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Busted Halo's 10th birthday toasted at New York gala

Busted Halo's Father Dave Dwyer, CSP (left), EWTN's Joan Lewis and Edward Cardinal Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York, pause for a photo during the Busted Halo 10th anniversary gala March 8.
Busted Halo's Father Dave Dwyer, CSP (left), EWTN's Joan Lewis and Edward Cardinal Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York, pause for a photo during the Busted Halo 10th anniversary gala March 8.
by Stefani Manowski
March 12, 2012
Cardinal Egan addresses the celebration

What a difference a decade makes.

In the beginning, there wasn’t even any office furniture. Now Busted Halo®, the Paulist media ministry for spiritual seekers in their 20s and 30s, had the biggest day in its online history on Ash Wednesday Feb 22 with 56,000 visitors to the Busted Halo® Web site and 100,000 views on YouTube.

Some 125 people gathered March 8 to celebrate Busted Halo®’s 10 years of record breaking ministry to young adults, including guest of honor and keynote speaker Edward Cardinal Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York. The gala dinner was appropriately held in the parish hall of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan, the mother church of the Paulist Fathers.

What would become Busted Halo® was founded by Father Brett Hoover, CSP, and Mike Hayes with the mandate from the Paulist Fathers to “do something on the Internet to reach out to young adults,” according to Mr. Hayes.

The group began with podcasts recorded in the abandoned radio station located in the basement of the Paulist residence in New York to a hugely popular and material-rich web site, weekday show on The Catholic Channel of SiriusXM satellite radio, a YouTube station and, of course, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Paulist Founder Father Isaac T. Hecker planted the seeds for Busted Halo®’s success more than 150 years ago, Cardinal Egan told the crowd, recalling the day in 2008 when he personally named Father Hecker a Servant of God and officially opened his cause for canonization.

“Father Hecker used the available means of communication and new ways of doing things to reach the people,” the cardinal said. “What we are celebrating tonight is the continuation of the greatness of Isaac Hecker, and I hope Busted Halo® sees it that way. You are walking in the footsteps of one of the truly great thinkers in the history of the United States and of the church.”

With more young adults ambivalent about religion and regarding the Catholic Church specifically as out of touch with their lives, “this [ministry] comes at a time when we need Busted Halo®.”

“We want to reverse those trends,” said Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, the director of Busted Halo® and host of The Busted Halo® Show broadcast weeknights from 7-9 p.m. on SiriusXM Channel 129. “We want to help young adults find a deeper meaning in life and discover the relevance in their lives of Jesus and his church.”

Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, director of Busted Halo and host of The Busted Halo Show on SiriusXM satellite radio, smiles as Edward Cardinal Egan of New York delivers the keyonte address during the gala dinner celebrating Busted Halo's 10th anniversary of ministry held March 8.

Gala attendee Erin Osborne, 27, enjoys the Busted Halo® radio show and Web site because, “it reaches out to everybody.”

“You can always find something to relate to, get a new take on things people are already talking about,” she said.

Erin’s mother, Jeanne Osborne, said Busted Halo® fills a definite need, especially for college-aged young adults who are not attending church.

“It brings them back to their faith with a kind of personal reach out,” she said.

For 27-year-old John Burke, the columnists and regular features of the Busted Halo® Web site are particularly interesting.

“The columnists and writers seem like they are real people, and I appreciate that” he said. “The features like ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ are fun, informative and fresh.”

As for the future of Busted Halo®, Father Dwyer told the gala attendees he hopes they are back to celebrate next year with even more viewers, listeners, ideas and creativity.

And Cardinal Egan anticipates exactly that, noting that Father Hecker must be “looking down from heaven and smiling.”

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