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April 16th, 2014

The Old Testament has (almost) never been read at the Eucharist during Easter season. St. Augustine of Hippo in the 4th Century started this based on earlier practices by Cyril of Jerusalem.
While there are no readings from the Hebrew Scriptures during the Easter season, there are several readings from here at the Easter Vigil. Here we draw out the history of our salvation in one night…from creation, through Abraham, through Moses, etc.
During the Easter season, the Hebrew Scriptures are replaced by the Acts of the Apostles. The logic draws upon the practice of looking forward from the resurrection to balance the Easter Vigil’s looking back on our salvation history.
On weekdays in the Easter season in fact,…

April 15th, 2014

Our writers invite you along on their journeys through Lent. Follow the play-by-play of their personal spiritual practices and share your own.…

April 15th, 2014

It is easy to share the personal highlight reel of my life, but I will stutter if you ask me the last time I truly felt vulnerable. I enjoy being independent and do not ask for help from others unless I am put in a tough spot. The first time I purchased a car on my own my parents offered financial assistance, but instead of accepting their offer, I picked up extra jobs to save up. When I was in college, I paid for my own tuition with scholarships and by working part-time. Like many young adults, I take pride in my independence and find it jarring to be put in a position where I have to ask for help.
That all changed when I was in a car accident this winter. The wheels that carried me to work and social outings and on road trips were no more.…

April 14th, 2014
A practical guide for the days between Palm Sunday and the Resurrection

When I returned to the Church in my late twenties, one of the things that became very important to me was fully investing in the liturgical year. As a child, any day at church was just the same as another, and though Christmas and Easter had extra trappings, my adolescent apathy didn’t allow for much conviction or interior renewal. So, when I came back I wanted to learn, appreciate and enjoy all the unique aspects of living life according to the liturgical calendar. And there was no time where that commitment to commitment became as significant as during Holy Week.
Holy Week is the apex of our liturgical year. The entire week is one of continued heightening, building and expanding of our faith in and love for Christ,…

April 14th, 2014
Reflecting on the Boston Marathon Bombings one year later

Whenever I move to a city, something big seems to happen. When I moved to St. Louis in 2006, the Cardinals won the World Series. When I moved to Chicago, President Obama was elected in 2008 and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. And when I moved to Boston last year, the Red Sox won the World Series. Each of these events united the city I lived in, and I spent much time partying in the streets, as they say.
However, in April 2013, I experienced something that united a city, yet was a tragedy. Not only a tragedy for Boston, but for the entire nation.
The day of the Boston Marathon bombings began as a beautiful day. The sun was shining, and you couldn’t imagine better weather for a marathon. The entire city shut down, and…

April 11th, 2014

When I heard that Fred Phelps was gravely ill, my immediate visceral reaction was sinful in the extreme. My immediate visceral reaction was: good.
I am not proud of this.
If you don’t know, Fred Phelps was the founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, known for its protests of military funerals and its virulent homophobia. Church members, mostly Phelps’ own relatives, celebrated the deaths of American soldiers as acts of divine retribution. They touted signs proclaiming “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for 9/11.” The WBC has made hateful statements about not only homosexuals, but Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and various Protestant denominations.
So it isn’t surprising that Phelps’…

April 8th, 2014

A few years ago, I was rushing to catch the Staten Island Ferry. Missing the ferry could mean a 30- or 60-minute wait for the next one. I had minutes until the next departure. Nothing else was on my mind.
A man stood at the top of the stairs asking for money. I had seen him several times before. But wouldn’t you know it, of all times, this was the moment that he approached me. My response? “I don’t have any money on me, but I will pray for you.” Little did I know that this was the beginning of one of those unforgettable moments when God breaks through the hustle of everyday life.
“You will?” he asked me.
“Yes, I will,” I responded while at the same time the tension in me was mounting…

April 7th, 2014
Videos from CRS' Rice Bowl Program share young adult's Lenten experiences

CRS Rice Bowl. You might read those words, click on the link, and think that you’re headed toward a tasty recipe on Pinterest. Or a trendy new restaurant. No, not quite.
CRS stands for Catholic Relief Services, an international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS Rice Bowl is a way to dedicate Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help those in need. A CRS Rice Bowl is actually a small cardboard box (rice bowl) where you collect your gifts. Through giving, daily reflections, weekly prayers, meatless recipes, a mobile app and stories of hope from around the world, CRS Rice Bowl engages people — body, mind and soul — in Lenten sacrifice.
This year, CRS Rice…

April 1st, 2014

It’s April already and though the first day of the month is a time for practical jokes, things get a little more solemn later on as we head into Holy Week. Also, spring is finally here and if you’re looking for a good way to celebrate Earth Day on the 22nd, look no further than the Busted Halo® Virtual Retreat.

