THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK February 24- March 2, 2019

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF Director

Mercy is probably one of the most difficult virtues to practice.  As human beings, we are so prone to the phrase, “An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” Matthew 5: 38-42   Even Jesus comments on it. He goes further and says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you…”

Luke 6: 27-38 This is a pretty hard teaching and it seems to go against everything in our nature.  But, then, that is why Jesus came to this earth to teach us how to be truly human, as we were meant to be from the beginning of human existence.


Babies have a natural tendency to imitate their parents’ facial expressions and actions.  They are wired to be loving, but if all they see is sourness and discontent, they will be likewise.  From an early age children have to be taught how to share and to be generous, respectful and loving.  We see children fighting over toys and crayons; they are jealous and resentful.  If not corrected, they grow into adulthood with these tendencies.  Of course, they need to see these behaviors in us. Unfortunately, our sinful behavior is passed down to our children generation after generation.  Just look how hard it is to erase racism and greed. Sin is taught. Early formation is so important, if we want a different tomorrow. We see how difficult it is to change behavior as an adult; we see it in ourselves. How blessed are we that we have a merciful God.

A good example of mercy is the story from the Old Testament about the time David and a friend had the opportunity to kill King Saul, as he lay sleeping. He resisted and took his water jug and spear instead. He would not slew the anointed of God.  The next day he stood on a hill at a distance and showed the items to Saul’s whole camp and told them that God had delivered them into his hands.    1 Samuel 26: 2m 7-9, 12-13, 22-23

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” Luke 6: 36-38

What marvelous rewards for being a compassionate person.  How do we learn to be merciful? Jesus gave us a simple formula, “I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.” John 15: 12

If we are looking for a resolution or practice for Lent, which starts next week, we have it in these readings from the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary time.  This will be much harder than any abstaining from candy or food.  It may take pretty much of a change of heart or a complete about face. As a start for Lent, we could take time to reflect on our life and behavior to see where we have been and where we want to go to be more compassionate.  A plan could be discussed with the whole family or a group of friends. Read the references from Matthew and Luke and then see what goals can be set as a group.  Children love to play games.  See how many times a day you can catch yourself judging, criticizing or speaking unkindly.  A little knotted cord could be used. Each time you fail, tie a knot. Ask God for mercy each time.

Recently, I wanted to find out how I could really pray contemplatively in the Franciscan

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

tradition. These very actions that Jesus warns about are what prevents this kind of prayer.  I was surprised, as I tried to see how many times I fall into this trap, that it was quite frequent, especially at Mass. “Look at what she is wearing.” “Can’t they control their kids?” “Why aren’t they genuflecting?” etc., etc., etc. Ho, hum. I have a lot of cleaning up to do.  During the News is another time.  Don’t we all?

May your week be filled with joy and peace,


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK February 10-16, 2019



February 10-16, 2019

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director


In the Catholic Mass there is the beautiful prayer, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God…” In today’s Mass this Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Isaiah 6: 3 gives the source of this prayer, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” So much of the Mass is filled with Scripture, so that from early childhood we are imbued with the Word of God.  How blessed we are!

As much as I dislike the use of the words, “ordinary time,” I know it is just a term to separate the Church calendar from the most festive times like Christmas and Easter.  However, this is an excellent time in which the Mass readings are all about Jesus’ ministry. Today’s reading from Luke 5: 1-11 introduces Jesus’ teaching at Lake Gennesaret from the boat of Simon, later Peter.  Simon’s obedience to Jesus’ request to toss the nets overboard yielded a ton of fish, which almost sank two boats.  So astounded were the men, Simon, James and John, that they followed Jesus to become fishers of men.  What a stunning image that we, as Christians, can also follow this call. We can cast the Word of God out among people, hoping they will catch this Word and put it into practice.

Today is World Marriage Day. Married couples can renew their vows and review their life in Christ. Christ has a special place in his heart for married people, as we saw a few weeks ago at the wedding feast at Cana. This is also a good time to include the children in some part of this celebration.

Monday the Feast of  is celebrated.  The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, a poor girl, in France in 1858.  While walking in the woods, she came across a dirty grotto, which was called the pig’s sty.  It is in this ugly hole that a beautiful young woman appeared to Bernadette some sixteen times.  This same hole became the location of a wonderful, clear and clean spring of water from which millions have been cured of both spiritual and physical illnesses.  The imagery is breathtaking; Jesus can heal the most disgusting and ugly sin.  We but need to turn to his Mother who will intercede for us.  When the bishop asked for her name, she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  Four years before the pope had declared this a dogma of faith. This apparition verified it.

