Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Paloni Family

Synod 15: The Palonis, an ‘Extraordinarily’ Normal Family 

4-Month-Old Is Star of the Synod Hall; Massimo and Patrizia Share Their Story as Parents of 12, Giving and Receiving at the Synod

Pope Francis Meets with Bishops of Mali

Since the photo of his beautiful face, with a pacifier dangling from his mouth and his intent gaze, appeared in worldwide media, little David Paloni has become the star of the 2015 Synod of bishops.
Jokingly called the “youngest synod father in history,” the four-month-old is the  youngest of the 12 children of Massimo and Patrizia Paloni.

Much has been written about them during this first week of sessions: their 12 children (six boys and six girls: “David evened the score”), their departure for Holland 11 years ago, and their experience as a missionary family of the Neo-Catechumenal Way at Maastricht. However, it is only by meeting in person these two young parents of Rome – he is 45 and she is 41 – that one really understands what a person who has savoured the love of God in his/her life can reveal.

It is visible in their serene way of speaking and relating to others. In Patrizia’s calm, while managing her little one (she cradled David who was crying throughout the interview) and, from a distance, the other 11 children, who stayed in Holland.

“They help one another,” she says, “the older ones look after the little ones, they help them do their tasks. There is great harmony and also great joy.”

But this is demonstrated above all by the joy that lights up Massimo’s eyes when he talks about how his life and that of the whole family was filled after their decision – absurd, according to many – to leave behind a comfortable life, a job as manager, to go to a foreign country and proclaim the Gospel, even having to do cleaning to support the family.

“Our mission experience is born from gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done in our life. He has helped us in difficult moments of our life and of our marriage,” he explained to ZENIT.

 Massimo was already used to the missionary life, having come from a family on mission – also in Holland – which left from the parish of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, in the well-to-do neighborhood of Parioli.

Initially, “the landing” was most difficult for the children. “We left when they were small. Five were born in Rome, the rest at Maastricht.”

However, says the head of the family, “it was good because even in the initial difficulties, such as learning the language, integrating themselves at school, in the society and so on, they understood that there was meaning in the mission they were engaged in, that they weren’t suffering needlessly, that there was a greater good.”

To these children – the oldest is 19 years old – Massimo and Patrizia are trying to transmit the faith: “On Sunday morning we pray Lauds together, a moment in which in the light of the Word of God we have a conversation to see if there are problems, crises; to ask for forgiveness and to be reconciled with one another: we with them, or between themselves. It is also a moment to share our experience.”

Massimo also shares this experience to a degree with us: “I worked as an Account Manager of HP. I had a company car, computer, and smartphone. We went to see international sports matches — all very delightful little things. The day before leaving I gave everything back.” Then, “when we went there, I thought: ‘I’ll find work right away; I have a good resume, I speak many languages’; instead God made us understand that He carries the mission forward, in His times and in His ways. Therefore, in the beginning I adjusted myself, I even did cleaning for a period, I worked at a call center … Then the work of evangelization increased, so now we were itinerants and dedicated ourselves 100% to evangelize.”

“And what did you live from?” is the question that arises instinctively. ”From Providence,” Massimo retorts point-blank, “which was manifested concretely in the help our community offered us.”

“We left truly without anything: we had some mattresses, cardboard boxes that we used as night tables,” said Patrizia. “However, it was extraordinary because we were spectators of God’s surprises. One day, for instance, an estate agent called us and said: ‘A person came here who saw that you don’t have a closet. You must come here and choose the closet you want,’ not to mention the anonymous envelopes of money that we found outside our front door.”

The Dutch – that stereotypes say are tolerant, so long as their terrain isn’t invaded – received this itinerant “squadron” enthusiastically. “They were positively impressed by our family,” affirmed the couple, “when they saw us, they asked questions and that was a unique occasion to give our testimony and say a word.”

The Palonis also met with a positive reception at the Synod. “Fantastic!” exclaimed Massimo, “they all gave us an exceptional welcome, beginning with the Pope  who, when he saw us, was very happy; he smiled at us and blessed the whole family; then the Secretariat, the Bishops, the Cardinals and the other participants. They received us like Jesus.”

The merit is also David’s, mother and father smile: “This child triggers joy, tenderness. We call him the ‘Synodal child,’” they say proudly. “We think God wanted him present at the Assembly.”

“Patrizia – her husband explains – was already pregnant when, through the Dutch Nunciature, the Secretariat contacted us, but we hadn’t calculated the time, we didn’t realize that he would be born so close to the Synod. I think that in his little way he is doing a good service because he makes present the beauty of a family.”

“And you as well, what service are you rendering to the Synod?” we asked them. “We are present as a missionary family; we bring our experience. In our intervention, we will speak of our life and of our faith, and what is behind it, how it was born, how it developed thanks to the Neo-Catechumenal Way that helped us to understand and live in depth the teachings of the Church.”

“Above all the teachings of Humanae Vitae,” presses Massimo, explaining how openness to life was not a “weight” for them “but a grace that has given us joy.” “We are normal persons that have behind us a journey of Christian initiation that has helped us to reflect further on our faith and to have it grow. This has made us open to life despite our egoism, our defects …”

Therefore, the Synod will be the occasion to “give glory to God by pointing out all these gifts before the representatives of the Churches of the world.” But also an occasion to receive something: “It is truly interesting to hear such qualified people debate on such a fundamental subject as the family,” said Patrizia. “One sees that the Pastors have a real desire to help the family, to re-launch it. There is great zeal and this is what has impressed us in the main.”

Also, she continued, “I have been impressed to see how much communion has been created with other families. We all bring a different experience: given our provenance, journey of faith, family typology, but we share the same spirit. We are many families that have never seen one another before, known one another for a few days, but God created communion immediately.”

“And do you feel yourselves somewhat of a model among these numerous families?” “We are not so, in fact — said Massimo — certainly not I. There are so many families in the world like us. And if someone finds something good or exemplary in the Palonis, it’s because God has willed it.”


  1. What a beautiful family. They have 12 children. That's a lot of kids.

  2. In fact, I know quite a few similar families, with very similar stories, perhaps fewer kids, 7, 8, 9 ,10... It shows you that the Way helps people live the Joy of the Gospel, not just one family but many, many of them!

  3. Gosh is this family all neo? What a sad story.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:25 pm,

      How is it a sad story? They all appear to be happy.

    2. They look like sad deprived children to me.
      Really sad to have so many children as this.
      Are you aware how much money needed to feed that number of kids a week.
      How about schooling. Those kids will turn out bad kids doing drugs . How can those parents possibly raise all those kids correctly. Looks like a problem to me.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 11:27 pm,

      With God all things are possible. It would be wrong to prevent a child from being born simply because you believe the child will turn to drugs. Did you even read the OP?

  4. Parents should stop producing all those kids. Like rabbits .

    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:57 pm,

      Look at the photo of this family with 12 kids. This family of 12 appears to be well taken care of. Tim Rohr has 11 children and one of his children is autistic; yet, he has no regrets having 11 children. I am sure that this family of 12 also has no regrets with the 12 children God has given them.


    2. I never mentioned Tim Rohr . But yes he raised a good family all his children highly educated gifted responsible contributing citizens. It is a blessing for him to have large family. He raised his children in the catholic faith. He did not teach them false doctrine not make them sit on the Tiber river pretending to be happy. The kids in this picture look deeply disturbed to me. It's like neo religion been pushed down them they want to vomit in the Tiber river. Having 12 kids here is just to make numbers for neo. Only hope parents love these children. Thanks.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 11:33 pm, the hatred finally comes out. When it comes to Tim Rohr, it is okay for him to produce children like rabbits. But when the parents are in the Way, that is a whole different story.

    4. Diana should this family come as a mission family to Guam we the archdiocese would have to pay for their upkeep . This is the very reason we don't want mission families. We don't want our money spent on them. If the Paloni parents want all this sex then they should be prepared to pay for them not our archdiocese. Best they go live on mainland. At least they get food stamps to help. No to mission families on Guam. We don't want to pay for them from our money.

    5. Yep. His true color finally shows! Nothing but hate and prejudice. How sad for you anon. 11:33 pm, I will pray for you.

    6. Who are you 10.57pm?
      Are you even a catholic?
      Go to confession.
      Strop writing trash.
      This family are blessed by God with 12 precious gifts.
      How many. Holden do you have 10 57pm ?
      Perhaps only one or none I sense.

    7. Dear Anonymous at 11:44 pm,

      This only goes to show that you did not bother to read the OP. The money supporting these families comes from members of the NCW. It comes from the communities of the mission families. Furthermore, your money has not done anything to help the church because you follow Tim Rohr who had been telling you not to give a single penny to the Church. So, please do not tell me that your money is paying for this or that for the church since you are not contributing a single cent.

    8. Anonymous Feb. 20, 2016 at 10:57 pm, the reason why the NCW has large families is because we follow the true Catholic faith of NO CONTRACEPTIVES. That's the same reason why Rohr has a large family. How about you, 10:57? Do you follow the true Catholic faith of foregoing contraceptives. If you had followed true Catholicism, you would also be producing a lot of kids yourself. And you come here condemning a family for practicing the true Catholic faith of not using any birth control methods?

    9. Rather than see the wisdom of God's grace for everyone with the gift of our own families; the strength of the father, the love of the mother and beauty of children and their children; Anonymous February 20, 2016 at 10:25 PM

      Gosh is this family all neo? What a sad story; is clearly in crisis.

      The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.....Socrates

    10. 10:25pm sounds delusional deranged to me.

  5. This family is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. A family with 12 children who are in mission evangelizing and spreading the Gospel.

  6. By the way, they aren't "Palonis family", they are the Palonis, i.e. the Paloni family.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 7:48 am,

      Oops!! My bad. I will correct that. I took one look at the headline and automatically assumed it was "Palonis."

  7. 11.48pm I am 10.57pm. You ask how many children I have.
    I don't have any children.
    Asking is it practical to have 12 children.?
    Why bring 12 children into this work if they can't be clothed fed educated?
    I'm not saying there not educated.
    What I'm saying is use conscience to decide is it practical to bring 12 children into the world.
    Each answers to their own.
    For this family i guess they wanted neo numbers.
    No issue to me Diana. I'm only encouraging readers to use their conscience.
    I'm a catholic Mass every Sunday. I also have statues of Mama Mary.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 8:41 am,

      You say that they only want neo numbers. If that is all it is to get neo numbers, then we do not need to evangelize. The truth is...the Way teaches true Catholic teachings, which is to be open to life. Is it practical to bring 12 children into the world? That is not for you to decide. Each child is a gift from God.

      You encourage readers to use their conscience. As a devoted Catholic, don't you think you should encourage readers to follow Catholic teachings in being open to life. After all, even Tim Rohr disapproves of contraceptives and has 11 children. One of his children is autistic, and he does not regret having any of his 11 children. He sees them all as God's blessing.

  8. Who ever is 11.33 I will pray for you at Eucharist this morning.

  9. Yes look like home schooled kids to me. Really sad!

    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:24 am,

      Could you go to the jungle and tell Tim Rohr how sad it is for kids to be home schooled. I would like to see his reaction. :-).

    2. I looked at this photo closer Diana.
      Perhaps I was a little unfair .
      So because I'm a compassionate person I wanted a compassionate responce to this photo.
      Remember the 1970s the Walton's. I think the Palonis family like the Walton's. Remember John boy and sister Elizabeth. Walton house like a school so many children. So this is a complement to the post. I hope your happy. " Good night John boy. Good night Palonis family.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 5:14 pm,

      You are in my prayers. We're all praying for you.

    4. Anon. Feb. 21, at 10:24 AM, Tim's kids are also home schooled.


  10. Diana, I don't have a problem with Tim Rohr. Why do you keep talking about Tim Rohr?
    I'm writing on this mission family you posted.
    You can do whatever you want.
    I'm simply saying we don't want mission families with hundreds of kids sent to is for us to pay for.
    For all I care mission families can have 100 children. As long as our church is not paying. I hope this helps you in your spiritual discernment.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 11:40 am,

      I mention him only to show your true colors. And since when have you been putting in any money for the Church??? We all know that you did not put in a single penny.

    2. 11: 40am. Excuse me mam. How much do you contribute to our church.
      I Doubt in 12 months you donate $500.
      So keep your $500 our community will flourish without you or your money.

  11. I followed this discussion today out of interest. 10.57pm represents what I believe is the common thinking of some Catholics today. They have a deep devotion to their perceived understanding of Catholic worship. They attend Eucharist weekly. Others attend daily Eucharist. They attend Rosary along with other devotions. All this is exceptional devotion encouraging to see . However, these same individuals proclaiming this deep devotion at the same time proclaim a liberal agenda on matters of catholic moral teaching. For example it's ok to attend daily Eucharist and at same time support contraception. It's ok to call for conservative worship but same time support a liberal gay agenda. It shows that even daily Eucharist goers teach a theology by practice that is not catholic theology. I agree Diana our focus is evangelization. Reality is yes this is catholic community by nature but is Catholicism really integrated into the life of a person. Yes Catholicism is part of culture but is Catholicism really part of a persons life. One of your Commenters read she goes to Mass but then read like she supports contraception. My thesis is how is it possible to attend daily or weekly Eucharist yet not support moral teaching. Looks like a compartment mentality which does not lead to the formation of a whole person. My thinking on this.


  12. It may be a few of these 12 children were adopted by their parents. There are mission families who adopt to provide children good homes. Let's not jump to conclusions. I have a feeling I met this family in Boston last year.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 8:13 pm,

      These children are not adopted.

  13. Diana, what is the objective of you posting this family?

    1. Dear Anonymous at 11:05 pm,

      They are a mission family in the Way.

  14. At twenty two years old I underwent a vasectomy .
    I sinned against God.
    My punishment a life without children.
    I give gratitude to God for all those who raise families.
    As for 10,57pm

  15. Mission Ad gentes Rajkot
    Nathaniel Lawrence just wanna say it's really nice to read these stories it help those going on mission and other youth especially

  16. Missio Ad gentes Rajkot
    Eldest of 9 children(currently 8 )
    All we need is prayers ,more prayers and prayers
    which helps us enormously to fight constantly.