Posted September 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized


Good News Feed!  

Good news travels fast!  But bad news travels even faster!  We face an uphill battle when it comes to spreading the good news of our Grace Before Meals movement!  Besides, there are so many people new to our movement that some things are worth repeating.  Whenever I travel to different events, I am always humbled by people saying to me, “I never heard of Fr. Leo or Grace Before Meals before, until a friend introduced me to it all.”  That’s great news to me, and it’s even better knowing that our movement grows by word of mouth.

Click the picture to read an article about this past Sunday’s event in York, PA!

With that in mind, and in preparation for a very busy fall season of Grace Before Meals, our team would like to just share a few thoughts, invitations, and reminders.  And it’s all good news!

At a recent presentation for couples. One of the men said that his wife “dragged” him there. But after the event, he had so much fun and learned so much that he promised to bring his guy friends the next time!

Our newest book, Spicing Up Married Life had its soft release this past weekend, to commemorate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.



Carlos and Fe, 50 years ago!


It was a great celebration that began with Mass and then a true fiesta-with singing, dancing, performances, and of course great food prepared by the Executive Chef at the Sheraton, Sam Anderson, my high school classmate.

The beautiful and deliciously plated salad.

During this celebration, I offered the guests a glimpse of the special love my mom and dad have for each other, which certainly extends to my family.  I hope you enjoy the video, especially the old pictures of “little Leo.”

I edited this video for my parents. I’m blessed to call them my parents.


As another way to commemorate this celebration, I also used their anniversary date, September 22, as the date to launch my newest book Spicing Up Married Life which has twelve chapters devoted to a monthly dinner date.  Why should couples wait only once a year to celebrate their marriage?  I say celebrate twelve times.  My book can help keep your meal focused through an engaging chapter topic, questions for dinner conversation, and of

course delicious and easy-to-prepare dishes.

The main courses from my new book. According to one taste tester, “This book and cooking the recipe gave us a chance to connect, eat great food, talk, and laugh-something we hadn’t done in a long, long time!”

To get your copy and to receive a discount, order here, and include the promotion code
SUML10. This fall provides our subscribers great opportunities to participate in our movement close and upfront!  We will be touring quite a bit throughout our country.  Hopefully, there’s an event near you. Click HERE for a listing of our events in the coming months.  Bring your family and friends.  And, if you don’t live near these event sites, consider planning an opportunity to bring our message to you.  To ask for information on how make an event request to bring our message to you, click HERE.

Parishes enjoy the missions, but they’re also an easy opportunity for early and easy Christmas shopping.

And finally, remember, as good news travels fast, business experts tell us that bad news travels even faster.  Consider why gossip is a great sin.  That’s one reason why the mainstream media offers very little good news.  Negative news actually sells and grabs our attention-war, hunger, economic problems, political propaganda against all sides of the spectrum.  All of this bad news has negative effects on us-and especially children.  I offer this gentle reminder to monitor how much bad news you process in your day and consider how much good news we are willing to hear and talk about.

Fr. Leo with high school students after a fun, engaging, and educational assembly.

Perhaps watch positive TV shows more regularly, like mine “Savoring Our Faith,” moved from Sundays to each Wednesday at 6:00pm on EWTN.  Consider more positive reading. And be sure your family dinner discussions put all of the bad news in perspective for your children-no matter how young or old they are.  That’s why my book, our website, and our movement encourage a hopeful message in the midst of all of the negativity.  We don’t try to sugarcoat anything, but put hope into everything!

Help us to spread good news by encouraging family, friends, and parishioners to sign up for our free weekly blasts and by being part of the movement through our books, our live events, and our shows.  Go ahead, and share some good news.  After all, good news feeds hungry souls better than no news or bad news.

Fr. Leo with Chef Instructors at a school in Alabama.


Let us pray: Jesus, you tell us to be light for the world and the salt of the Earth. In other words, you tell us to be people of hope (e.g.., spread good news) and to not be bland members of the human race (e.g, serve good food). Keep us ever focused on the message of hope, in the midst of all the challenging news.  And help us to be true instruments by helping to spread good news to all we meet today and every day.  Amen.  

Your postings, comments, and questions really do encourage us and makes us feel like we’re doing something worthwhile.  Please post your comments below.  

  • How do you speak with your children about hopeful news in the midst of all the bad news they hear?   