Very little is known about St. Valentine. He might have been an Italian priest or bishop in the third century. The legend credits him with performing marriages in defiance of the Roman emperor’s ban meant to keep single men available as soldiers. As an aside, this seems to indicate married men weren’t enlisted. While imprisoned, he cured the blind daughter of a pagan guard. Before he was beheaded he sent a note to the girl and signed it, “From your Valentine.”  Ancient Rome use to hold the festival of fertility around this time.  The Church counteracted this practice with the creation of St. Valentine’s Day. Valentine notes seem to date around the 1400’s. Heart of the Nation Newsletter

May this week bring you many hours of friendly and loving relationships blessed by Jesus.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK February 3-9, 2019


February 3-9, 2019


In the reference from Jeremiah 1: 4-5, it says of the prophet, “Before I formed you in the

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”  Food for thought – this passage reveals a fact about each of us, that we were already formed in God’s mind before we were born.  We are that precious, having always existed and been loved by our creator.  As an artist, I have some sense of this feeling, as I create each art piece and see some image of myself in it.  We are made in God’s image with intelligence and free will, capable of marvelous deeds.  That is why we are called to cherish every creation, but especially the human person.  Each of us is so unique we have never been repeated, neither in the past, present or future.  God has appointed us to minister with love, to one another, regardless of race, culture, religion, social or economic standing, country or physical condition.


St. Paul pretty much sums up the manner in which we are to treat everyone: Love is patient, love is kind.  It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.          1 Corinthians 1: 4-13


In Luke 4: 21-30 Jesus is preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth and all are amazed.  Wait a second! Isn’t that the son of Joseph? We saw him grow up here.  Who does he think he is?  They were ready to throw him off a mountain. How petty can you get? Instead of rejoicing that one of their own came home with the ability to preach so movingly and intelligently, they were jealous and wanted to kill him.  We cannot condemn these people, because at times, we may also be jealous of another’s talent or possessions or opportunities. We often see this in children and have to take steps to instruct them differently.  It is sad  when adults act in this manner. All too often, that’s the news of the day.


Today is the 30th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family, founded by Father Jim Goode, OFM. All Christians are called to join in prayer for our African brothers and sisters on this first Sunday of Black History Month. This would be a good time to become acquainted with St. Josephine Bakhita, an Italian-Sudanese woman who had been a slave in the Sudan, until she escaped.  She lived from 1869-1947.  She ministered for 45 years as a Canossian religious sister in Italy.


On February 5, 1597 St. Paul Miki and Companions, twenty-six martyrs of Japan were executed by crucifixion for their Catholic faith.  Let us remember our Asian brothers and sisters who have suffered for their faith and nationality.


National Marriage Week, February 7-14 is arriving soon, so there is still time to prepare a special celebration.  Parents and children can pick a day of joy and the couple, hopefully, will find time to spend with each other in a meaningful and loving way.


May God bless each of you with some joy and peace,


Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK January 27-February 2, 2019

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January 27-February 2, 2019

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director


Today in the Sunday readings we have the wonderful reference to Christ’s body in 1 Corinthians 12: 12- 30.  This imagery gives more support to the fact that we are all parts of the one body, Christ’s, regardless of our culture, race, gender or social standing.  Just as we are all made in the image of God so, too, we are all part of Christ’s body, “given to drink of one Spirit.” Therefore, we cannot exclude anybody from equal membership in Christ’s body, nor can we not accept everyone into this reality.


There is also a strong reference to the sacredness of the Word. In Nehemiah 82 we read about Ezra the priest after finding the lost Book of the Law, reading from it for hours. The people show reverence by prostrating themselves and weeping at the reading of the Book of the law, which they had long neglected.  In the New Testament in Luke 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21 we hear Jesus reading in the synagogue in Nazareth a passage from the Prophet Isaiah and declaring it is has been fulfilled in him.  He is the Living Word and intimates that he is the Messiah, the Christ.  Unfortunately, we will see later that the people in his hometown finally realize what he is proclaiming and want to stone him. How hurtful that must have been for his Mother Mary, as well as, for himself.


