Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
November 14th, 2014

The recent news of parish closings and mergers in the Archdiocese of New York, one of the United States’ largest Catholic populations, reminds me of when I was facing the same closed doors.
During the “finale” of masses at my parish, St. James & St. Gerard’s in the Diocese of Buffalo, I remember sitting in the pew, watching the altar get blurry as tears were forming in my eyes. Even with the painful knowledge that the doors of my spiritual home were closing, in my memories there is a distinct sense of being surrounded by goodness.
I was encircled by a great community of people, and we all had history together. We felt like one body in Christ. The woman who said, “Peace be with you,” was a woman who sang in…

November 14th, 2014

One evening, at the end of the day, chores done, chicken curry eaten, and dog walked, my husband and I sat together in the living room. It appeared to be a calm space where we would talk about nothing more significant than whether we should watch the next episode of Sherlock…, our favorite BBC series. But then, I opened my mouth.
At the same time I opened my mouth, feelings rushed in behind the words. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer nastiness and mayhem in the world: Iraqi children fleeing their villages, the destruction in Gaza, the beheading of journalists and humanitarian workers by ISIS, climate change, and countless other stories, which I strove to avoid but somehow could not. I’d already gone upstairs

November 12th, 2014

Find a comfortable space where you can relax.
Sit comfortably.
Let go of any thoughts, images, or feelings that arise.
And get ready to feel gratitude…

November 6th, 2014
Exercises to Express Appreciation

INTRODUCTION­
It’s easy to take things for granted, especially some things like a job (that you HAVE TO GO TO each day), or a family (that you ARE CONSTANTLY surrounded by), or even friends (that you HAVE KNOWN FOREVER), or anything similar. It’s easy to forget why we are lucky for just about anything in our lives. That’s why it’s good to count our blessings, be thankful and show gratitude. This short retreat is intended to allow your group a little bit of time to reflect and think about gratitude in various aspects of your lives. (Click here for a printable pdf of this retreat.)
GETTING STARTED­…
This retreat is intended for a small group (4-9) of coworkers, family, or friends, or any small collection of people

November 2nd, 2014

With All Soul’s Day, November 2, Catholic parishes and other faith communities mark a month-long remembrance for all who have died. In the same spirit, we provide you this way to remember the people in your life who have died. This virtual retreat offers a chance for you to reflect more deeply on what they have taught you, as well as giving you an opportunity to offer thanks and determine how their legacy will guide your life.
Click here or on the image below to open/download a PDF of the retreat.

Click here or on the image above to open/download a PDF of the retreat.…

November 1st, 2014

Spooky October is finished and November is here: the month for all saints, all souls, elections, a little turkey and even Advent beginning on the very last day of the month.
Stay tuned to Busted Halo throughout the month as we’ll be featuring lots of ways to stay thankful and keep gratitude in mind this month and throughout the next year.
Download the November 2014 Wallpaper:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · Mobile · Facebook
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, mobile devices and a Facebook cover photo. Download the files directly above and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.…

October 29th, 2014

The celebration of Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve) comes just before All Saints Day and the Feast of All Souls (or Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed).
Generally, we associate this time of year with costumes, ghouls and trick-or-treating.
This year, though, as we approach the day of spooks and the day of saints, let’s get to know a little more about some of the Catholic saints. The five which follow can add an element of faith … and fright … to your Halloween:

& 2. St. Lucian and St. Marcian: Eye of newt and toe of frog
Saints Lucian and Marcian spent their early years conjuring up magical spells. Their charmed lives came to an end when they discovered their potions had no power when used against…

October 22nd, 2014
Call the Busted Halo® Cast and invite people to visit your church this weekend.

Share your parish/campus ministry with the Busted Halo® Cast! Call 917-591-8476 and let us know about it.

October 17th, 2014
Learning to trust God when you realize that you are not in control

When you become ill, seriously ill, you might feel hopeless or angry or full of despair. One of life’s most terrifying realizations is that we are not in control — God is. This virtual retreat provides guidance for prayer and reflection during the times when we need to trust God and to feel God’s presence, even when the future seems unclear. (Click here for a printable pdf of this retreat.)

GETTING STARTED­…
Find a quiet, comfortable place to experience this retreat – at home, outside, or at a local place of worship. If you are confined to bed, consider having someone open the blinds or curtains to brighten your room. Imagine the love of God as bright, warm light. Picture that light coursing through your

October 16th, 2014
Searching for answers after a natural disaster

Earthquakes and natural disasters are sometimes described as “Acts of God.” What a terrible misnomer. Storms occur due to natural phenomena — weather patterns, pressure systems, and, in the case of earthquakes, a shift in the earth’s plates. The causes of these disasters might be explored on The Weather Channel, but witnessing the profound loss and suffering they bring about can leave us struggling with doubt and searching for answers.
Among the questions that might arise is, “If we have an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful God, then why didn’t God prevent the suffering of innocent people and stop the storm?” This question is one of the oldest, and most struggled with, in the history…

October 15th, 2014
Halftime at the Synod brings with it an “earthquake” regarding the Church’s attitude toward the LGBT community.

