Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
July 17th, 2013

I have just made a remarkable discovery, aided and abetted by Susan Cain’s marvelous book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World Which Cannot Stop Talking.
Here’s my surprise: I always thought I was an extrovert. I am basically at ease in social situations, don’t have trouble initiating conversations (since I got a small tattoo, I have found that a great way to begin talking to others), have been elected to leadership positions numerous times, ad nauseum. But — I really do not like working in groups. It is not my strength. I am far better and more productive working on my own (I am a writer, after all), taking long walks with the dog and thinking about things like Original Sin and the Big…

July 8th, 2013
Channelling God through good design for prayer and worship spaces

I recently moved from Boston to Providence into a one-bedroom apartment. It gave me the chance to renew and use my new space more intentionally than when I shared with housemates. The use of space can have a great effect on one’s spiritual life. The Georgetown University Center for Liturgy had a project called EnVisionChurch, which helped churches discern liturgical architecture, the use of art and space, and put them in touch with professionals who could help in design and renovation. It’s kind of like feng shui for churches.
My goal was to create a personal prayer space in my living room that I would use regularly. It had to be attractive and comfortable enough, and help facilitate my prayer and…

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 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 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 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 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 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 1st, 2013

Happy May Day! Today is the first day of the the month of Mary and here’s our latest wallpaper helping to remind you about the important holidays and holy days of the month.
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]…

April 29th, 2013
How the reality of Jesus' resurrection changes how we see the world

I mentioned in a recent Busted Halo® article that since my mother’s death last August, I have begun to see the disciples of Jesus as friends who can accompany me in my own faith journey. As I reflected on the Gospel readings each day of the Octave of Easter (the week immediately following Easter Sunday) this year, my eyes, like theirs, began to open a bit more.
I began to see a common thread in the resurrection appearances — something that I can relate to. Jesus himself names this common element: a lack of faith, and stubbornness or “hardness of heart.” If I can understand why it was difficult for the followers of Jesus to believe, I thought to myself, I might be able to understand why it is difficult for me.…

April 23rd, 2013

All right, I admit it; there are a ton of things about not being brought up Catholic that clearly put me at risk. Or at least at a disadvantage. Case in point:
I usually do Reconciliation three to four times a year face-to-face with my favorite priest, a man of deep learning, wide experience and compassionate soul. He’s been there for my family in times of joy and times of great pain, and there is nothing I wouldn’t trust this guy with. But given how busy this amazing man is, I just couldn’t ask him to do Reconciliation and spiritual direction with me before Lent this year. So, I emailed the priest at the parish I now attend. And I know he is enormously busy too, as we’ve just lost our parochial vicar.…

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 1st, 2013

Habemus wallpaper!
We have a new pope and wanted to show him off in our latest wallpaper. Use this for your laptop, desktop or mobile device to stay up-to-date with all the feast days of April.
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]…

March 31st, 2013
A look at Easter's holy and worldly symbols

Check out this downloadable high-res PDF guide to the Easter’s holy and worldly symbols

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…

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