This Monday we have one of the great theologians and Doctor of the Church commemorated.  St. Thomas Aquinas was born around 1225 in Rocca Secca near Naples, Italy. He became a Dominican priest and studied  Aristole and other Greek philosophers.  He applied many of their processes and thoughts to Catholic theology and philosophy.  His great work, called the “Summa Theologica” has dominated Catholic theology and thought down to the present day. An interesting story about Thomas occurred when he was a novice in the Dominican Order.  Because of his humility and reticence, others called him a dumb ox.  When his intelligence was recognized, one of the brothers said, “He may be called a dumb ox, but when he bellows, the whole world will hear him.” He is the patron saint for universities, colleges and schools.


St. John Bosco endeared himself to the poor and neglected children of Turin, Italy, starting in 1841 during the Industrial Revolution. He would provide them with food, religious studies and other needs.  After Ordination he would open an institution called the Oratory for boys and young men, which provided housing, education, religious studies and spiritual guidance for thousands of boys.  Eventually, others would join him in this ministry and are called Salesians. Some 150 years ago St. Bosco and Mary Mazzarello founded a community of women, Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians.  In 1908 the sisters came to America in Paterson, NJ.  They quickly spread across North America.  We even have them here in Laredo, Texas at Mary Help of Christians Elementary and Middle School. They are called Salesians, too.


On Saturday we celebrate the Presentation of the Jesus in the Temple.  Mary and Joseph took him to the temple to present him to God and receive him back with the offering of two turtle doves in his place and for the ritual cleansing of the mother.  Of course, Mary did not need this cleansing, but they kept the Jewish laws and practices.  Candles are also blessed this day.


May you present yourself in God’s house with praise and thanksgiving,


Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK January 20-26, 2019

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January 20-26, 2019

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF, Director

The third manifestation of Jesus’ glory appears in the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana.  The wedding couple must have been close friends of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Jesus and his disciples.  They were all prepared for a good time and certainly wine was a good part of that celebration.  To run out in the midst of the high point of the celebration would be embarrassing.  Mary was concerned for her friends and did not want them to have an unhappy beginning to their marriage.  So, like any good mother, she went to Jesus, because she knew he had the power to change the circumstances.  This tells us that she had faith in his ability to work miracles and she knew he was the Son of God from the Angel Gabriel’s foretelling.  Jesus tests her a little bit, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”  Oh, but in Mary’s mind, it had.  She went to tell the servers to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

Now, do the math. There were six stone jars, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.  Everyone must have had a really good time.  Then, Scripture says, “…his disciples began to believe in him.” John 2: 1-11


Sometimes it seems it would take such an astounding event for us to really believe that Jesus is both human and divine.  Our world certainly needs some sort of conversion to compassion and good deeds on its part.  In fact, on a whole lot of people’s part.  We see teenagers showing disrespect to their elders, because of a difference of opinion.  We sfetusee government officials showing disrespect for the people that they are to support and protect. We see parents disposing of their babies, as if they are trash.  We see nations at odds with one another over land, possessions, power, economic benefit and personal gain.  We need to ask Mother Mary to again ask her Son to change the muddy waters of greedy and wayward people into the good wine of wisdom, sharing, forgiveness and conversion.  Perhaps, we need to start with ourselves.


In St. Paul’s letter to 1 Corinthians 12: 4-14 he speaks of the gifts we have been given by the Spirit.  Each of us has been blessed with some gift and we need to search for this spiritual gift and some form of ministry.  If we already know what they are, let us praise and thank the Lord.


On Monday we can honor a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Though he was a strong leader in equal rights for all people, as a nation we have a long way to go in transforming our criminal justice, political and economic systems in favor of people of color. Let us pray that we learn to live with and for diversity in all areas of our lives and find ways to change all unjust systems. It is the true Christian life. 



Tuesday is the Day of Prayer for the legal protection of unborn children. I recently saw a picture of a Guardian Angel crying over the grave of an aborted child that they were destined to companion.  It touched me very deeply, as I had never thought of millions of angels without their human counterpart on earth. I treasure the presence of my Guardian Angel, who has helped me many times.

World Youth Day in Panama begins on Tuesday.  Let us pray for protection of all who attend.

Let us remember the following holy men and women this week:  St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, St. Vincent, Deacon, St. Marianne Cope, Virgin, St. Francis De Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Conversion of St. Paul and Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops.

