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July 3rd, 2013
We celebrate independence with great fervor, but as Christians we’re called to a life of dependence on God

Last Fourth of July, after burning my 16th straight hot dog, I finally asked for help. This was not easy. I’m a thirtysomething male. I should know how to barbecue by now. But desperation — and my mother’s howls that “the potato salad is going to turn if you don’t hurry up with those hot dogs” — forced my plea. Ugh. I hate asking for help. I prefer to take care of things on my own. And after all, isn’t that what Independence Day is all about? Independence?
The thing is, grilling hot dogs isn’t the only thing I need help with. And if I think about it, there are a lot of ways in which I’m not independent. In fact, if I really, really think about it and am honest with myself, there are a lot of things…

July 2nd, 2013

Question: I know the Church’s views on cohabitation and premarital sex, and I agree with those. But how does the Church feel about spending the night together without having sex? My boyfriend and I are going on a trip in a couple weeks and are planning on staying in the same room. I am comfortable with him, and although I know we won’t be having sex, I am still feeling guilty about sleeping in the same bed as him for a few nights. Is this considered sinning? Should I feel guilty?
Answer: I’m thrilled to hear that you are living the Gospel message in a way that is very counter-cultural. Reserving sex for marriage is a powerful way to celebrate the beauty of our sexuality. You are embracing the belief that to love…

July 1st, 2013

We’re deep into summer AND ordinary time, which means there aren’t THAT many big Catholic feasts and holy days during the month of July. That being said, we’ve decided to highlight some of the saints that you might not realize are celebrated during this summer month. Oh, and see you at World Youth Day!
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. 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:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · mobile [640 x 1136]…

June 25th, 2013
Getting married is the right time to check back in with your faith -- and make sure you and your spouse will be on the same page

We thought we were just checking the box of official requirements for a Catholic wedding ceremony. And looking around the room at the 52 other couples, it was obvious many of them did too.
We were all undergoing what priests call “Pre-Cana,” some kind of mandatory workshop on preparing for marriage. My fiancé and I didn’t know exactly what that entailed; but we knew this one took a single Saturday, while others spanned multiple weeks or at least a weekend. So with three months to go before our wedding, here we were.
From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., we dug into the nitty-gritty of married life: managing our expectations for finances, children, chores and the inevitable disagreements. We were given organizational…

June 15th, 2013
A retreat for fathers and children to celebrate relationships that continue to influence us as young adults

Father’s Day is this weekend and it’s time to honor dear old Dad. Fathers share helpful advice and wisdom throughout our lives (or at least they try to.) Even if we’re too busy or stubborn to listen, dads are giving us tips on how to make our lives the best they can be. This virtual retreat helps young adults and their fathers connect with those wisdom moments and one another. You can do this retreat on your own or with your dad! Live far away? Email Dad the link and get on the phone, Facetime, or Skype. So, in addition to a card or gift (don’t forget!) celebrate Father’s Day with your father in a unique way.

June 13th, 2013

It’s that time of year! Wedding bells are ringing, champagne is flowing, and toasters are abundant as couples celebrate their nuptials.
In a flurry of tulle and taffeta, it can be easy for the happy couple-to-be to forget what a wedding is truly about. Suddenly, conflicts arise over table arrangements and what really constitutes the color “eggshell.” You find yourselves arguing over whether the one-man-band that he wants, which specializes in kazoo covers of this year’s hit songs, or her entryway made entirely of fresh roses and mother-of-pearls is really what the wedding needs. Without warning, you have both become the reality TV figures you used to giggle at together. But it’s not only the bridezillas…

June 1st, 2013

We thought we’d pay special recognition to fathers this month through our wallpaper with a depiction of St. Joseph holding his foster son, Jesus. Arguably one of the most important dates to look out for in June is Father‘s Day on the 16th. If you’re having trouble finding something you’ve lost, make sure to say special prayers to St. Anthony on his feast day, the 13th. Here’s a nice little piece of trivia: On June 24 the Church celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist, who is one of three figures whose birth is celebrated by the Catholic Church. Can you guess the other two? Jesus (December 25), of course, and Mary (September 8).
Oh, and don’t forget about Flag Day on June 14.…

