Busted Halo

If you’re headed back to (or new to) college, we’ve got some helpful resources for a smooth transition.

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August 22nd, 2014

dorm-room-homesickness2We all long for home sometimes. College freshman, graduate students, and those who bravely relocate their whole life for work … this one’s for you. If you’ve ever missed home from afar, you know that it’s a terrible feeling that can really get you into a rut. Don’t fall for it! Use these tips to strip homesickness of its power (or at least take the edge off.) You’re brave for making a big change; so don’t let homesickness overshadow that victory. We’ve all been there, now here’s what you can do about it.

Stay busy. Busyness will stop you from throwing a pity party and isolating yourself. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re productive with your time.

Stay connected to home (within reason). Sometimes a nice call home will do the trick. Try video chatting or staying connected with friends and family via social media, but don’t forget to live in the present!

Make new friends. Now that you’re in a new place, take the time to make new friends and build new relationships. Half the comfort of home is the people.

Old photos. Bring along old photos of fond memories with friends and family. You can …

August 21st, 2014

summer-bucket-list-1It’s the end of summer and you know what that means…REGRET! To many, all the dreams and plans of your “EPIC SUMMER 2014” are now being inventoried, and you’re realizing that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t get to do everything you wanted to do. Fear not. No need for regret. The summer can still be salvaged. Not just on a hope and a prayer, but there’s a real science to efficient summer bucketlisting* (*Not an officially recognized gerund).

Friday 4:27 p.m. — Take out your written list and tweet it out to all your friends. This creates accountability and pressure. You cannot fail. Everyone knows what you are doing (and what you haven’t done). Tweet with determination and grit. You will be asked about this on Monday.

Friday 4:59 p.m. — Leave work one minute early. This jumpstart will provide momentum into your weekend and allow you that extra 60 seconds of time you need to fulfill your summer goals.

Friday 5:38 p.m. — Arrive at your home. Hydrate. Change into weekend clothes. Put your phone on airplane mode.

Now at this point, I can easily prescribe an action packed, non-stop itinerary involving hot air ballooning, cooking classes, yoga on …

August 20th, 2014
Easy ways to survive -- and have fun -- without breaking the bank

dorm-room-livingbudgetIt’s no secret that most college students don’t arrive on campus with unlimited resources. Here are five tips for making your money go as far as it can, while still having a good time.

Establish your (monetary) priorities

This may seem like clichéd advice, but it’s easier — and more important — than you might think. Like the countless distractions from studying, there are many things out there to tempt you to spend money. Contrary to how it may seem at the time, your college experience won’t be significantly affected if you don’t go to see every band that has a hit song on the radio. Making a list of your fiscal priorities is a great way to help you curb your extraneous spending. Additionally, keeping track of how much money you spend (not just the major purchases) is the best way to always know where you stand financially.

Used books don’t have to come from your school’s bookstore

While it can be convenient to get everything in one place at one time, it is often possible to find the textbooks you need at cheaper prices, including shipping. Amazon.com has a great variety of textbooks of different editions and you …

August 19th, 2014

Young women wait for Pope Francis to arrive to celebrate the closing Mass of the Asian Youth Day at Haemi Castle in Haemi, South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Young women wait for Pope Francis to arrive to celebrate the closing Mass of the Asian Youth Day at Haemi Castle in Haemi, South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

South Korea is hardly a common summer destination.

But Pope Francis is not a common man, and by now, we’ve come to expect — even eagerly anticipate — his uncommon approach. So, what did the “Francis Factor” look like on Korean soil?

It looked like peace and reconciliation in the face of tense division. It looked like simple humility in the face of wealth and prestige. It looked like solidarity, human dignity and, perhaps most importantly, dialogue. It looked like an elderly Argentinean man dressed in white, driving about in a Kia, greeting people, encouraging them, comforting them and mourning with them when they were in pain.

Simply stepping foot on Korean soil reaffirmed the pope’s commitment to go to the margins, to encounter those who often go overlooked. As only the third pope to visit Asia and the second to visit Korea (St. John Paul II visited in 1984), Francis arguably turned international expectations on their head. Catholics, at 10.9 percent of the population, are well in the minority, and Francis’ …

August 19th, 2014
A guide to getting along with roommates the first year of college

dorm-room-roommatesAh, the beginning of freshman year of college. The living situation is dreaded by students and parents alike: parents because of empty nest syndrome, and students because of roommates. In all honesty, new college students will not be living on their own; they’ll be sharing their space with one, two, even three people at school. Dorm life does not stop at sharing physical space; it grows into sharing time (waking up, going to bed, watching TV), sharing responsibilities, and sharing personalities. Living with people means getting along with others in the most extreme sense: you are literally coexisting with someone else. It may seem like a lot to process, but do not fret! Busted Halo® interviewed Vickki Massy, the assistant director of Residential Life at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in New York City, and asked for some counsel for incoming freshman.