  • Have you ever shared the Grace Before Meals message with others-including non-Catholics?   

  • Fr. Leo hears so many stories about how people have experienced some conversion through our message. Do you have similar a good news message that you would like to share with our “fams” (short for “families,” as we don’t really have “fans”).

EVENT: The Montana Catholic Conference: That All May Be Fed.
Fr. Leo is going back to Great Falls, MT to speak at the Montana Catholic Conference September 28-29.Click here to find out more:


Though Fr. Leo won’t be there, you can go to Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville, MD, which is offering their second church wide “date night” and will have Spicing Up Married Life books available for any couple who would like to take advantage of free babysitting and a romantic evening with your spouse, whether dating, engaged or married. Check out the Catholic Review Article at 

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Posted September 19th, 2012 | Audio, Events, From the Feedbag, Prayers, Spicing Up Married Life


Never Lose Hope


This is a very busy week, preparing for the launch of the new book Spicing Up Married Life, as well as preparing for a celebration for my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. And, in my family, if it’s worth doing, then we will do it BIG!

Mom and Dad-young love at heart!

But there’s always time to answer some of the questions that come our way.  The questions this week are important ones because they speak to the heart of Faith and food matters.  Can we replace things in our faith, as we can substitute ingredients in a recipe?  Although there are ways to do this with food, it doesn’t translate well in our faith.  


For example, vibrant songs and really good preaching cannot replace the Sacrament of Eucharist but must be seen as an extension to it. This lesson is important for all faithful foodies to learn, and these questions help spell out an approach to making sure the recipes for our faith and family meals are closely understood and celebrated! 


One of my mega-bite burgers-a perfect food example that has easily substituted ingredients, but at the end of the day, it’s still a burger.


Dear Father Leo:


My adult daughter recently told me that she had tried to attend different Catholic churches but that the sermons never were inspiring or uplifting. She found the Mass boring. She therefore tried a very large Christian church in her neighborhood.  She found it to be exactly what she was searching for. The sermons were very inspirational and brought the message of Christ into the reality of her daily life. She then was connected to a group that met each week for Bible study. She has never shown so much enthusiasm in discussing the Bible. And she tells me that she never misses the Sunday service!



Young men on a discernment vocation camp, praying before the Eucharist-an irreplaceable part of the Catholic Faith.


Although I tried to teach her about our faith as a child, sent her to Catholic High School, and took her to Sunday Mass each week, she also told me that she never really believed in the Eucharist. It breaks my heart to think of this.  Please give me any and all advice you can.


Thank you,


A Heart Broken Mom




Dear Heart Broken Mom:


First, never lose hope.  This situation is unfortunately very typical, simply because some people feel they aren’t being “fed” at Mass.  The Mass, for those who understand it, offers the Word of God and the Eucharist.  While that should be enough, it is understandable (on a human level) that people crave a vibrant community, faith education-especially about the Scriptures- and want to feel inspired and experience joy.  Let’s admit it: some churches need to work on these things, and I’m very sad that your local parishes didn’t provide this for your daughter.  So don’t feel like it’s your fault, as your daughter’s decision is just a natural reaction to something missing in her life.  Families need to bring these needs to the parish priests, church staff, and lay ministers. At the same time, families need to proactively seek out organizations and events outside of Mass that will give children a fuller picture of Faith-outside of the one-hour Mass obligation.  


Huge Crowds of the young faithful who participated in one of the Steubenville summer retreats this past summer.  Parents are encouraged to get their kids involved in these or similar programs to enhance their experience of church outside of Sunday Mass. Check out my homily at one of these masses.


While it is important for you to be grateful for the fact that your daughter continues to go to a Christian Church, you also need to learn more apologetics and lovingly (and patiently) share this information with your daughter.  The Eucharist is a profound Faith reality that your daughter will eventually have to confront-after all, unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will have no life in us.


I recommend that you do a little more learning and teaching about these essential aspects of Faith, called apologetics, a lot less worrying, and engage in more loving conversations with your daughter about Faith.  And the best way to have this discussion is a delicious dinner.  While you cannot (yet) agree on the Everlasting Food of Heaven, you can at least try to reach your daughter’s heart and mind by going through her stomach. 


