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April 15th, 2013
15 ideas for your tax refund

Is there any day more dreaded than Tax Day? Hopefully you all filed your 2012 taxes by now. Congrats. Take a breath. The stress is over and now you can sit back and relax while you wait for the one good thing about tax season — the refund. There are plenty of things you could do with that cash. Here’s a list of ideas for putting your tax refund to good use. (Oh, and if you ended up paying a tax bill this year, remember — God loves a cheerful giver.)

STOP! You shouldn’t consider this “free money” if you have credit card debt or any kind of loan to pay off. Use this extra dough to take a chunk out of the debt hanging over your head; put it all toward that, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for this…

April 11th, 2013

I was looking at juxtaposition. In front of me, sitting in the middle of a dirt field, was a 7-year-old boy. His clothes were covered in dust, and as the sun baked the sweat on his brow, his mouth grimaced, and his eyes conveyed a pained thirst. He looked up to me, but didn’t hold my gaze, as I know I looked just behind him at a five-star hotel and a water park. It was a mere hundred yards away from where he sat, but a 15-foot concrete wall, a coil of barbed wire, and 60 years of political tension segregated him from it.
This was the summer of 2012, and I was standing in the Dbayeh Christian Palestinian Refugee Camp in Beirut, Lebanon. For most Americans, and most 17-year-old high school students, such an excursion would be atypical.…

April 9th, 2013

Moving twice in my 30s has been difficult and wonderful all at the same time. The two moves resulted in new friends and new hobbies. They also came with fear and apprehension as I began again. Each move was to a different part of the country for the same reason: a fresh start.
The moving itself was quite unsettling and like many who move, the sooner I discovered routine, the smoother the transition would be. I turned to the practice of going to Sunday mass — something that has always grounded me. There was a familiarity in the ritual of mass. Finding a community to worship with regularly became as important as restocking my refrigerator. And both had to be done over and over.
It is like a modern tale of “Goldilocks…

April 8th, 2013

God works in mysterious ways. We all know that. So why should I have been surprised when a memory suddenly inserted itself into my brain today of a thunderstorm roiling the skies over my childhood house, lightning striking the ground, and the rackety sound of rain approaching? The sky turned green, and I plucked at my mother’s hand, “Where’s Nicky? Where is he?” I couldn’t put my worry into words, but I remember the sudden realization that I loved my brother dearly, that I didn’t think I could live without him, and that he needed to get home right now… before I could fret anymore. Thankfully, he scooted into the house a few minutes later, drenched to the skin, and laughing.
If you

April 5th, 2013

You know the feeling — a meeting is held but for some reason you missed the invitation. You find out late about a concert and can’t get tickets. Your friend gets engaged but she never told you about how she and her boyfriend were considering marriage. So from now on you are on high alert, trying to be certain not to miss out on important events. This is FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out.” Especially in the share-it-all world of social media, FOMO is hard to escape. We want to be included and take part, and it’s no fun when we’re not.
A curse?
One of the mascots of FOMO in the Bible is Thomas the Apostle, otherwise known as Doubting Thomas. You might say that he had “the curse of the Blitz.”…

April 3rd, 2013
Wrestling with emotions as a single bridesmaid

Dear Michele,
I’m having a difficult time since two of my good friends got engaged recently. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them, but I can’t even seem to find a decent date, and it’s hard not to feel some jealousy. I’ve been asked to be in both weddings and a part of me is dreading it. I’m also beginning to wonder if something is wrong with me. Why does it seem like everyone else is moving to the next stage of life and I’m stuck here?
– Always a Bridesmaid
Dear Always,
You are brave for being honest about having conflicting feelings: happiness for the joy your friends are experiencing, and jealousy that you don’t have that same joy for yourself. A lot of people would deny feelings of jealousy because…

April 2nd, 2013

Sunday, Christians around the world celebrated Easter, the commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Sunday night, fans of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead celebrated the third season finale of the AMC TV show about reanimated corpses. Coincidence? We’ll see…
Frequently, it’s joked around the internet that Jesus was the first zombie, even going as far as to re-dub Easter as “Zombie Jesus Day.” Unsurprisingly, the two terms have experienced a surge in popularity every year around Easter since 2006. However, there are a few key differences between Jesus’ resurrection and a zombie’s ascent from the crypt.
Fish and flesh
When you think of a zombie, what’s the first…

March 28th, 2013
A pope of surprises resonates with the Catholic Church

In the weeks leading up to the election of Pope Francis, debates about various papal candidates dominated the press and, if you’re like me, the conversation at home. And whether Catholics consulted with their parish priest or with Paddy Power, it is likely that many had in mind a shortlist of probable popes — and were rooting for a favorite or two.

