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December 23rd, 2013

Busted Halo’s® Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, gives you a preview of “A New York Christmas To Remember.” Three choirs, a 30-piece orchestra, Henson puppets, Regis Philbin, and more come together at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City for “A New York Christmas To Remember, which will air on CBS Christmas Eve at 11:35 p.m. Eastern. Tune in for a Christmas Eve service featuring beautiful music, personal reflections from church members, the reading of the Christmas Story by Regis Philbin, and the puppetry of Jane Henson. This is a joint production of The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle, Paulist Productions, and Scott Mirkin Productions. Be sure to tune in Christmas Eve!
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December 20th, 2013
Tips for navigating the holidays when you’re single

The holidays are a time of joy, worship, and general holiday cheer — at least in the movies. We experience those things, but sometimes we also experience the pain of being single. One Christmas, I was the only single adult at my large family gathering, except if you counted my 80-year-old grandmother (who, as a widow, likely didn’t consider herself single). Here are some strategies to help you stay in the true spirit of the season.
Strategy One: Connect With Your Tribe…
Your tribe is the people closest to your heart. Sometimes it’s family members, but many times it’s made of friends. Make special plans with your tribe, beyond the “normal” plans of going out or hanging in. You can organize a Christmas

December 20th, 2013
How a baby brought us back to the Church

During this season of Advent, we recall the lyrics of Glenn Rudolph’s contemporary choral work, “The Dream Isaiah Saw,” and pray that a “little Child whose bed is straw” might soon “take new lodgings” in our hearts. Yet we marvel that a few short years ago, one of us indifferent toward our faith and the other skeptical about religion, we lacked fondness for the babe we now so hopefully await. This season of longing before Christmas is perhaps the most appropriate time to explain what brought us back to the Church, and how we began to view the world through an Incarnational lens, centered on the radical truth of the Christ Child.
We both grew up as “cradle Catholics.” We attended Catholic schools,…

December 19th, 2013

While we’re on the subject of Christmas music, let me recommend two short musical dramas with Christmas themes.
Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors,… the first opera ever composed specifically for television, centers around Amahl, a handicapped shepherd boy with a tendency to make up stories. Amahl’s widowed mother, already driven to distraction by desperate poverty, doesn’t know how to cope with her son’s overactive imagination. One cold winter night, three kings arrive at their door, needing hospitality from the destitute shepherds. Amahl underlines this irony with some telling questions:
AMAHL: Are you a real king?
BALTHAZAR: Yes.
AMAHL: Have you regal blood?
BALTHAZAR: Yes.

December 18th, 2013

As a singer, I realize the natural bias that comes with the following statements:

Music is the universal language crossing all lines of ethnicity, economic background and experience.
Music communicates beyond the words sung or the notes played and can evoke moving emotions of the human spirit.

That being said, I find Christmas carols and songs to be a genre of music that inspires a joy and happiness that really sneaks up on you. Christmas music starts playing like clockwork in my parents’ home. The day after Thanksgiving, before we put up the Christmas tree and set up the decorations outside, we turn to our favorite Christmas songs to get us into the spirit. The Christmas season is one full of preparation, excitement…

December 18th, 2013

“We might as well be moving to Russia!” I wailed at my mother as I threw my Han Solo action figure into the packing box with the rest of my toys. The reality was we were moving from the North Side of Chicago to the South Side, but to a 7-year-old whose entire existence had been made up of a few city blocks, there was nothing more terrifying than leaving the comforting northern den of my beloved Cubs, for the thorny lair of the hated White Sox.
My mother had just remarried after my father’s death the year before. Added on to the indignity of leaving the only neighborhood I had ever known — where all my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents resided as well — was the fact that I would be changing…

December 17th, 2013

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has inspired me to be countercultural this Christmas. I can’t stop humming “Gabriel’s Message,” a traditional Basque carol that recalls the archangel’s famous visit to the Holy Virgin. (Speaking of angelic voices, you can listen to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles perform it right here!) This catchy carol briefly, but beautifully, sums up Mary’s unusual predicament in Luke 1:26-38:
The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady,” Gloria!
“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations…

December 16th, 2013

As children, my little sister and I took pleasure in watching seasonal movies in anticipation of Christmas. Among our favorites was a stop-motion animation feature based on “The Little Drummer Boy.” I have fond memories of watching Kara imitate the cartoon boy in the film, playing “pa rum pa pum pum” on her own little plastic drum. As children, I saw things so simply — a little boy played the drums for baby Jesus! As an adult, I see profound meanings in the lyrics. So, allow me to be an adult for the moment while I analyze the heck out of this song.
“Come they told me…”
In the song, the birth of a new King brings a quiet curiosity to Bethlehem. At the time of Jesus’…

December 13th, 2013

Advent is more than halfway over. Christmas is just around the corner. It’s Gaudete (“Rejoice”) Sunday in the Church. “Rejoice in the Lord always” are the words that gather us for prayer. “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom, they will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song,” Isaiah proclaims. The Third Sunday of Advent provides us with the opportunity to experience the joy possessed by those who have encountered Christ, the one who comes to save us.
But how many of us can relate more to John the Baptist in Sunday’s Gospel reading? He is imprisoned because he has lived his life searching for the one…

December 12th, 2013
Remembering the hungry during seasons of plenty

It’s difficult to write about hunger. First, hunger isn’t a pleasant topic. It challenges us to ask hard questions about how we meet everyone’s basic human needs. Second, I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. I could talk about the obscene number of children who go to bed hungry each night. I could talk about the proposed cuts to SNAP benefits (aka food stamps). I could talk about food deserts and lack of access to nutritious foods. I could talk about how healthy food is more expensive than junk food, and many who can’t afford it face health problems like obesity and diabetes. I could talk about how people with disabilities and people who are elderly have disproportionately…