 At a high school youth rally in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Dear Fr. Leo:


I was looking at your Easter pasta and asparagus recipes, and I am wondering what ingredient I can substitute for the wine in any recipe.  There are Catholics who can no longer consume alcohol, and I am dating one of them! And by the way, I love your cooking show!
– C


A presentation at Black Ankle Winery in Maryland-top-notch wine!


Dear C,


I’m glad you like the show.  Coming soon:-all-new episodes, including some filming that I’ll be doing in Rome!  Now on Wednesdays at 6:00PM EDT on EWTN.


 Filming for the show.

As for using a white wine substitute, I recommend a combination of a ¼ cup of chicken broth, 2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp of water, and ¼ cup of ginger ale or non-alcoholic beer.  While it will never have the deep flavor that comes from wine, it will have some mellowness and tartness to give a richer flavor to sauces and reductions.  Bon appétit!


 Wine-tasting on one of our faithful foodie excursions! 

 And remember, our new book is coming out on September 22nd. You can now preorder from our website. Subscribed members receive a discount.  Also, these make great gifts for all couples-whether they’re seriously dating, engaged couples, young parents, empty nesters, and even couples celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary, like my own parents!

Let us pray: Father in Heaven, I pray for all those who send emails and questions to me, those who are part of our movement, and in a special way, those who are separated from the Faith.  May our work in the new evangelization be a source of community, inspiration, and vibrancy for all those who hunger for God.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.  

Your questions, comments and responses are very encouraging. They tell us that our message is making an impact.  Please leave your comments below. 

  •  How did I do in answering the question about the daughter going to another church? 
  • What advice would you give in this situation?  
  • Do you cook with wine?
  • If you are unable to use wine in your meals, do you have a favorite wine substitute?
Event: Spicing Up Married Life Pre-Release Event at St. John’s Regional School in Frederick, MD
Tonight, Fr. Leo gave families from St. John’s Regional school a special treat by cooking one of his new dishes from his latest book, Spicing Up Married Life, called Bacon and Butternut Squash Creamy Brandy Penne Pasta, and giving out the first copies of the book to the general public in anticipation for Saturday’s release date.
Event: Fr. Leo to Appear on FOX 45 on Friday, September 21!
Fr. Leo will also be seen on Baltimore FOX 45 Morning News this Friday, appearing at 9:45am to talk about the book and his mission to save marriages and families with faith-filled lessons and delectable meals for two. He will also be appearing on a radio show on Q1370 with Maynard Edwards and Shari Elliker later that afternoon.
Event: 40 Days for Life Kickoff Rally 
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012. 
Fr. Leo will be among the speakers kicking off the 40 Days for Life rally event this Saturday as hundreds of people will gather to support those who need it most: the unborn. Fr. Leo will be speaking at 11am and will have his new book available to commemorate the release, while encouraging couples to place their love for one another in God. So come kickoff 40 Days for Life this Saturday.
Location: Calvary Chapel, 8064 New Cut Road, Severn (Baltimore/Annapolis)
Event: The 50th Anniversary of Carlos and Fe Patalinghug (Fr. Leo’s Parents) 
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Of course, Fr. Leo and his family have a most special celebration to commemorate Saturday as his parents will celebrate 50 years of marriage. It is through their example in faith and love that inspires Fr. Leo everyday to share the “recipe” for a strong marriage: faithfulness, sacrifice, selflessness and of course, good food. We congratulate them on their milestone and pray for many more years together.


EventCatholic Harvest Food Pantry/York Catholic High School Fund Raiser
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2012

Come out and support the Catholic Harvest Food Pantry in York, which helps feed the poor. Proceeds from the event will also go towards the Tuition Assistance Fund at York Catholic High School which offers financial assistance to students. Fr. Leo will be available for a VIP meet and greet before the main event which will be a presentation on “Grace Before Meals” with a cooking demonstration using a delicious recipe for Penne Alla Vodka. Fr. Leo will also be available for book signing.

Location : York Catholic High School, 601 East Springettsbury Avenue, York, PA
Contact : Lynne S 717-747-3476
 Fr. Leo is going back to Great Falls, MT to speak at the Montana Catholic Conference September 28-29. 

