Matt Weber seeks the sacred and the spiritual in his 20s and beyond.
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September 29th, 2014
Note: No animals will be mentioned (or harmed) in the making of this list
A statue of St. Francis of Assisi is placed in a nook in an energy-efficient straw-bale house built by a Catholic religious order in Ohio, the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin. (Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Chaz Muth)
(Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Sam Lucero, The Compass)
(Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Paul Haring)
The Feast of St. Francis is October 4.
Use these suggestions to help you celebrate the feast day well.
•”Statue of St. Francis placed in a nook in an energy-efficient straw-bale house built by a Catholic religious, the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin” (Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Chaz Muth)
•”Nativity Scene” (Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Sam Lucero, The Compass)
•”Pope Francis” (Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service / Paul Haring)
September 22nd, 2014
The aftermath of Sarah and Andy’s first kiss as a married couple
Andy’s and my first kiss as a married couple was epic. Not epic in the way TV shows and movies portray a long anticipated first kiss — enhanced by an awesome soundtrack, good lighting, and sometimes even a tear-jerking voice over (Wonder Years, anyone?). No, Andy’s and my kiss was not that dreamy — but it was epic and unforgettable. We had each spent a good deal of time praying with our vows before our wedding day, focusing on each word and grappling with what it asked of us.
I, Sarah, take you, Andrew, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
These are words that I will undoubtedly have to remind myself of over and over throughout our marriage. And they will surely take on more meaning as we grow together and experience both joys and challenges in our relationship. They’ve already become more meaningful in our first eight weeks of marriage. Most of the time has been pure …
September 20th, 2014
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After 5 days that consisted of 32 mascots, 16 Jesuit schools, 13 humanoids, 4.5 birds, 4 dogs, 3 wolves, 3 Loyolas, 3 Iggys, 2 rams/goats, and one Johnnie Rat, Catholic Mascotology 2014 has a winner:
Emmit S. Burg, the Mount Saint Mary’s University Mountaineer.
The Mountaineer was ultimately victorious in his last matchup against Iggy the University of Scranton Royal Wolf. Earlier in the day, Iggy had been leading the contest, but the support system of the Mount kicked in and by the afternoon Emmit held a slight lead and was able to keep the momentum going into this morning when voting closed, claiming victory over the Royal and of the entire 2014 bracket:
(However, special kudos go to Iggy the Royal for his gallant success in Day 4 of dispatching with last year’s winner, the Canisius Golden Griffin, who had up until then appeared unstoppable.)
Emmit the Mountaineer’s path to victory began easily enough when in Round 1 he readily beat the Portland Pilot by nearly 1000 votes!
Victory in Day 2 was slightly tougher (winning by 300 votes) when Emmit took on Halo, the Emmanuel College St. Bernard who, being our namesake…
September 16th, 2014
With the football season kicking off, baseball playoffs about to heat up, and competitive billiards ubiquitously enthralling all those watching ESPN 7 — allow me to provide some helpful tips on how to not be an obnoxious fan.
Next up: “Ways to Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis to Make Pope Francis Proud”
•Football (soccer) supporter. Photo by Jamain. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
•Derek Jeter. Photo by Keith Allison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
•”Steeples of Catholic Church in Havana” photo courtesy of Catholic News Service/Nancy Phelan Wiechec.
September 8th, 2014
After being engaged for six months, Sarah and I were asked to speak to about 30 undergraduates in a class on spirituality and sexuality. The professor asked us to speak on our relationship and how we navigate various issues. Then the students were invited to candidly ask us questions. The first question was from a male student who asked, “Why marriage?” It’s a good question in an age of high divorce rates and decreasing marriage rates. Also, many young people cohabit and even share finances. A recent study found that 62 percent of American women aged 25-29 had cohabited by the age of 25.
So, why marriage? Sarah and I have done a great deal of reflecting on what marriage means to us. My initial response to that student was that, regardless of my religious convictions, what made marriage different than just dating and living together was the solemn public commitment one makes to one’s partner in the presence of one’s community. Our marriage is not just about us — it transforms the community of which we are a part. It affects the lives not only of our friends and family, but of everyone we encounter. From that point on, …
September 4th, 2014
If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know is a lot like how I used to be. When I was in high school, I was a master procrastinator. Some people talk about how they barely finished their assignment the night before … Well, my homework was always saved till the day it was due — usually either at 4 a.m., or, more often than not, the period before it was to be handed in. However, once you get to college, you will quickly realize, like I did, that this “skill” is actually a very bad habit. After years of practice and usage, it can be quite difficult to rid yourself of the procrastination bug, but I did it, and so can you. (Trust me on this.)
Cure your case of senioritis
If you’re just entering college as a freshman, then please reread this line:
Note: YOU ARE A FRESHMAN.
It may be hard, just coming out of your senior year, to latch onto this mindset at first. It’s a rude awakening, since you haven’t been a freshman in four years. Acceptance is the first step to breaking yourself out of procrastination. The bad habit grew and festered …
September 4th, 2014
Father Clete Kiley and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City talk with men at the Aid Center for Deported Migrants in Nogales, Mexico. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Congress is back in session after their summer break, and we can expect national attention to turn once again toward comprehensive immigration reform. Particular focus will be on Speaker John Boehner and the House of Representatives to see if they can get a bill passed before the new year.
The Catholic Church has been unafraid to call political leaders to task on this critical issue. This clearly is a top-line priority for the Vatican. Pope Francis’s first pastoral trip outside of Rome was to the Italian island of Lampedusa in July 2013, where hundreds have died while trying to immigrate into the country. There Pope Francis lambasted the “globalization of indifference,” which characterizes a society that lacks compassion for immigrants.
His words that day should ring in our ears: “We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion — suffering with — others … Let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our …
September 2nd, 2014
Tips for finding and getting involved in a new church home
Our brains are in “back-to-school mode.” And generally, churches and campus ministries are following suit. They are rolling out the welcome mat and putting extra effort into inviting you back to church.
If you are new on campus or maybe looking for a church home after a move, take heart, you are not the only one on a spiritual quest. Here are a few suggestions to make your church search a little easier:
Look around your campus or neighborhood and see if there is a Catholic church or a Newman Center (the on-campus Catholic center at many non-Catholic schools). Be on the lookout for special flyers or banners to welcome people like you, who are new to the area or back from summer break.
Search the Internet and social media for your campus ministry or local church. Dig around and see if you can find information about the church’s young adult ministry. Some churches also have YouTube videos of their choirs that can help you figure out if the musical stylings speak to you.
Ask a roommate, friend or coworker for a church recommendation, or details about the Catholic Center or Catholic Mass on campus.
Explore… the student activities fair
August 22nd, 2014
We 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
It’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
It’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)
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
Ah, 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
Living 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
School 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)
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
“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)
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 …