Mission and Ministry Matters: Change

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

in News

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND

Sister Valerie Sweeney

Do you know what is the ONE THING in life that we can always count on? CHANGE! Everything and everyone changes, and we can always count on that to happen. That may be a scary thought, but it is a reality. So it’s important for us to face change and embrace change when possible. If we don’t choose change, it will just happen to us. For the next few months I will use some thoughts from Lynn Levo, CSJ, to explore change and our responses to it.

The root of the word change means becoming. That gives it a more positive nuance, doesn’t it? We can GROW when we change. We can try new things and become new people. If we aren’t open to change, we end up denying it and resisting it, often feeling angry or victimized. A positive response to change leads to life, not death.

Change usually involves gains and losses. They often come together. If we want to gain a new job, we need to let go of our former role. If we choose to move to a new home, we vacate our previous one. That’s why change results in so many mixed feelings. We may feel happy, excited, anxious, fearful, eager, resistant. It’s important to celebrate the gains and grieve the losses that change brings.

There is a difference between change and transition. Change is situational and outside of us. Transition is psychological and internal. It’s the process we go through to come to terms with change. Change can happen quickly, but the transition process can take a long time.

What are some strategies we can use to help ourselves during times of change? First, be aware of it and acknowledge the impact the change is having on us. Journaling or talking to a friend or counselor can help with that. Second, practice self-care techniques such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, exercising, and doing activities we enjoy. We can also look to a spiritual source of strength such as prayer, reading Scripture, meditating, or whatever else gives us inner strength.

Change is a part of life, but it’s not necessarily easy. Facing it with openness and knowing how to help ourselves through it make all the difference.

Reflection for the third week of Lent

Sunday, March 24, 2019

in News

 “Repent, says the Lord; the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:7

On a cold morning in November, Leigh Ann Tuohy and her husband, Sean, were driving when they spotted a young man walking alone along the side of the road in only shorts and a cotton T-shirt. As they drove past, Leigh Ann said two words to Sean that would change their lives forever. She told him to “turn around,” and he did. The two invited the young man into their warm vehicle and eventually their home and family. The young man was Michael Oher, who with the love and support of the Tuohy family, went on to become a first-round NFL draft pick and Superbowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens.

Turn around …  

two simple words that changed the course of several lives in one moment.

Turn around …

two simple words that call us to retrace our steps and see what we may not have seen before.

Turn around …

a call to change and conversion.


Lent’s call to repentance is a call to turn around. When we repent, much like running into our home for forgotten keys or turning around on the interstate due to mixed up directions, we seek something we’ve forgotten and reorient ourselves to get back on track.

The Greek work for repent is “metanoia.” It means “to think differently after,” and indicates a change of mind, heart or consciousness. Repentance requires the willingness and humility to recognize we have lost our way and to change. All of us have something for which we need to repent: a person we have wronged, a good we have neglected to do, a cruel or unkind word we have spoken. We have been less than lovely, less than faithful and less than gracious from time to time with others and with ourselves. And the call gently comes into the muddled space of discord, with a voice that tells us to simply turn around.

Step back into your colleagues’ office and clear up a misunderstanding. Sign up to volunteer. Recommit to your practice of prayer and meditation. Prioritize date night with your partner, family time with your children, weekly calls or visits to your aging parents. Set down old ways of being and doing that aren’t serving you, and simply turn around. Follow more faithfully the path of goodness and love, service and truth. Listen to the still, small voice in your heart and simply, without shame, turn around.

There is a promise in God’s call to conversion. Repent; turn around! For the reign of God is at hand. The reign of God is a time of fulfillment and flourishing, when there is no distinction between heaven and earth. Jesus promised us it is closer than we think; indeed, it is just around the corner. Our repentance and reconnection to God and others brings it about. For as theologian Walter Rauschenbusch reminds us, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of getting individuals into heaven, but of transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven.”


What needs to be turned around in your life? What do you need to seek again?

Spirituality and You: Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday begins the Christian celebration of Lent. Forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare believers for the celebration of Easter. A part of Lent is the call to quiet and reflection. A call to still ourselves and consider our faith lives. We cease searching and striving for the external markers of success [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Lessons Learned

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lessons Learned

Age 6:    I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Age 9:    I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
Age 12:  I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like [more…]

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Holy Week reflection: acting in communion

Sunday, March 25, 2018

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world [more…]

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“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Reflection for the Fifth Week of Lent

Sunday, March 18, 2018

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21
God gifts each one of us with a unique combination of time, talent and treasure to use while we are on Earth for the good [more…]

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Reflection for the fourth week of Lent: do justice, love kindness and walk humbly

Sunday, March 11, 2018

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
The commitment to justice is essential in Catholic tradition. From the witness of the prophets who call us to “do justice, love kindness and [more…]

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Reflection for the third week of Lent: the human person is sacred

Sunday, March 4, 2018

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12:12
Created in the image and likeness of God, the human person is not only sacred, but also social. Just as God is a radical [more…]

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Reflection for the second week of Lent: identifying with the poor and vulnerable

Sunday, February 25, 2018

“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
The Last Judgement in the Gospel of Matthew is both one of the most well-known and unsettling passages of scripture. Jesus clearly lays out the [more…]

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Hundreds attend Tetélestai passion play at Jennings

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It was an honor and privilege to host Cleveland Performing Arts Ministries’ Tetélestai musical passion play over the weekend (February 17-19). Hundreds of people from the community and Jennings residents attended. Thank you to the talented actors, volunteers and bakers who made this a success at Jennings. The word Tetélestai means “It is finished,” the last [more…]

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