Click here to find out more: 

All the while, Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville, MD is offering their second church wide “date night” and will have Spicing Up Married Life books available for any couple who would like to take advantage of free babysitting and a romantic evening with your spouse, whether dating, engaged or married. Check out the Catholic Review Article at 
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Posted in Audio, Events, From the Feedbag, Prayers, Spicing Up Married Life | 4 Comments »

Posted September 12th, 2012 | Events, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Recipe-Fish

The “Besh”t Chef’s Gumboo

Who is your favorite chef?  There are many to choose from. But, recently, I met a chef who’s one of my all-time favorites-not just because he can cook so darn well-but because he’s on a mission of bringing people back around the family table.

Chef Besh signing his newest book, with his wife Jennifer and one of the “Besh Boys” aka one of his sons.

Meet world-renowned Chef John Besh!

By Providence, my dear friend Msgr. Nalty knew a friend of a friend who knew Chef Besh.  You know my friend as the do-rag wearing priest that assisted me during the episode of “Throw Down with Bobby Flay.” (By the way, this show is also re-airing on Thursday, October 25 at 9:30am ET/PT.) I heard of the Chef’s new book, My Family Table, which makes a plea for people to return to the family dinner table-a message near and dear to my own heart.

Msgr. Nalty with his super fancy chef coat, Chef Besh, and me-the little cook in the kitchen.

Since the good Monsignor knew that I would be in New Orleans, he sent an email to the chef’s assistant asking if we could meet up with him at one of his restaurants.  It was a “Hail Mary” pass.  Never would we imagine his response: a personal invitation to share a meal with his family at his own family dinner table.

It was of great comfort to meet him, his lovely wife, his impressive children, and his own mom and dad-who recognized me from my show (which airs every Sunday at 8:30pm EDT on EWTN).

Chef Besh with his parents, wife, and children, although one was missing because he was part of his Catholic High School Retreat Team.

It was like one big happy family talking about faith, family, and food, of course.

One of his sons was showing just how tall he was growing-compared to me, of course.

OK, now here’s the part where you all get a little jealous.  The meal was so delicious! While very familiar-the appetizer was crab salad with a variety of fresh greens, roasted beats and a light but creamy dressing, and the entrée was a healthy portion of gumbo and white rice -the cooking technique, subtle flavors, and perfectly textured ingredients were easily detected. A seasonably delicious meal served with reason and meaning.

No ordinary salad, but a combination of unique greens, lump crabmeat, and a deliciously light cream dressing.

Honestly, it took great restraint for me not to ask for a to-go container to bring on the plane the next day.

When we look up to great chefs or anyone famous, for that matter, do we try to see past the stardom in order to recognize the humanity (both good and bad) in the person-and, more importantly, try to love them for who they are as God’s child?  While I only met Chef Besh for just a few hours, I saw him in his own element. It was easy to see his human goodness, especially through his loving family.  While his food was quite impressive-OK super delicious-the way in which he lives his life of faith filled me with great inspiration. I pray that someday I can return the favor and serve him the food that comes through my hands but ultimately comes from God’s Eternal Banquet.

Gumbo and rice-perfectly and deliciously cooked.

While my gumbo never compare with Chef Besh’s , I recommend his new book and his version of gumbo.

Click here for the recipe: 

Look at all that perfectly cooked goodness in Chef Besh’s gumbo!
Let us pray:God of eternal greatness, I ask you to bless the people that we look up to. Give us a discerning eye so that we can see what true greatness requires: loving and serving one another with Christian virtue.  In a special way, bless all of the people in New Orleans who struggle through difficult inclement weather and economic challenges.  Bless Chef Besh and his family and all of those who put the faithfulness of family first in their life.  Give us all grace to leave the dinner table-Your altar and in our own kitchens-feeling grateful and strengthened to love each other as You love us.  Through Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

In this featured section, I offer talking points for you to share with family or with the GBM family. Your responses, questions, or even random ramblings encourage us to continue the work of our movement. Please post your comment or question below.

 Who is your favorite chef and why?

Have you ever met anyone famous and changed your impression-either for good or for ill?

What do you think makes a person great?

And to promote upcoming Grace Before Meals events, we will feature this new section to let you know of opportunities to hear Fr. Leo’s talks, taste his food, and grow together in your love for God and family!


