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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
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October 25th, 2011

Two things to keep in mind if you want a singing assembly: 1) musical repertoire and 2) musical leaders. In choosing music for Mass, we must be sure that is easy enough for the assembly to sing. If you choose a piece that is technically challenging, then the assembly is more likely to listen rather than participate. One great way to get an assembly singing is to do…

October 24th, 2011

The song “Ave Maria” is a popular choice for Catholic weddings, and it is liturgically appropriate to include it, if the couple chooses to do so. (In fact, it was a part of my own wedding Mass.) When the bride and/or groom has a close relationship to Mary, the song can be a special way to honor that. And because the vocation of marriage often includes raising children,…

October 21st, 2011

These two terms are often used interchangeably, although in the synoptic gospels the apostles generally refer to the 12 men explicitly called by Jesus to follow him while the disciples are a more inclusive larger group that can be thought of as including the apostles.
The apostles listed in these gospels are: Simon (also called Peter), Andrew, James son of Zebedee,…

October 20th, 2011

Although Roman collars, habits and wedding rings are widely recognizable signs of the wearer’s life commitment, these visual markers are customs, not requirements (except in the case of some religious orders that do require the habit.) The fact that a person is not displaying one of these signs does not automatically mean that he or she is available for romantic…

October 19th, 2011

Sure. However, it is important to make the distinction between practice and belief here. Yoga actually grew up in the Hindu tradition (not the Buddhist tradition) and was seen as a total way of life and belief; not just techniques, practices or ideas, but also eating habits, bathing habits, meditation, social interaction, and work. Today, most practitioners…

October 18th, 2011

Standing together after the reception of Holy Communion is a sign of unity that we are truly the Body of Christ, which we have just received. However, in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, there are no specific guidelines for a posture after the reception of Holy Communion. There are posture guidelines for the Eucharistic Prayer leading up to the reception…

October 17th, 2011

Although nun’s habits (particularly the veils) may make them look like Mary, the habit actually has a broader symbolic meaning. Traditionally speaking, the habit is an outward sign of the nun’s vocation, a way of identifying her total dedication to God. (Even the religious orders who no longer wear formal habits often have some element of their dress,…

October 14th, 2011

Generally speaking “Israelites” refer to the ancestors of the Jews whose story is told in the Old Testament. In the book of Genesis, Abraham’s grandson Jacob was renamed “Israel”(Genesis 32:28) and following that renaming, Jacob’s descendants were commonly referred to as Israelites. It was centuries before the religion of the Israelites…

October 13th, 2011

If your dog is a service dog and you or another member of your wedding party depend on it in order to participate in the liturgy, then you should be able to include the dog. You can even put a bow on its collar if Fido will tolerate it! But you can’t have a pet in your wedding for any other purpose. Liturgy, by definition, is the work of the people – it is the way that we…

October 13th, 2011

The best answer to your question is that you should first make an appointment with your parish priest. Each person’s situation is different and each annulment case is unique; your priest will work with you through the process and guide you through the steps that are necessary for you.
As you are considering an annulment process, another preliminary step is…

October 12th, 2011

Question: My daughter and I are doing research on a Saint from China (she is adopted from there). What is St. Lucy Yi ZhenMei the patron saint of?
While not any official patronage is assigned yet to St. Lucy Yi ZhenMei, she is one of the newly canonized Martyr-Saints of China.
She was born in 1815 and was always very pious even professing chastity at the age of 12. She…

October 11th, 2011

Question: Regarding candles…what’s the proper rubric regarding lit and unlit candles on the altar?  (e.g.  Lit by the ambo at liturgy of the word and extinguished when lit of Eucharist starts?  None lit on the altar until liturgy of Eucharist?  Any lit by the Blessed Sacrament?)
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal outlines just…

October 10th, 2011

The patron saint for cancer in general is St. Peregrine. (There are a few others, but Peregrine is the most well-known.) Most specific forms of cancer, female or otherwise, don’t have their own patron saint (one notable exception is St. Agatha for breast cancer). That said, if you know of someone dealing with cancer, there’s no reason why you couldn’t…

October 7th, 2011

The Pentateuch is the technical term for the first five books of the Bible (“penta” = five, teuchos = book): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is also sometimes called the Torah or referred to as the Five Books of Moses, since traditionally their authorship has been attributed to Moses, although scholars know now that is a false assumption.…

October 5th, 2011

With the implementation date for the third edition of the Roman Missal just a few months away, (the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011), NOW is the time to start preparing communities for the transition. In order to make the transition easier for the people in the pews, catechesis on the new texts should begin, at the latest, in October. There are a plethora…

October 4th, 2011

Your question is one of the most frequently asked “religious” questions. It has become a big question becauseso many people, like yourself, have pets for whom they feel affection and therefore sadness when their pet dies. The most honest answer to your question is that we don’t know.
Death and what comes after death is a mystery. We Christians…

October 3rd, 2011

The main option for the “Blessing of Animals” comes from the Book of Blessings (which is available in your nearest sacristy as well as from Liturgical Press). The blessing is composed of a Liturgy of the Word and then a Blessing over the Animals. If you are looking for something a little more creative, look into some writings from St. Francis of Assisi, whose…

September 30th, 2011

Bathsheba is sometimes misrepresented as the woman who committed adultery with King David, although from the story in 2 Samuel 11-12 it appears that David either seduced her or even raped her. In the original Hebrew, the phrase in 2 Sam 11:4 makes clear that David was the active subject and Bathsheba was the object of his actions. He sent his messengers to bring…

September 26th, 2011

I consulted the website for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and from their list of Catholic schools, I counted 46 whose names are Marian in character. Most of these are schools that were obviously named after Mary, like the many schools that are called Notre Dame (French for “Our Lady”) or that have Mary in the name (like the University…

September 23rd, 2011

My knee-jerk response to this was no, because that’s what the good sisters told me in Catholic school thirty years ago. But I did a little research, and found that it’s not quite as clear-cut as that.
On the one hand, it makes sense that the sisters told us not to drape rosaries around our necks. The rosary isn’t jewelry; it’s a sacramental, which is an object…

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