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February 26th, 2009
...and we love you for it

We asked for your ash shots and you didn’t disappoint!
We may not have the sophisticated technology necessary to determine our readership demographics as precisely as we’d like, but at least we know you love your ash. Among the pics we received — the best of which are posted here — we found big ashes, small ashes, cockeyed ashes and perfect ashes. We got first time ash recipients and people who hadn’t received ashes in decades. Thanks to all those who hauled their ashes online and sent in their pics.
And the response to our Fast Pray Give Lent Calendar has been tremendous! The first few days have broken single day traffic records for Busted Halo and people seem to be telling their friends…

February 26th, 2009

Return to the Lent calendar.

Lent Quotable
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fast from thoughtlessness.
Pray for one minute on the gifts or the people in your life you have been given that you sometimes take for granted.
Give by going out of your way to offer a genuine compliment to someone you encounter and perform one small act of kindness.
Slipped up? Don’t give up. Start again and share yourstruggles at our “Slip Support Station” on Facebook.

Today’s Prize is: your choice of a book from the Halo Store…
To win today’s prize: Give us your name and email address along with the email address of one friend

February 25th, 2009

Return to the Lent calendar.

At the start of Lent,… we take time to remind ourselves that life indeed is limited: that we will die.
We place ashes on our foreheads as a visible reminder to others that we know that our bodies will turn to ash one day, that life is indeed precarious, but that we are also a resurrection people.
We believe that more lies beyond this end, and so our ashes are marked by the sign of faith — the cross — at once a symbol of our God’s destruction and His greatest triumph.
We listen to the words that the priest or minister says to us as he places the ashes on our forehead: “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
What is it that holds us back from really living? What

February 24th, 2009
Busted Halo's Ash Wednesday Challenge

It’s an experience that any Catholic will understand. You decide that you’d like to stop by church on Ash Wednesday to get the obligatory ashes on your forehead and you get in line with everyone else who has had the same idea. While waiting, your mind begins to wander and you’re oblivious to all the people passing you by as they return from the altar. Eventually you get to be second or third in line and notice that the people just ahead of you are sporting ashes the size of billboards on their foreheads. Enormous, indeterminate blobs of soot now decorate their once spotless noggins as they return to their pews. Your heart begins to sink as you realize that you’re going to be forced to return to…

February 24th, 2009
besides giving up chocolate

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for the Easter season when Christians are called to renew their commitments to spiritual practices like Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving…. The season is intended as a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter. The belief is that our consistent participation in these practices — like exercise we do for our physical health — is a form of purification that improves our spiritual well-being by stripping away all that is unnecessary and by becoming more mindful of our ultimate dependence on God in our lives. Lent is an annual opportunity to grow in our faith, which means it’s about much more than giving up unhealthy foods

February 24th, 2009

Return to the Lent calendar.

Lenten Fast Fact

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday, referring to the word “shrive” which means “to confess.”
In earlier times rich foods made from eggs, butter, or sugar were banned during Lent — dietary rules were much harsher than the simple meatless Fridays of today. For hundreds of years, the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada have celebrated this “Pancake Tuesday” with rich and often sugary pancakes.

Fast Pray Give will begin on Wednesday. Check back then and every day after that for a daily plan throughout Lent.

Today’s Prize is: a copy of The Green Bible…
To win today’s prize: Give us your name and

February 23rd, 2009

Return to the Lent calendar.

Lenten Fast Fact
Italians started the original tradition of “festive sinning” for three days before Ash Wednesday. These often took the form of debaucheries like fornicating in the street and continual drunkenness. In a sense, people were living the high life before the grind of 40 days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
A second thought is that some people felt they should do something to feel penitent about. The word “carnival” is misleading as to the origins of the feast, because in Italian “carnevale” means literally, “goodbye, meat.”