Busted Halo: What do you think are the hardest and easiest parts of living in a college dorm?
Vickki Massy: The hardest part of living at college is probably making friends and lifelong connections. When you move in, everything is going so fast, which makes finding your voice and building connections more difficult. Luckily, those connections you make

August 18th, 2014


The weather’s great. The sun is calling. So, get moving and enjoy what’s left of summer with these tips for praying outdoors. Do you have advice for taking your prayer life into the open air? Share it in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: The Naked Cowboy in Times Square, August, 2006. Photo by Ryan McGinnis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

August 14th, 2014
Tips for creating a sound budget

dorm-room-budgettipsLiving on your own for the first time is a new and exciting way to assert your independence. Moving out for good, or away for college, is a big step, but there’s no doubt that it can be costly. Don’t worry! If you commit to some monthly planning for cost-effective spending, there’s no reason you can’t have fun — without going broke.

Here are seven tips for navigating the costs of independent living, and categories you can use to create a monthly budget:

Rent and utilities 

If you’re living on your own, chances are you’re paying your own rent and utilities. While this is a sign of independence, it’s also a huge responsibility which needs to be at the top of your list of priorities. Budget out your rent and utilities from your monthly income right away, to avoid a pile up of bills and overdue rent. If you have roommates, sit down and figure out a system for making sure rent and bills are paid on time and distributed fairly.

Books on the cheap 

If you’re still a college student, don’t fall for the campus bookstore trap unless absolutely necessary. The school bookstore, even for used books, can be …

August 12th, 2014
Foods that fight anxiety and some recipe ideas, too 

dorm-room-stressfoodsSchool supplies are starting to show up on store shelves and back-to-school sales are making their annual debuts at clothing stores. The start of a new school year (and the end to summer fun) might make your stress level start to rise. When the pressure starts getting to you, instead of reaching for a candy bar, take a few deep breaths and try some of the foods on this list. They are proven to help fight off anxiety and stress while being super delicious!

Milk — Something you’ve probably been drinking for years, but maybe not as often as you should be without your mother there to tell you to! Milk has the protein lactium, which has calming properties in the way that it lowers blood pressure. Milk is also extraordinarily high in calcium and potassium, which can help relax muscles. Add chocolate (another anti-stress food) to this drink and you have another healthy snack, specifically good for post-workout. It replenishes your body and muscles with its high carbohydrate and protein content.

Cashews — In fact, most nuts (including almonds and walnuts) are a great snack to have when you’re feeling a bit stressed. They have huge amounts of …

August 7th, 2014

It started as an inspirational speech in my living room. My close friends were seated on our couch, the victimized listeners. Sam was in town from Peru, and we were discussing our plan to visit him in six months. We all agreed that if we were spending a paycheck and a half to fly down there, we might as well see one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. After making the case for the four-day hike to the ruins, as opposed to the train, I ended by exclaiming, “In the name of adventure!” punching my fist in the air for dramatic effect.

Looking back, I am mildly surprised I was such a rabble rouser. I love adventure and traveling; don’t get me wrong. I love the outdoors but wouldn’t say I do the outdoors. I also don’t do heavy things. If a friend asks me to help him/her move, I think of what else I might possibly have to do that day. Carry my stuff up a mountain? Was this my quarter-life crisis?

Months later, the first day of the hike began. I vividly remember the opening speech of one of our guides: “We are going …

August 5th, 2014

A scene from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.” (CNS photo/Disney)

A scene from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.” (CNS photo/Disney)

It’s been a while since I’ve essentially claimed a movie character is a stand-in for Jesus, and honestly, it would be almost too easy to call this “Our Star-Lord and Savior” and talk to you for a few paragraphs about the Christ-like qualities of Guardians of the Galaxy’s main character, Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill (or “Star Lord,” as he prefers to be called). But to do that would be to ignore the brilliant ensemble that the Guardians truly are, to skip out on all the dynamic characters and relationships that the team brings. Frankly, it just wouldn’t be right.