March 28th, 2013

On March 7, 2008 at approximately three o’clock in the afternoon Theodore Xavier Kim had his first shots … four of them. Now, it should be noted that I love my son’s pediatrician. I’m using the word LOVE here. But when she stuck four very big needles into my very little baby as he screamed and cried so hard that his perfect little inny bellybutton became an outie, I had several thoughts:
#1: The part of my mind hard-wired like that of any self-respecting tigress screamed: “This little 90 pound … witch … is hurting my son. It is incumbent upon me as his mother to hurl her like a javelin into the waiting room, grab my poor half-naked shrieking baby, and run screaming through traffic, half ambulance…

March 27th, 2013

Lent is a time many use as a second chance for those New Year’s resolutions they have already broken. It’s a time for cleansing and making new. This year I wanted to make up for an Advent that was less peaceful and prayerful than I had planned. I had hoped to give more time to reading, praying with the daily Mass readings and reflecting on the year. Unfortunately the busyness of the holidays got the better of me and snatched away that hoped-for time.

March 27th, 2013

As a native Argentinean Catholic, it is difficult to describe my euphoria upon learning that our new pope is from Argentina. As a Jesuit-educated Catholic, I was doubly excited! On the day of the announcement, the junior high students in my classroom eagerly awaited the new pope’s arrival on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square. I smiled at their enthusiasm and glanced hopefully at the poll asking students who our new pope would be, taken less than an hour earlier when white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel. The majority of my students had voted for Europe or Africa. The lone vote under South America was my own, reflecting my silent prayer for a pope from Latin America, where the majority of the world’s…

March 26th, 2013

Every year Catholics commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection in worship. On Holy Thursday we remember the Last Supper and the gift Jesus gave to us in the Holy Eucharist. The Good Friday liturgy recalls his arrest, crucifixion and death, and the Vigil and Easter Sunday liturgies celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Personally, we may feel a bit removed from the actual events of Holy Week because we are participating in them liturgically (in worship), and not historically. However, our own personal experiences may help us understand what the people with Jesus were going through as they witnessed these events.
This became very apparent to me a few months ago when my mother died. She had been on a ventilator for…

March 25th, 2013
A Lenten reflection on "Roll Away Your Stone"

I don’t pretend to know what “Roll Away Your Stone” is about. Mumford & Sons, the writers and performers of the song, apparently don’t know what the song is about themselves. But when the tune rolled up on my Pandora station the other day, I found myself jerked out of my half-listening state to sudden alertness by this line: “Stars, hide your fires.” I had reason. I am currently teaching Macbeth to my college freshmen, and this line is lifted straight from Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The line occurs in Act 1, Scene 4, when Macbeth, his ambition roused by a prophecy that he will one day be king, reflects on the obstacles in his path. The Scotsman’s thoughts have already turned toward…

March 24th, 2013
A guide to the three-day celebration of the Church

The Triduum (TRIH-du-um) is the time of the Church year when we celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This three-day celebration begins with the Holy Thursday Mass and continues on Good Friday with the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. At the end of this liturgy, we leave the church in silence, waiting to celebrate the glory of our Lord’s resurrection. Then, on Saturday at sun down, the Church re-gathers to celebrate the final, and most grand, moment of the Triduum: the Resurrection of our Lord.
The Triduum is somewhat like a three-day prayer marathon, and if you are a novice there may be some rituals that are unfamiliar to you. This guide will help you walk and pray through the liturgies…

March 20th, 2013

A week in and it’s clear: Pope Francis is a man of surprises.
It started minutes after his election to the See of Saint Peter. He appeared on the loggia in a simple white cassock to greet the hundreds of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Before blessing the faithful and the merely curious in the traditional formula, Francis asked the crowd to bless him first in silent prayer. And for 30 seconds, they and hundreds of millions of people watching throughout the world joined in silent prayer for the new Holy Father.
That moment evidenced that Francis is clearly just that: holy. His closeness with all of us during these days of great trial and possibility is so clear. His predecessor, Benedict the Meek,…

March 19th, 2013
6 ways for Pope Francis and the rest of us to address transitions in a new career

No cardinal ever says he wants to be the pope — and it’s not because of his humility. Being pope is a backbreaking, overwhelming task. The room where the new pope vests in the papal robes is called the “Room of Tears” for a reason!
Sometimes we’re all afraid of responsibility, and young adults know this all too well. From your first job to that first big promotion, responsibility on the job can be daunting and filled with daily pressures. And often, while the prospect of a new profession or promotion is exciting, transitions are tough.
So, here is some unsolicited advice from my new book, Loving Work, to help Pope Francis prayerfully make his way through the papal transition — and hopefully some…

March 13th, 2013

We celebrate the election of Pope Francis in this Special Edition of the Busted Halo Cast.

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
Fr. Dave's Video Report from Rome

Join Fr. Dave on a video tour of Rome that answers your conclave questions: Why does the papal conclave happen in Rome? Why does one person head the Catholic Church? and, what is the role of prayer in all of this?

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…

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