Fast Pray Give… will begin on Wednesday. Check back then and every day after that for a daily

February 22nd, 2009
New statistics show that what men and women want in a mate has changed drastically in the past 70 years

It’s the perennial question: What do men and women want in a spouse?
Men are increasingly interested in an educated woman who is a good financial prospect, and less interested in chastity. Women are increasingly interested in a man who wants a family, and less picky about whether he’s always Mr. Nice Guy.
That’s according to a study by that I conducted with Christie Boxer, a graduate student here at the University of Iowa. We analyzed results from a 2008 survey of more than 1,100 undergraduates of all religious backgrounds at the UI, the University of Washington, the University of Virginia and Penn State University, comparing the results to past mate-preference studies.
Since the 1930s, researchers…

February 17th, 2009
Busted Halo vs. America Magazine..."and the WINNER is"

As if last’s year’s drubbing on their Oscar podcast wasn’t enough, America magazine—the national Catholic weekly run by the Jesuits—asked to go head to head once again with BustedHalo.com’s editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey on this year’s Oscar race. America‘s resident Oscar snot-noses, Fr. Jim Martin SJ and associate editor Tim Reidy, tried valiantly to keep up with McGarvey in their discussion of this year’s Best Picture nominees: Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire….
It should come as no surprise, however, that the twerps from 56th Street and Carnegie Hall were no match for the boy genius from Hell’s

February 17th, 2009
Legendary lead vocalist from The Staple Singers on Dr. King, Barack Obama and being wrapped up in the Lord's arms

Lost among the hoopla of the Inauguration of Barack Obama — among the celebrity sightings, the musical guests, and the soaring rhetoric — was the conspicuous absence of one civil rights icon. Where was Mavis Staples, the woman whose soulful baritone led the legendary Staple Singers? With her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples and her siblings, Mavis had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, and had provided the musical rallying cry for the movement that paved the way for Obama’s election. She had performed at the inaugurations of Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, too, so she knew the routine. She was even from Chicago, same as the new President. But as the afternoon wore on, it became apparent…

February 16th, 2009
Christians grapple with the messages in this teen generation's defining book

“He grinned his crooked smile at me, stopping my breath and my heart. I couldn’t imagine how an angel could be any more glorious.”
Bella never had a chance. The protagonist of the breakout bestselling young adult novel Twilight falls in love under the gray, rain-soaked skies of Washington State unthinkingly and unerringly.
It’s just too bad her love is a 108-year-old vampire.
Twilight… is the first of a four-part series by Stephanie Meyer and has spawned a blockbuster movie and millions of swooning fans; the movie grossed over $35 million its first day in the theaters and more than $300 million worldwide over the course of its run. Much to the delight of fans, producers are currently casting

February 11th, 2009
...on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

On February 11, 1858, Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes ( January 7, 1844 – April 16, 1879) was gathering firewood when she had a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto near town. This was her first of 18 visions.
The miraculous healing power of Lourdes water, from a spring in the grotto, led to its and Bernadette’s recognition. Lourdes has become a place of mass pilgrimage for Catholics — with an estimated 200 million visitors to the shrine since 1860.
To commemorate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes we are offering readers this clip on St. Bernadette featuring commentary from James Martin, SJ.  The video is courtesy of Loyola Productions taken from their new DVD “Who Cares about the Saints?”…

February 10th, 2009
Recession friendly ideas for love without money

Just because Valentine’s Day is traditionally one of the more tawdry holidays, that doesn’t meant that we can’t redefine it and genuinely celebrate the relationships and love we share, whether or not we have a significant other. So, I asked some of my friends for suggestions of ways to celebrate the relationships in our lives — without spending too much money, or turning to the trashy — and they came up with five great ideas that will make any Valentine’s Day wonderful.