May 30th, 2013

Vacation Church Search
Rather than taking a vacation from church, make church an exciting part of your vacation by celebrating mass somewhere new. While on vacation, make it a point to find an old, popular or interesting place of worship nearby. If you’re in the tropics, search for an open-air church. If you’re vacationing on the East Coast, check out a historical church. If you’re opting for a stay-cation this summer and sticking close to home, visit a new parish in your community. You never know where you will find inspiration!

Rekindle Your Spark
Plan a backyard or beach bonfire with family, close friends, or by yourself! Relax. Roast some marshmallows and make s’mores. When you are…

May 30th, 2013
Class is in session! We’re answering questions of faith about God, Catholic beliefs, Church teaching as it relates to modern living, and much more!

Over the next four weeks Busted Halo is headed into the classroom for a session of summer school. In the tradition of the Busted Halo Question Box, we’ll answer questions about the Sacraments, Catholic beliefs, Church teaching as it relates to modern living, and much more. You’ll be learning, doing a little homework (don’t worry — it won’t be too difficult), and digging deeper into your faith. This will probably lead to more questions!

Each day, that day’s link in the Summer School calendar will start working, leading to a question of faith and its answer. There’s also a form to submit your own question of faith, and each week during Summer School we will give away an Amazon Kindle to the person who submits the best question of faith, as determined by the Busted Halo staff.

May 29th, 2013
Ease up on planning for Day 1 and start planning for Days 2-18,000 of a long marriage

Once my fiancé and I got engaged, I found out that in the wedding industry, they call spring “Bridal Christmas.” That’s because such a significant proportion of couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Come March, they get down to wedding planning, and in the spring and summer, nearly 65 percent get married. A spending bonanza has begun.
The U.S. wedding industry — or the bridal-industrial complex, as some call it — is now estimated at $50.6 billion. Magazines, websites, bakers, caterers, stationers, dressmakers, florists, photographers, videographers, bands, DJs, limo drivers, restaurants, reception halls and hotels are just a few of the businesses that…

May 28th, 2013

In the book of Genesis, Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob, was a dreamer. Not a lofty-ideas-about-his-future and mighty-ambitions dreamer, but a fall-asleep-and-have-vivid-dreams-that-relentlessly-came-from-God dreamer.
He had a series of dreams, as detailed in Genesis 37, which suggested he would one day wield a great deal of power as a ruler. But Joseph didn’t want these dreams. They actually plagued his nights. To seek some sort of relief, he told his brothers about them — brothers who already had a great distaste for and jealousy of Joseph churning inside them.
So, the story goes like this: Joseph was sold into slavery by his envious brothers and ultimately rose to become the second-in-command…

May 23rd, 2013

“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22, NAB)
I have never heard a priest preach on this Ephesians passage. More times than not the presider selects the secondary option provided in the lectionary, which omits any references to submission or swaps out the passage entirely. Why? Do some pastors find this subject too sensitive to approach?
I’ll admit that this line may be cringe-worthy, especially for cultures that praise women’s rights and equality for all. It tends to be one of those lines of scripture we brush to the side and avoid altogether. But we shouldn’t read any verse on its own. The text that surrounds it sometimes offers more context. Perhaps we ought…

May 22nd, 2013

I’m going to be starting a new job several states away, and I’m wondering if I should try to continue to date my girlfriend? We’ve been going out for about nine months. Does it make sense to try to date long distance?