As the extraordinary Synod of Bishops shared a midpoint document summarizing dis-cussions so far, we should remind ourselves that the Synod is far from over. In fact, there will be another session next year when Pope Francis will issue his own teachings on the subject of family. Nonetheless, several issues raised in the conversations so far should cause us to sit up and pay attention.
#1 New Attitude Toward the LGBT Community… — While the Synod upholds Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, there was a remarkable change in tone toward gay couples that the acclaimed Vaticanologist John Thavis called “an earthquake.” The document states first and foremost that “homosexuals have

October 15th, 2014

“Active waiting.” Isn’t that an oxymoron? We associate the word “active” with movement and energy. And isn’t “waiting” a passive term? Can we really simultaneously do both?
Consider the Serenity Prayer:
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
It challenges us to practice a healthy balance of action and contemplation. But how exactly do we discern when to step up and when to stand down with each new decision?

Have a conversation with God. 
Turn to God first. Not only because God knows our inner workings, tics, desires and weaknesses, but also because God just “gets it.” In…

October 10th, 2014

I wonder if you are like me in the morning. Do you gulp coffee, eat toast standing up, and hurl dishes into the dishwasher while watching Good Morning America?
On this particular morning, the news came through that one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, had committed suicide. My coffee cup hit the tiles and liquid cascaded across my kitchen floor.
“How could this happen?” I wailed to my husband, who was going through his own frantic dance of trying to leave for work.
“What happened, Annie?”
“Robin Williams committed suicide.”
He left his backpack on the floor and came skidding into the kitchen. From his face, he was as shocked as I was.
“How could someone who was loved by so many not know that he was…

October 7th, 2014

For Catholics, the Rosary is among the most popular forms of prayer. Many also believe that saying the Rosary has the power to affect great good in our world. It is prayed aloud each day in Catholic churches, on Catholic TV channels, and also online. There are even Rosary apps available. With 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, it is not a far reach to say that millions pray the Rosary each day.
October is the month of the Rosary, and October 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The term “rosary” comes from the Latin word “rosarium,” meaning rose garden, and refers to the religious practice of reciting prayers, as well as to the string of beads used for this purpose. In…

October 6th, 2014

Let’s be honest: Christianity is built on seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes. God becomes human. Jesus is both God and man. Death brings life. And we’re all called to be last so that we might be first.
It’s a lot to take in — and that’s why we should all be particularly interested in this week’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. There’s a lot of paradox — a lot of seemingly irreconcilable difference –and we get a front-row seat to watch the Holy Spirit work.
Any cursory glance through Catholic news reports and blogs over the last few months will show you what I mean. We’ve seen journalists at each other’s throats trying to interpret…

October 1st, 2014

Climate change is in the air, so instead of going with a scary Halloween photo for this month, we decided on an even more terrifying image: “Glacier Affected by Climate Change Seen in Antarctica”.

September 30th, 2014
How St. Thérèse of Lisieux answered my prayers

In a time where instant gratification is the rule of the day, do we allow ourselves the opportunity to wait for an answer to a prayer? Most of the time, getting the answer takes a while. On other occasions, prayer affords quicker, clarion moments that provide understanding, enlightenment, and very cool opportunities for growth. This feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux serves as a reminder to me of how modern this wonderful saint is. And, what a blessing it was for her to show me that prayer works.
That blessing began to unfold as I was going about my chores on a particular Sunday, tackling the “excitement” of laundry and more in my apartment. I was listening to a Catholic podcast, and the host happened to be discussing…

September 11th, 2014

Try Busted Halo’s® Virtual Transitions Retreat and spend some time reflecting on the spiritual meaning of transitions in our lives. Download the retreat (if you print it — print on both sides of the paper!) by clicking the image below. Take a few minutes out of your day — at your desk, on your lunch break, between classes — and grow a deeper appreciation that God is with us in the midst of change.
Click image below to open or download the 3-page PDF.

Click an image to open or download the 3-page PDF.

Click an image to open or download the 3-page PDF.…

September 10th, 2014

Ok, I give in. Everybody I know under the age of 40 seems to have invested in these tiny, expensive Fitbits, which you snap on your wrist or clip on your shorts. They measure your steps, the flights of stairs you’ve climbed, general exercise, and calories expended. They talk to you. In cheery, shrill little voices very early in the morning.
“Hi, Annie!”
“Good luck!” (Did it say “sweetie” or did I just imagine that?)
“UcandoitAnn”
My take on this whole “I-am-going-to-monitor-every-activity-of-my-day stuff” is that, sure, it can make sense. It may help you get more control over your eating and exercise. But, really? I need to know all of this?
I have a proposal. A fine one, I think. Let’s invent…

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