who lived there, and then taking her own life. That day back in May 1988, everyone in Winnetka was a victim, everyone in the nation was a victim, and the country stopped for a moment of silence.

December 26th, 2012

To the world, he was known as “Macho” Camacho, but to my family, he was Héctor Camacho, just another member of the Camacho clan.
Héctor “Macho” Camacho was a Puerto Rican professional boxer with a career spanning more than 30 years. In the 80s and 90s, he held championships in super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight divisions — the first boxer to be recognized as a septuple champion. His finesse and bravado in the ring were what made him unique; he was a spectacle in his own right.
Héctor Camacho was not only a boxer, but also a prominent personality. In the Puerto Rican community, especially, Camacho was an icon. He appeared on Spanish language television…

December 26th, 2012

As another year comes to a close, we’re reminded that all good things (debatable) must come to an end. Here’s our list of significant “endings” in 2012. What would you add?
Mayan Calendar — Prior to the arrival of Europeans, people living in Central America followed the 5,125-year Mayan Calendar to organize time. The calendar’s last day was December 21, 2012. Many recognized this as a prophesy for the end of the world or end of time as we knew it. Well… this might actually be an “ending” that didn’t happen! To those who no longer have a calendar, I highly recommend the Gregorian calendar.
Twinkies –… Hostess brands filed for bankruptcy and announced they will be winding down production

December 21st, 2012

For one month each year, I get to work with Santa. The real. The one and only. Santa Claus. You see, I’m a seasonal employee at Macy’s Santaland in Herald Square in New York City. And at Santaland, we are not focused on making money during this highly profitable financial quarter. (Note the fall… Christmas ads, Black Friday sales cutting into Thanksgiving, and year-round Christmas layaway plans.) In fact, on my first day of orientation, a manager told me: “We are not here to make money. We are here to make memories.”
All I want for Christmas
After watching hundreds, probably thousands of visits with Santa Claus, I’ve realized there’s a pattern in what people want for Christmas as they grow up. The young

December 20th, 2012

I hope you’ll join me this season in supporting Busted Halo® in our annual “Double Your Dollars” Holiday Fund Drive.

With your help, Busted Halo® continues to be a place where we talk about culture, relationships, politics, family and life transitions through the lens of Catholic tradition and spirituality. And thanks to you our ministry has seen tremendous growth this year. Not only have downloads of our podcasts increased five-fold and some of our viral videos have pushed past 100,000 views, we’ve also been blessed with an additional dynamic, creative Paulist priest on our staff, Fr. Steven Bell, CSP.
Busted Halo® depends on the support of friends like you. …Between now and

December 20th, 2012

Question: I really thought by the time the holidays came that I would be in a relationship. I want to be joyous and celebrate the holidays, but I’m finding it’s hard to be single while everyone else around me seems to have a spouse and children of their own. Any suggestions?
Answer: …Being single can be hard, and many times people who marry young or don’t have a strong desire to get married don’t understand how difficult it can be. Being single at the holidays is especially hard. It’s one of those times, similar to the wedding season, where it seems like everyone else is coupled up.
I remember one particular Christmas gathering where the only single people were my 85-year-old grandmother and me. My sister had

December 19th, 2012

In the time it takes to read this article, I expect you will be distracted. You may receive an email at work, the phone might ring, your baby could cry, a colleague will sneeze, your dog may fart, and thus — I lose your attention. You may come back to the article, or in many cases, you may move on to cater to one of the many noises, sounds or smells we come across in our daily lives. If that point is now, thanks for reading and I recommend you stop feeding Fido leftover Indian food.

December 17th, 2012

“Early on Tolkien had a car, he drove like a manic,” explains Daniele Lucas to a group of 20 people taking her J.R.R. Tolkien Tour in Oxford, England. “Tolkien endangered everyone’s life who was in the car with him, including his own. Soon afterwards, he completely lost his taste for driving anything motorized.”
In Oxford, Tolkien tours are common and tourists make daily pilgrimages to such sacred spots (scroll down for some photos) as the colleges that Tolkien taught at, the pubs where he met with the Inklings (his informal writing group), the sidewalk where he read early excerpts of The Lord of the Rings to children and the house where Tolkien lived when he wrote The Hobbit.… (The first film of a three-part

December 17th, 2012

Three-fourths of the way through Advent, I lived a parable. We were in the middle of finals week, and the only things standing between me and Christmas vacation were 1) a pile of research papers from my composition students, and 2) a corresponding pile of portfolios from my creative writing students — all waiting to be graded. About halfway through each pile, my computer stopped connecting to the internet.
Granted, the prospect of a day without checking my email 47 times is horrifying enough. Add to this the fact that grades have to be plugged in electronically, and you can imagine my consternation.
I lugged my decidedly not-lightweight laptop to a nearby coffee shop and tried using their Wi-Fi. Nope.
I trudged…

December 11th, 2012

Waiting is a fact of life. We wait in lines. We wait at stop lights. We wait for babies to be born. We wait, and wait, and wait. Our response is often one of wanting to “get it over with.” From a child’s annoying “Are we there yet?” to impatient drivers cutting off other drivers to get someplace quicker, we seem to have an aversion to waiting.
The flip side to waiting, however, is expectation, anticipation and hope. This is beautifully captured in the Spanish language. The verb esperar means “wait, expect and… hope.” One of the themes of Advent is waiting. It is usually cast in terms of our expectation for a Savior — the pre-Christian expectation of the Jewish people for

December 10th, 2012

Advent is a precious time in the Christian calendar. Completely avoiding the Christmas onslaught may be impossible, but we can make an effort to maintain some connection to the spiritual foundation of this season. Busted Halo’s 2012 Advent Surprise Calendar is here to help a little with that.

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