in flight to washington: busted halo

I’m currently 37,000 feet above the United States, just crossing the Sabine River out of Texas. This is my first flight aboard an EMB. This American Eagle-operated airplane was 13 rows with 3 seats in each row with no first class- for those who wouldn’t like to fire up the calculator, that means 39 plus a crew of 3 or 4.
To pass the time, I’m doing a few different things. First, I’m doing homework. I’ve written most of a film review for my Studies of U.S. Poverty course and now I’m writing a blog entry. While the blog entry would usually be personal time for me, my Collaborate Technologies course asks a few blog entries from me. While doing all of this, I’m listening to old Busted Halo podcasts. Busted Halo is a young adult website produced by The Paulist Fathers.
I’ve somewhat read the print material on Busted Halo and to be honest, it has never jumped up to the top of my bookmark list (or now my links or a feed on Google Reader). Everything on there seems to be great; just never really called out to me. By virtue of working for the Paulists through the University Catholic Center, I’ve been able to meet a good number of people involved with Busted Halo and I’ve even been recruited to help with their Word on the Street segment (I still need to produce something! Fr. Dave Dywer, CSP (NYD, since he’s the Fr. Dave in NYC) if you’re reading, I haven’t forgotten about it yet!). My boss, Fr. Dave Farnum, CSP (TXD as NYD has referred to him), recently traveled to a preaching conference and walked away after talking to NYD with the idea of podcasting some of the homilies from the University Catholic Center.
I figured, what the heck, if I’m going to start producing podcasts for Fr. Dave and the UCC, I should listen to some of the Busted Halo podcasts. I downloaded all 73 released episodes and I’m currently listening to the 4th episode- I’m impressed.
In terms of new media- Internet-accessed media, EWTN has been the big fish in the Catholic pond. EWTN is a fine network and produces quality Catholic content. The downside to EWTN’s content is that there is a high assumption that you’re already well-formed in the Church. A random member of the intended audience has probably been Catholic for sometime, attend Mass every Sunday if not more often, may have a decent understanding of Catholicism and Catholic tradition. If you’re on the fringe of the Catholic Church or not even in the Church at all, there is a high barrier of entry presented by EWTN.
I’ve really enjoyed the Busted Halo podcasts so far as that barrier of entry is eliminated. The assumption made by NYD and Mike is that if you’re listening, you’re seeking to grow closer to God and are open to the Catholic tradition. Now, this is not to say that these podcasts contain only very superficial material. This was my fear and it was proven incorrect.
Some of the topics they have touched upon is the role of fundamentalism in today’s political landscape in an interview with former President Jimmy Carter, explaining some of various saints and holy people (St. Nick, Dorothy Day and others) without shying away from some of the darker aspects of these individuals background, looking at parishes across the United States that have young-adult programming. NYD went into the need for confession, including why when a Catholic is under serious (mortal) sin he or she should abstain from Communion.
In other words, I think anyone could listen to these podcasts and be able to follow what is going on without a problem. At the same time as an amateur Church expert, I enjoy listening myself and have found these podcasts useful and interesting.







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