There is no “right” or “wrong” decision when considering a long-distance relationship. I know couples that met online, never lived in the same state, and ended up happily married with kids. Then there are marriages that must deal with distance due to job or school changes that crumble after just a few months apart. There are many things to take into consideration when thinking about dating long distance. Here are five questions to guide you as you make your…

May 21st, 2013
Authors of The Freshman Survival Guide offer advice on how to prep for college this summer, and the chance to win a free copy of their book

You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time passes between graduation day and packing the car to leave for college. Make the most of the short weeks before you go with our seven steps below — pulled from our book, The Freshman Survival Guide — and enter to win a free copy for the high school grad in your life (see details below).

Take Care of Your Relationships… — You and all your friends are facing big changes and with big changes come big feelings. It’s easy to hurt the people you care about without meaning to. It’s a good time to be really forgiving and super patient with each other. Avoid burning bridges and schedule time early in the summer with the people you want to see before you go.

May 17th, 2013
A brief illustration of the birthday of the Church

Can’t remember what or when Pentecost is? Well for starters, it’s this Sunday; and if you want a little more info on this celebration of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church, take a look at Busted Halo’s two minute video.

May 16th, 2013

On Pentecost Sunday, God breathed the Holy Spirit into the apostles to remind them that they were not alone. Jesus had died, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ followers were afraid and unsure of their future. The Holy Spirit came to comfort them even though Jesus wasn’t there to physically comfort them any more. What does the Holy Spirit mean to us today? Much the same thing it meant for the apostles. We too are recipients of the Spirit, given to help us in our lives. According to Judeo-Christian tradition there are seven Gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, right judgement, knowledge, courage, reverence, and fear of God. The best part is that you don’t have to be religious to…

May 15th, 2013

Several years ago my family and I took a trip to the Southwest so I could do some research for a book I was writing for Scholastic’s “Dear America” series. While in Tucson, Arizona, we visited the astounding church called “The White Dove of the Desert,” which has some of the liveliest, most colorful folk art I’ve yet seen.
One of the paintings on the wall was of the disciples and their companions in the Upper Room receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The tongues of flame that rested merrily on the heads of the assembled crowd rather resembled roses. Sort of flaming red roses.
This gave me furiously to think, as Hercule Poirot would say. How do we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in our…

May 14th, 2013

Dozens of candles flickered and melted together on the cobblestones while we gathered in front of a small table. Conversations in English and Spanish mixed with plenty of laughter as participants in the Casa de la Solidaridad program, Salvadoran scholarship students and the staff of Casa settled onto the pillows lying on the ground. Together, we prepared to celebrate the Eucharist.
Of all the beautiful memories I have from my semester abroad, these celebrations of community and faith are some of my most precious. Our group had traveled from numerous colleges and universities in the United States as well as communities all across El Salvador, each bringing unique experiences and beliefs. But as we sat under…

May 10th, 2013

And so begins the rest of our lives! Did you just tremble? Was that a yelp I heard? Why so scared, nervous, anxious? So much life is before us! As we walk down the platform steps after receiving our diplomas, do not let the fear of adulthood, decision making and change overwhelm you. Embrace the reality that the future is full of opportunities. Whether you have a plan or not, a job or not, it doesn’t matter. The next few days, months, years, are brimming with potential.
This time of year is always so bittersweet, and I can’t say that I’m extremely excited to leave the comfort of my years of college education. I can say that I’m ready to make some mistakes and ready to live in a way that is brand new to me.
This kind of thinking…

May 9th, 2013

One humid Sunday morning in May, I went with my parents and a dear family friend to church. Towards the end of the service, the priest asked for all women in the church to rise for the Mother’s Day blessing.
I figured he must have misspoken. He meant for all the mothers in the church to rise for the Mother’s Day blessing. But when some of us childless females stayed in our seats, he iterated: All women, please rise, mothers or no. I stood, feeling my eyebrows knit together, while the priest raised his hands over me and all the other women in the church, with and without children.
Let me be clear. I don’t doubt that priest’s good intentions. I think he was genuinely trying to do something nice for women. Nevertheless,…

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