April 1st, 2014

The news straight from the Vatican earlier this morning is that Busted Halo’s® own Fr. Steven Bell, CSP, has been named a Roman Catholic cardinal. While it’s rare in modern times for a priest who is not a bishop to become a cardinal, it’s not unheard of. Asked how he felt about this great honor, newly named Steven Cardinal Bell exclaimed, “Amen!”…

March 31st, 2014

Like the dark smudge on your forehead, Lent is something that has already disappeared for many in today’s stressful world. However, observing Lent can alter our perceptions and how we view the world can be greatly transformed. So, while there is still time during this season, all is not lost.
We can take a page from a Jewish rabbi on this. On Yom Kippur he gave out to each member of his congregation a small piece of paper. On one side of it was written: “It’s later than you think!” On the other side, it said, “It’s never too late!” What he was speaking about is a sense of mindful prayerfulness — being in the now with our eyes wide open to the presence of God in so many different and wondrous ways. And, fortunately…

March 26th, 2014

Recently, I’ve been rereading selections from Henri Nouwen’s writings in the bathroom, as they are short, to the point, and open into deeper reflections. Some may protest at the idea of doing spiritual reading in the bathroom, but I find it a perfect place. No one bothers you. Your cell phone cannot buzz or twitch at you. For just a while you are protected from real life, all except the parents of toddlers who do not respect any kind of doors.
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch priest and theologian of enormous output. He wrote many books, lectured widely, inspired thousands in their spiritual journeys, and wound up living his later years in a L’Arche community in Canada, which pairs mentally abled adults with mentally…

March 24th, 2014
How the Corporal Works of Mercy can connect us with God and one another during Lent

When I was in grade school I bought two goldfish and named them Calvin and Hobbes, after the beloved comic strip characters. I looked forward to years of watching these small orange creatures swim laps above the neon rocks that lined the bottom of their bowl. Three days later I found Hobbes floating at the top of the tank. Crushed, I scooped him out and placed him on a cotton bed in a small cardboard jewelry box. Determined not to let his short life go unnoticed, I recruited a friend and my younger sister to join in a mid-afternoon funeral procession. Singing “On Eagles Wings,” we marched into the woods behind our house where I had dug a shallow grave (about six inches, rather than feet), and I covered the tiny…

March 22nd, 2014

“See everything. Overlook a great deal. Correct a little.”
-Pope John XXIII
I do not know much about the soon-to-be canonized Pope John XXIII, but the above quotation has been one of my favorites ever since encountering it a few years ago.
It lends itself to all corners of life. So often, I think our very human inclination is to feel the need to address problems with radical change. If something is not working, best to throw it out and rebuild or take on something new.
What the Good Pope’s reminder indicates to me, however, is that we can meddle in a way that is ultimately counterproductive. What needs to be fixed is often only a minor detail.
Yesterday I was speaking with a Jesuit priest who needs

March 20th, 2014
A look at the intersection of Catholic colleges and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament

As the Madness of March and college basketball descend upon the sporting world, once again there are many Catholic colleges in the mix. Over the years, Georgetown, Marquette, Gonzaga, Notre Dame and many other Catholic schools have been a part of the landscape that is men’s and women’s college basketball. Of the more than 350 schools that compete in Division 1 NCAA basketball, about 10 percent of them are affiliated with or classified as Catholic schools. And year after year, the presence of Catholic schools in the NCAA tournament stays true to the 10 percent, or more often exceeds it. This year, nine of the 68 teams in the men’s bracket are Catholic schools (13 percent) and seven of the 64 teams…

March 18th, 2014
A reminder of why we're doing Lent

You might have heard the phrase during a typical Catholic high school dance. The chaperone would diligently separate hormonal teenagers on the dance floor by yelling, “Make room for Jesus!”
Now, I’ve never experienced this firsthand, but the stories from my friends have stuck with me. And it has occurred to me that this phrase might help challenge us during our Lenten journeys.
A typical question this time of year is “What did you give up for Lent?” Loosely translated: “How will you be depriving yourself this season?”
Unless there is real meaning behind what we’re doing, it can just sound silly. The purpose of Lent is not to further our fitness goals with Hail Mary sit-ups or to lose weight by giving…

March 17th, 2014

Sometimes I think I dream more when I am awake than when my head is on the pillow.
This might not be true; I have never been a great one for remembering my dreams. But as I journey through my Lenten practice of meditating at least 10-15 minutes a day – which is in truth also a striving for heightened mindfulness – I am becoming increasingly aware of how often my thoughts wander throughout the day.
This is especially noticeable during my designated prayer time. My seemingly simple goal thus far has been to focus on little more than my breathing. Generally, I am good for an inhale and half an exhale before my attention turns elsewhere.
This mattress is pretty comfortable, but the room’s a little cold.
God,…

March 13th, 2014
Three young adults share how Pope Francis has inspired them to deepen their faith

Marcee Treadway Hinds
Mobile, Alabama

I actually met with my parish priest about entering RCIA classes and having my daughter baptized just weeks after Pope Francis was elected. As someone who longed to fully enter the Church, in a way I feel like I was called back at an amazing time.
Pope Francis has, for me, been a guiding light in this journey. Every morning on my way to work I listen to the Catholic Channel’s broadcast of daily Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. On most days, Mass is followed by a segment that features an English translation of Pope Francis’ homily. When Pope Francis speaks, I carry his message with me throughout the day.
As someone with a semi-Catholic upbringing (I was baptized…

March 7th, 2014
Busted Halo's® Annual Ash Wednesday Challenge and Photo Contest

Thank you for entering your photos in the Show Us Your Ash Photo Contest! Here are the winners — selected from the photos that received the most votes in the contest:

March 4th, 2014

 
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.
This year you can enter our Lent Contest EVERY DAY and be placed in a random drawing to win…

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