December 11th, 2013
Holidays with family can be stressful — Here's how to survive

The holidays are fast approaching; don’t wait until it’s too late. No, I’m not talking about shopping. I’m talking about dealing with family and friends (especially family) during what has often been dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year.”
How will you know it’s too late? You’ll know it’s too late when you’re beaned in the middle of the forehead by a brown-and-serve biscuit while guzzling down your third glass of Merlot during Christmas dinner. Believe me, I’ve been there.
The holidays change a lot when you become an adult. Gone are the days of childhood, when Christmas’ sole worth was based entirely on what was under the tree:…

December 10th, 2013

“Good things come to those who wait,” is a consistent piece of advice given to those who suffer from extreme impatience. That is why I have heard it repeatedly these past 20 years. As a child, Christmas was one of those unique events that came regardless of whether I waited or not. For that reason, I never let Christmas come to me. Instead, I pursued Christmas with an unbridled haste. I began listening to Christmas music November 1; I had a Christmas wish list prepared at least three months in advance with all proper citations and references; and all pre-snow angel bodybuilding began long before the first snowfall. I chased Christmas as if, at any second, it might disappear. Of course it never did. But that…

December 6th, 2013

Advent is a precious time in the Christian calendar. The four weeks leading up to December 25 are meant to be a period of expectant waiting, as we prepare ourselves for the miraculous arrival of our Savior and his gifts of love, hope, joy, and peace.

The reality for most of us, though, is that these are anxious weeks of shopping and holiday planning leading up to a hectic Christmas Day. In the bustle of the holiday season, it’s hard to remember what we’re waiting for. Busted Halo’s 2013 Advent Surprise Calendar is here to help with that…

December 6th, 2013

Think you know what the Immaculate Conception is all about? Think again. Most people and even most Catholics tend to get this one wrong. Watch Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, hit the streets to talk to parents and their children about what is and what is not the Immaculate Conception.

December 5th, 2013
We ask a question that rolls around in a lot of people’s minds about Catholic priests not being allowed to marry

In the Catholic Church where clergy are celibate, the question comes up in discussion from time to time: Should priests be allowed to marry? Even an official at the Vatican is talking about it.
What would be the implications for the priesthood and local parishes?
We turned to some Busted Halo® friends for their opinions. Here’s what they had to say:
 
Steven Bell, CSP
I remember having my first conversation with a spiritual director about celibacy. As much as celibacy is considered in priestly circles as a “gift” that is so countercultural to the way many societies work, how does one find the impetus, rationale and energy to sustain it? My spiritual director offered the answer that works for…

December 4th, 2013
Rising above the immediacy of today's technological world during Advent

I finally got an iPhone. I often wait much longer than the average person to do things the average person is doing, like reading or seeing any of the Harry Potter series (and yes, my social life suffers after multiple HP references and the confusion that follows). I don’t know why I do it. Stubborn? Suspicious? Lazy? Perhaps a little of all three.
But my brother, the IT administrator in the family, made a commendable effort to convince me to get an iPhone, so I finally gave in. And of course, I love it. So much for being different.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a café with my friend and telling him that I distracted myself before falling asleep the previous night with thinking about how I might build an igloo if I was ever…

December 3rd, 2013
How the movie Don Jon helps us identify what sexual pleasure is really about

Last month, I saw the movie Don Jon. You may have heard of it — or heard others talk about it. The character development and story line are a great commentary on our modern hookup culture. And as we would expect, it’s full of lots of nudity and sex scenes. If you are trying to stay chaste, or even avoid porn yourself, then don’t see this movie. Despite the sexual content, what makes this movie great is its quest for the meaning of sex.
In the film we meet the typical (or stereotypical) single Italian Catholic man, Jon Martello, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Jon is stuck: He loves women, but he loves porn more. He and his buddies go out at night hoping to hook up, dissecting women based on a grading scale of their…

November 30th, 2013

The last month of the year already!
Here’s our December desktop image keeping you informed of all the dates you need to know as you journey through Advent. Remember, Advent is a time of hope and anticipation and patience. In addition to this wallpaper, we encourage you to use some of Busted Halo®‘s other tools to keep you focused on the season:

- the 2013 Advent Surprise Calendar
- Advent in 2 Minutes (video)
- You Don’t Know Jack!…About Advent (video)
- St. Nicholas is Comin’ to Town
- You Don’t Know Jack!…About the Immaculate Conception (video)
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download…

November 29th, 2013

It’s almost here — Black Friday. The big shopping day that follows the big eating and giving thanks day (although those lines are blurred more each year). There is something admirable about avoiding the frenzy altogether, but let’s be realistic. If you are going to venture out on Friday to start, continue, or finish your Christmas shopping, how do you avoid losing yourself in the consumer-driven, line-cutting, short-tempered mayhem? Here’s a guide for making it through the mall with your spirit intact:
Be grateful. Say thank you, out loud and with gusto, to anyone who holds open a door, moves aside in the aisle, or lets you pass them for a parking space. Remember, Thanksgiving — a day meant to…

November 27th, 2013

Thank you for sharing your stories of gratitude with us this month. They were reminders to us of how important it is to celebrate gratitude not only on one day, but throughout the year. It was truly a pleasure to read through the submissions — and difficult to pick winners!
We haves selected the following seven stories to share with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren Stark from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois (and Spain)
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

I had been in Spain for two days, and I was ready to go home. The problem was I still had 108 days to go. I was convinced that I’d never feel comfortable during my semester abroad. The food was new, the language was new, the

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