Best of 2013

bestof2013-bigAs we look back over 2013, we’re reminded of all of the great stories, columns, blog posts, podcasts, brackets, and videos we’ve published.

Here are the editors’ picks for “Best of 2013.”

What was your favorite Busted Halo feature in 2013?

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass in Lampedusa, Italy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)“Francis Is a Rock Star” by Michael O’Loughlin

Well, it’s official. Pope Francis is a hit. Esquire magazine, not exactly an outlet that praises the Catholic Church on a regular basis, highlighted some of the reasons why Francis is so “awesome”: “He has said that he believes priests should be ‘shepherds with the smell of the sheep’ and he is living that way.” (continue reading here)

restlessness-3“Living the Questions: A Twentysomething’s Battle with Restlessness” by Jennifer Sawyer

I spend a whole lot of time feeling restless. The type of restlessness that not only keeps me from sleeping at night, but dominates my entire mind with questions and anxieties and hesitations. (continue reading here)

forgiveness“Why Is It So Hard To Forgive?” by Andy Otto

Back in 2004, Victoria Ruvolo made national news when an 18-year-old named Ryan hurled a 20-pound frozen turkey at her moving car. It shattered her facial bones, damaged her esophagus, and caused some brain damage. It nearly killed her, but at Ryan’s sentencing Victoria forgave him and asked for a shorter prison sentence. (continue reading here)

FrStevesSpookySaints-flash“St. Christina the Astonishing (Fr. Steve’s Spooky Saints)” — VIDEO

The saints are our mentors and models who show us ways to live our faith. However, some of their stories can be terrifying and downright…spooky. Fr. Steve presents one of these spookier saintly stories as he tells the tale of Saint Christina the Astonishing — a woman that some called mad, and some called holy. (watch video here)

Residents are framed by the architecture of Lahore's Badshahi Mosque as they offer Eid al-Fitr prayers. (CNS photo/Mohsin Raza, Reuters)“Why I Say Allahu Akbar” by Jordan Denari

This evening, as I left an Amman café after sharing a croissant with an old friend, I was greeted simultaneously by the echoes of the evening call to prayer and a bright full moon in the fading light. “Allahu akbar!” called the muezzin, “God is greater!” (continue reading here)

Jesus-musicmoviesmemes2“Pop Christ: Jesus in Music, Movies, and Memes” by Louis Sullivan

I’m going to go out on a ledge here and just say this: Kanye West isn’t all that bad. He’s been getting a lot of press lately surrounding his “Yeezus” tour, particularly for bringing “Jesus” on stage at the kickoff concert of the tour for his grand finale. (continue reading here)

A Ukrainian-made angel adorns the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Have Yourself a Holy Little Advent: A Convert’s Guide to the Season” by Caitlin Kennell Kim

Having emerged from your tryptophan-induced stupor, you awoke on Friday to the triumphant proclamation that it is Christmas. The TV says so. Every big box retailer in your neighborhood says so. The lights and wreathes and inflatable Santas that appeared like magic overnight say so. To this I say, bah. Humbug! (continue reading here)

Atheists and nonbelievers gather for the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. (CNS photo/Tyrone Turner courtesy of Religion News Service)“Even the Atheists” by Mike Hayes

It’s often that religious people adopt a “holier than thou” attitude that professes that they have all the answers and that their particular religion is the wing nut that holds God together for the rest of the planet. (“If they’d only join OUR religion, all would be well with the world.”) And while I’m sure that Pope Francis would hope that most people would in fact, see the beauty of Catholicism, last week he reminded all of us that “doing good” surpasses any affirmation of a particular faith tradition. (continue reading here)

lifestylegratitudejournal2“Living a Lifestyle of Gratitude” by Christina Gebel

I distinctly remember the day I sat in my junior English class after returning from Christmas break. My teacher asked us what our New Year’s resolutions were for the year. To be honest, I can’t remember mine, but I remember a classmate’s: starting a gratitude journal. That sounded like a good idea to me, too. (continue reading here)

mascotology-flash-day1“Catholic Mascotology: Which School’s Mascot Is Best?”

Busted Halo® celebrated the new school year with another Catholic bracket: Catholic Mascotology — a contest to determine which Catholic school has the best mascot. The bracket featured a total of 32 school mascots competing for the top prize. (continue reading here) (view the entire series here) (check out the final results here)