February 9th, 2009
Inside a "voudou" village in South Carolina

He should have honored their ways.
When a county health inspector threatened to press charges against the members of Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina for scarring themselves in a tribal ritual, members of the village performed an ebo, or animal sacrifice, to one of their deities, asking for help. “The following week,” says Bale Oyewole, 63, one of the founders of the village, “the health inspector died of a heart attack; since then we’ve been left alone.”
It’s Voudou
Oyewole says they don’t call it voodoo in Oyotunji; they call it orisha voudou. The word voudou comes from the West African word for religion and the word orisha… means deities or spirits. The

February 9th, 2009
We’re turning the tables and asking our readers for advice

Calling all Pure Sex, Pure Love readers: I’m teaming up with one of the most famous priests in America to bring you the best dating and relationship advice. Want a piece of the action? Here’s the story:
Last summer Maureen Dowd wrote a column titled “An Ideal Husband,” featuring love advice from Fr. Pat Connor, a 79-year-old Catholic priest based in Bordentown, N.J., who has spent his celibate life mulling what it takes to achieve marital bliss.
The next day, Fr. Pat charmed the world with more advice for young adults (who you should and shouldn’t marry, why you can’t change a man, etc.) on the Today Show. (Watch the segment here.) And in the spring of next year, his book Whom …

February 5th, 2009
What to do with a husband who "isn't anything"

I had to explain it to the priest as I stood fidgeting with my cell phone antenna. No, my fiancee isn’t Catholic or Jewish, and he wasn’t baptized. I resisted the urge to holler, “YES, I am marrying a FILTHY heathen neener neener!” The priest told me curtly that he could not perform the marriage ceremony since my betrothed hadn’t been baptized. The job of blessing our union was passed to the deacon.
Husband isn’t…anything, really, religiously speaking. He is wickedly funny, always there to lend a hand when anybody needs it, he’s sweet and compassionate and very generous. What happens when a twenty-nine-year old Southern Catholic girl with Evangelical parents…

February 3rd, 2009
What is it & how to do it (even if it's been a long time)

Busted Halo® looks at the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the perspective of the seeker who has been thinking about confession.

In part one, we cover initial reservations about confession and how best to approach it, along with detailing the two types of sins of which to be mindful.

 
Download this PDF, How To Go To Confession, and take it with you… it’s okay, really.

 
Another helpful PDF, Some Common Catholic Prayers.

February 2nd, 2009
The growing trend to tattoo your faith on your sleeve

Eyes of friends and strangers alike immediately fall to the arm, the shoulder, the back, or perhaps even to the unnaturally elongated earlobe – sometimes a question follows, sometimes it doesn’t.
The tattooed and the pierced have signed up for it all, deeming a stamp of meaning or originality worth the cost, the pain, the permanence and the perpetual need to cover their artwork for job interviews. As tattoo shops spring up in suburbia and as tattoos become standard fare in offices, researchers and industry professionals are finding many willing to go under the needle do so in the name of some god. In many other instances, they do so in the name of their own personal philosophy of faith.
“Anecdotally,…

January 29th, 2009
Boston students try to start a dialogue at the inauguration and the March for Life

When a group of Catholic high school students traveled to Washington, D.C. last week, their itinerary included what many would have previously considered to be irreconcilable goals: to celebrate Obama’s election during the inauguration, and then to attend the March for Life two days later to show their opposition to abortion. This group of 16 students, mostly juniors and seniors at Xaverian High School in the suburbs of Boston, represents what could be called a new wave in the pro-life movement. Their trip, with visits to a variety of landmarks and individuals promoting viewpoints that contribute to a consistent ethic of life, is an example of how the landscape of the pro-life movement is shifting, starting…

January 28th, 2009
The SNL alum talks about her new movie with Renée Zellweger and how her faith influences the roles she takes

Whether it’s been in blockbusters like Men In Black and Forrest Gump, or indie films such as Dancer in the Dark and Dogville, Siobhan Fallon is a character actress whose face is memorable even if her name might not be.
In the romantic comedy, New in Town…, starring Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr., Fallon, a Saturday Night Live alum plays Blanche Gunderson, a Minnesota woman who befriends her new boss, Zellweger, when she arrives to take over the local factory.
Fallon, a devout Catholic, discusses the new film and why her faith and a desire to set a good example for her young daughters has meant turning down a number of lucrative acting opportunities.

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