So let’s get into it: What do you know about the Guardians of the Galaxy? Could you even name who’s in the team? Don’t worry if you can’t. Even for comic book buffs like myself, they’re a little obscure. The team is comprised of five members — smooth-talking leader Peter Quill/Star-Lord, fierce green-skinned assassin Gamora, vengeful warrior Drax, and the duo you’re most likely to recognize, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, a genetically enhanced talking raccoon and a giant tree-man whose only vocabulary consists of the sentence “I am …

August 4th, 2014

arewethereyet-5“Are we there yet?”

Anyone who’s been on a long enough car ride (especially with a little kid) is certainly more than familiar with the oft-repeated phrase. After a while, taking a trip ends up taking its toll on the people who are traveling. Yet along with the monotony a long journey can bring, surely there is some value in the voyage itself (other than just getting us to our destinations, of course!).

Allow me to paint a scene for you. It begins with a long road, stretching miles between two cities. Along this dusty road walk two travelers, keeping up a strong and steady pace in hope of reaching their destination on time. Like anyone else who travels, these two begin to get bored. The “Are we there yet?” phase starts to settle in. They talk with one another, discussing current events.

Suddenly they are joined by a third party, a fellow journeyman walking down the road in the same direction as them. Our two travelers welcome this man, and invite him to be part of their conversation. They speak to him about a friend of theirs who recently died, among other matters. As it starts to get late, …

August 1st, 2014

Pope Francis waves as he delivers Sunday Angelus.All is lost with with war, especially children's lives and future, the pope said. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Francis waves as he delivers Sunday Angelus.All is lost with with war, especially children’s lives and future, the pope said. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Lately, we’ve been bombarded with so many sad events. From the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down in Ukraine, to children and others fleeing Central America because of unbearable gang violence, to the fighting between Israel and Palestine, the world indeed looks like a precarious place.

In times like these, we are called to pray for and to do whatever is necessary for peace. And Pope Francis has given us good examples of both.

Regarding the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis drew attention especially to minors seeking asylum from the violence and oppression in a speech directed mostly at Mexico, but with a clear call for U.S. immigration policy officials to pay attention.

“Such a humanitarian emergency demands as a first urgent measure that these minors be protected and duly taken in,” Pope Francis said. He reminds us not to forget those in harm’s way when we can easily be preoccupied with our own personal worries and problems.

When Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down, the pope called not

July 31st, 2014
A personal take on playing “God Bless America” at Major League Baseball games

Players stand on the field for the national anthem before an opening day game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves in Washington, D.C. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

Players stand on the field for the national anthem before an opening day game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves in Washington, D.C. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

I have been a fan of the New York Yankees for just about my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I have spent countless hours watching games in the only chair that directly faces the TV in my kitchen. In 2003, when I was 9 years old, my parents took me to my first Yankees game. Out of everything that went on at the game, one particular moment has stuck in my mind: the seventh inning stretch.

Just as it did when the Yankees took on the Seattle Mariners that night, Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” blares over the PA system at every game played in Yankee Stadium. I can recall vividly the way the entire stadium stood up (some silently, some über-patriotically belting out the words) to honor America and the military personnel serving both at home and abroad. I remember the overwhelming sense of patriotism and pride I felt being a part of the crowd of more than 30,000 people that stood up to …

July 29th, 2014

A photo from Rebecca's trip to new Mexico.

A photo from Rebecca’s trip to new Mexico.

The summer before last, I took a trip — a pilgrimage, if you will — to a little town in New Mexico called Las Cruces. Though the raison d’être of the journey was purely medical (and that was not at all exciting for me), I was excited to finally be going to a place that wasn’t on the East Coast. So, when I boarded the plane, my mental plans firmly included not letting the doctor’s office completely encompass my time and thoughts.

I succeeded in that respect. I spent plenty of time in restaurants, tasting the local cuisine, and outdoors, enjoying the radically different desert climate and the bizarre (since I’m used to the deciduous and coniferous types) flora and fauna. On various hikes, including trails such as the Dripping Springs Natural Area and the Pine Tree Loop, as well as the White Sands National Monument, I had the chance to meet with all new kinds of life, greatly broadening my knowledge of God’s creation. At some points, I experienced nature a bit more closely than I would have liked — as per my terrifying encounter with a Tarantula Hawk

July 28th, 2014
When communion bread started to taste as challenging as a vanilla wafer, we refreshed our faith with a different kind of vacation service

Young girls carry the World Youth Day cross upon its arrival in the South African province of Eastern Cape. (CNS photo/Koadi Mathibedi)

Young girls carry the World Youth Day cross upon its arrival in the South African province of Eastern Cape. (CNS photo/Koadi Mathibedi)

We hopped into a little Nissan Almera and started off around Table Mountain. The South African landmark stood, flat-topped, above Cape Town. The city we knew flowed down to the harbor from there. We were headed to the other side, one that most visitors don’t see.