May you find happiness and peace in each day,


Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director


January 13-19, 2019



January 13-19, 2019


People in Israel were very excited that John the Baptist might be the Christ.  However, John quickly disabused them of this thinking.  It is probably one of the most humbling and heroic speeches to be heard. John says in Luke 3: 15-16; 21-22, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.  I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John was very transparent and honest about his place in the scheme of salvation.  His prophesy came true in his presence, when Jesus presented himself for baptism. John even predicted his future, when he called Jesus, the Lamb of God, when he saw him coming to the river.  It was well known that lambs were sacrificed for sin in the temple.  So, too, would Jesus be sacrificed for the sins of humankind on the temple of the cross.


After Jesus was baptized and was praying, “the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like  a dove and a voice came from heaven, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” You would think that mobs of people would have ran after him, but they probably were too stunned to react. Did they really hear this proclamation or were they too afraid, because such a claim on Jesus’ part would be blasphemy and punishable with death.


The Prophet Isaiah 42: 1-2 refers to this incident, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice for the nations.”

Isaiah makes many references to the Messiah.  When John the Baptist was imprisoned, one of his actions was to check up on Jesus.  He asked his followers to report to him the words and actions of Jesus.  They said that the blind see, the paralyzed walk, etc.  John was satisfied because he saw Isaiah’s prophesies fulfilled about the Christ.  Matthew 11: 2-6


This is a good day to recall our own baptism and what impact it has had on our lives.  Do we feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in our soul and do we pray to him?  He is the third person of the Trinity.  I fear that he is often neglected in our prayer.  Express some gratitude for the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. When you see the humble little doves in the yard, especially in spring, whisper a prayer to the Holy Spirit, whose bodily form he took at Jesus’ baptism.


January 14-22 is dedicated to remembering the dignity of all life.  The annual nine Days for Life novena begins Monday, January 14.  Source: or


Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development sends a report to Congress on homelessness in this country. Here are some key findings from the 2018 report.

  • On a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the U.S.
  • Homelessness increased for the second year in a row.
  • On a single night in 2018, about 36,000 people were experiencing homelessness as unaccompanied youth–that is, people under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness on their own.

African-Americans are considerably over-represented among the homeless population compared to the overall U.S. population. While accounting for 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans account for 40% of all people experiencing homelessness and 51% of people experiencing homelessness as members of families with children.


May God bless you with wisdom and understanding in dealing with today’s issues.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK January 6-12, 2019



January 6-12, 2019


Actually the first three Sundays of January celebrate the great feasts of Epiphany, the Manifestations of  Jesus as the Christ.  Today the celebration of the Magi paying homage to the newborn King is remembered. The following Sundays will see the Baptism of Jesus at which he is proclaimed the Son of God.  Next Jesus’ glory is shown in the Feast of Cana at which he changes water into wine.  What a glorious time for celebration.  Often gifts are exchanged during this time.


The visit of the Magi from the East, foreign astrologers, could have occurred anytime between Jesus’ birth and two years of age.  In Matthew 2: 1-12 the account states that the “star stopped over the place where the child was…and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother.”  We get the reference for two years, because Herod had the baby boys up to two years of age murdered in the Bethlehem area, when the Magi did not report back to him the location of the child.  However, it doesn’t really matter exactly when they came; the major fact is that they came.  They fulfill Isaiah 60: 1-6 prophecy of the “light that was to come” and before which the ‘wealth of the nations would be brought and foreigners would bring gold and frankincense and proclaim the praises of the Lord.”


Though it was the Jewish people who carried the prophecy of the coming of a Messiah, other’s also followed the prediction.  We can see ourselves in the Magi, as, we, too, are foreigners/gentiles, according to the definition of the times in which Jesus lived.  St. Paul in Ephesians 3: 5-6 is very strong about the “gentiles being coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Jesus came for everyone and the presence of the Magi at his birth is just one confirmation.


It seems to be a custom to make New Year resolutions.  Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein and Sister Rose Pacatte collaborated on a joint resolution which I hope you will find adaptable.


This, then, is the resolution for 2019 that we propose. Let all those within our common tradition reflect on the sanctity of words. Let them have more meaning and depth than another tweet. We don’t casually or carelessly throw around holy objects. If we can appreciate that words not only have power, but are possessed of holiness, we just might be more likely to use them for holier purposes.


[Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is director of interfaith affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the global human rights organization. He is an Orthodox rabbi. Daughter of St. Paul Sister Rose Pacatte is founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, California. She is an award-winning film critic whose work appears in


The entire article may be found in GLOBAL SISTERS REPORT, Dec. 31, 2018


May your New Year be one of many blessing from the Lord, our God, Creator of heaven and earth,


Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF