Category Archives: Evangelization & Formation

Spiritual habits recommended by Saint Pio

Here are five spiritual habits Saint Padre Pio promoted to Catholics in their practice of the Faith.


“Confession is the soul’s bath. You must go at least once a week. I do not want souls to stay away from confession more than a week. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!”


“It is quite true, we are not worthy of such a gift. However, to approach the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin is one thing, and to be unworthy is quite another. All of us are unworthy, but it is He who invites us. It is He who desires it. Let us humble ourselves and receive Him with a heart contrite and full of love.”


Someone once told Padre Pio that he thought a nightly examination of conscience was pointless because he knew what was sin as it was committed. To this, Padre Pio replied, “That is true enough. But every experienced merchant in this world not only keeps track throughout the day of whether he has lost or gained on each sale. In the evening, he does the bookkeeping for the day to determine what he should do on the morrow. It follows that it is indispensable to make a rigorous examination of conscience, brief but lucid, every night.”


“The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder…. What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection.”


“If you do not succeed in meditating well, do not give up doing your duty. If the distractions are numerous, do not be discouraged; do the meditation of patience, and you will still profit. Decide upon the length of your meditation, and do not leave your place before finishing, even if you have to be crucified. Why do you worry so much because you do not know how to meditate as you would like? Meditation is a means to attaining God, but it is not a goal in itself. Meditation aims at the love of God and neighbor. Love God with all your soul without reserve, and love your neighbor as yourself, and you will have accomplished half of your meditation.”

Brew Evangelization –Benedictine styled

Norcia monksThe idea of sharing anew the beautiful, the true and the good of the Catholic faith with baptized Catholics, with other Christians, and with those justing seeking Someone greater, is popular these days. The words we are using to describe this sharing of faith is the new evangelization. Saint John Paul got the ball rolling again after a hiatus from the time of Blessed Paul VI and the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council with promoting a new way of bring the Lord’s Good News to society again. But for him the new evangelization isn’t about a program as much as it is manner of conversion.

As typical, we see the use of the word “evangelization” used in a variety of ways but without a distinct and concrete definition. In my estimation few have really grasped the concept of it means to be engaged in evangelization. So many want to bolster the numbers of people in the pews, or get parish programs going or some such thing superficial thing. The difficult task is forming in a new way invested Catholics. There are times you get the sense that the “same-old” is being repackaged: it is new wine in old wine skins. The new evangelization becomes in many places more of the ghetto mentality and a perpetuation of an immature Christianity. That’s a long way of saying that we need a more creative approach in sharing the faith in bold ways.

Certainly we don’t need gimmicks. We do, however, need an honest approach that is human connected to the divine.

The Benedictine monks are getting to the heart of what I am aiming at with the new evangelization: beer brewing for the Kingdom of God. Indeed, the brewing of beer (and drinking the beer) can be a de-regulated way of getting to the heart of the faith, getting to the creator and how He is manifested in His creation. Brewing and drinking beer is a very human experience that will penetrate the heart and mind to think a little more deeply about spiritual things and how to live for and with Christ.

Here is an article, “Brew Evangelization.” Read this fine article and the links embedded. One of my interests is to see the Benedictine charism flower again. AND it is beginning to do just that….

What The Germans Want and Why

Reinhard MarxWe are quickly coming up to the Roman synod of bishops on the challenges of marriage and family life. It doesn’t seem to be getting too much concern and the realities of these two important poles of human existence. Many Catholics have no faith that synods are worthwhile as they propose nothing useful in living the Good News.  Of consequence to most Catholics is that bishops have no real impact on the faith’s ability to move the heart. I am unsure if this is totally accurate but it is a sentiment.

One such author who is interested in the synod, and cares very deeply about the truth and beauty of the faith, however, is Beverly De Soto, the editor of the online magazine Regina. DeSoto is a fitting person to raise concerns and to orient our attention which becomes obvious in what she writes in her blog piece, “What The Germans Wants and Why.”

Why the picture of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Münich and Freising? Because he is the very public face of Catholicism in Germany at present and he is on the Pope’s C9 advisory group.


Maria Voce meets Francis and Focolare

Maria Voce with Pope Francis Sept 26 2014The head of the Roman Church, Pope Francis, met the head –and recently re-elected leader of the Focolare Movement Maria Voce– today at the Vatican. Dozens of people have been gathering these last weeks in Italy for a congress. The Holy Father met and address the Focolare members where he said, among other things,  “faithful to the charism from which it was born and by which it is nurtured, the Focolare Movement now finds itself faced with the same task that awaits the Church as a whole: offering, with responsibility and creativity, its special contribution to this new season of evangelization.”

Chiara Lubich, anniversary of death

Chiara LubichPrayers for the repose of the soul of Chiara Lubich who died on this date in 2008. Chiara was the founder of the Focolare Movement.
Chiara Lubich’s the formal request to open a cause for sainthood was made on 7 December 2013. When the announcement was made Maria Voce said, “This act invites us all to a life of greater holiness, lived day by day to contribute towards collective sanctity, that sanctity of the people so dear to Chiara’s heart.”
Maria Voce requested the opening of the cause of canonization of Chiara of Bishop Raffaello Martinelli, Bishop of Frascati. December 7th was also a significant date for the Focolare members as it was the  70th anniversary since the beginning of the Movement.

The Church’s tradition is to present to its faithful role models, persons who have distinguished themselves by a particular witness of faith and love for God. The current period of waiting following the death of a person is five years. Thereafter, if the opening is approved, a canonical process to verify the facts of a holy life, of heroic virtues,  and other signs needs to be studied.

12 members of the Focolare Movement are being studied for sainthood.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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