The car was steered by Matsepane Morare, a Jesuit priest in denim and fringe. Matsepane was going to take my husband and me to Mass in a township behind the mountain, where a large percentage of Cape Town’s 3.7 million residents live.

For years, I’d attended local churches while on vacation. Even when conducted in another language, the familiar ceremony reassured me. The communion bread went down like a vanilla wafer. I always got the comforting, if slightly bland, sense that we share the same Christian faith worldwide.

Typically, these churches were just the closest ones to my hotel. What I’d never done was seek one out more deliberately, by finding out which local parishes were known for their strong faith or great music. This time I’d made an effort, asking local …

July 7th, 2014

While vacationing in Las Vegas, Busted Halo’s own Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, decides to hit the strip and ask people what they know and think about that topic everyone associates with Vegas … sin.…

June 27th, 2014

Candles held at the start of the Easter Vigil at St. John By the Sea Church in Alaska. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Candles held at the start of the Easter Vigil at St. John By the Sea Church in Alaska. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

“Come, follow me.”

These are the words of Jesus to Peter, a fisherman casting his net into the Sea of Galilee.

“Get up and go.”

These are the words of Jesus to Saul (soon to be Paul), a zealous persecutor of the earliest Christian community.

On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, we are reminded of the kinetic nature of discipleship. To encounter Jesus is to be set into motion. To have our plans altered (read: obliterated). To serve and encourage and comfort and teach. To be willing to empty ourselves in order to be filled with Christ.

Fr. Kenneth Walker was a priest. A young priest. He was assigned to Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission. He served the homeless who came to the mission, was a passionate advocate for the unborn, and was eager to share the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass. He was a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. According to those who helped him prepare to live out his priestly vocation, he was a humble guy. He …

June 25th, 2014

factsfaith-stpaul-flashFr. Larry explains what has happened to St. Paul’s remains after he was martyred in Rome.  He and Fr. Dave also discuss St. Paul’s Basilica — one of the four main basilicas in Rome — and a kooky superstition associated with it.…

June 19th, 2014

popemobilesardinecan1“I remember in Brazil, they’d provided for me an enclosed Popemobile, but I cannot greet the people and tell them I love them inside a sardine can, even if it is made of glass. For me it is a wall.” — Pope Francis to La Vanguardia, a Spanish newspaper

We’ve got one cool pope. The guy greets large crowds all the time, kisses kids on the head, drinks coffee from strangers, and reportedly sneaks out at night to visit the homeless.

So, perhaps the popemobile, a vehicle with bulletproof glass on all sides, is sending the wrong message.

I remember when the popemobile first arrived on the scene after the attempted assassination of John Paul II. We all thought it was kind of cool, but it did seem to restrict the movements of a very vibrant pope.

Restrictions are something Pope Francis would like to avoid, and furthermore, Pope Francis knows the risks. In the recent Vanguardia article, he also notes his age and realizes that he may not have too many opportunities to bring the love of the pope so directly to others.

“It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I …

June 18th, 2014

If you’re looking for this summer’s most action-packed blockbuster, then you should not see The Fault in Our Stars. But if you’re looking for a movie with a little more depth than just superheroes, explosions, and gunfire, then you should get to the theater now. And based on the box office numbers, you won’t be alone. Warning: Bring an entire box of tissues. (I made the mistake of leaving mine at home and was left with the back of my hand.)

The film adaptation of John Green’s famous novel follows 16-year-old Hazel Grace, who suffers from cancer that makes breathing difficult. She carries around an oxygen tank and must wear a tube around her face everywhere she goes. Though reluctant, she attends a weekly support group, and while there, meets Augustus Waters and his friend Isaac, who both have cancer as well: Gus had his leg amputated and Isaac will go completely blind soon. Through a series of events (romantic picnics, phone calls in the middle of the night, and a trip to Amsterdam on the tab of Make-a-Wish), Gus and Hazel fall in love, despite Hazel’s cynical view of her life and her impending death. Mortality is …

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