Event: Palmer Catholic Academy Fundraiser

Date: September 14, 2012


Fr. Leo will be cooking his famous Fushion Fajitas and will speak on the importance of family meals and prayer together. Proceeds will benefit the Palmer Academy’s new gymnasium!
Location : Our Lady Star of The Sea Cultural Center 545 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Bch, FL 32082
Contact : Karen Shields 904-273-0475

NEXT WEEK: Fr. Leo ramps up the anticipation for the release of Spicing Up Married Life  by appearing at St. John’s Regional School at 8pm on Wednesday, September 19 to cook  an exclusive recipe from the new book.

And on September 22 at 11am, the day of the book’s release, he will be appearing with many other Catholics at the “40 Days For Life” Kickoff Rallyso come support a great cause and be among the first people to get your copy of Spicing Up Married Life!

Posted in Events, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Recipe-Fish | 2 Comments »

Posted September 6th, 2012 | Dinner Discussion, Events, Prayers, Video

The Perfect Timing For Something New

For a chef, mastering timing for cooking is essential to making a great meal.  That knowledge of timing is also important for life.  We have to know when to slow down, move forward, jump into something, or back off.  It’s not an easy lesson to learn, but one that’s worth considering in this week’s blast, especially since it’s now time for us to announce some exciting news.

Cooking times are difficult enough without the pressure of cooking under the time restraints for TV! An interview with FOX, Spring 2012.


First: my new book Spicing Up Married Life is finally set to hit the market in September.  This book took several years for me to write.  Many times I asked in prayer, “Lord, why is this taking so long to write?”  But when the production team determined September 2012 as the launch date, I realized God’s perfect timing allows me to dedicate this book to my parents who celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 22. Perfect timing, God!

Yes, this book will not only have colored pictures of the food, it will even feature easy to make desserts! Yes, a miracle, that I actually made desserts for this book, which is probably why it took so long to write!


By the way, subscribed members will receive a 10% discount for this book when purchased directly from our site. Details coming soon.

Second:  I am also pleased to announce that I’ve received a new assignment.  While I enjoyed my five years serving on faculty at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, I missed parish life terribly, and I knew in my heart it would be time to transition soon.  My new assignment doing part-time work as a parish priest at Our Lady of the Fields in Millersville, MD, will also provide me opportunities to continue my work with Grace Before Meals.  It’s a perfect fit and comes at a perfect time.

The Rainbow, that came at the perfect time for Noah and his Ark, signifies God’s promise.

By the way, an all-new season of “Savoring our Faith” on EWTN is set to air in January, with special episodes appearing this holidy season. Catch the show every Sunday at 8:30pm EDT.

Me and the two trained chef assistants for the new show. Meet Chefs Randall and Jacob.

I’m very excited returning to parish work while continuing the apostolate of Grace Before Meals-a basic extension of my work as a priest.  If you’re ever in the area, and I’m saying Mass, stop by and visit!

Third:  I finally got a new car after my previous one was deemed a total wreck after hitting a deer.  While I obsessed about the type of car to purchase for about 3 months, I came across an unplanned “Pre-Labor Day Sale” that offered me a great deal.  The salesman was a great guy who really helped me discern when and what type of car to purchase.  His name, Anthony Miller (who I highly recommend at Fox Chevrolet in Laurel, MD) reminded me of the name St. Anthony-the patron Saint who helps you find things (like the right car)-and Miller of my new parish in Millersville, It gave me some assurance to my decision for a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox.  I know that seems like a complete stretch, and perhaps a bit superstitious, but the timing of the purchase couldn’t have been better.  Again, another perfect timing moment for God!

A picture of the new car with a background of the parish church building, Our Lady of the Fields, Millersville, MD.

And finally, I wanted to share with you a video that captures the need for perfect timing. It features my nieces and nephews in a fiercely friendly cooking competition.  Last year’s competition was won by the Girls’ Team, based on the technicality that the Boys’ Team went over the allotted time.  This year, the boys worked very hard on timing, and their creativity and taste brought them to victory. 

Nephews Vs. Nieces 2012

Watch the fun, and perhaps you may be inspired to host a similar event in your own home.  There’s no better time than the present to make more efforts to bring your family together and celebrate some fun with food-especially in this busy time of the new school year.

Click to watch the heated Cooking Competition between nephews and nieces. Just like Iron Chef!…well, maybe not quite, but fun and intense nonetheless.

Learning time management-in cooking and in life-is a lifelong lesson to be learned.  May I suggest that learning this timing requires making sufficient time for prayer, especially since God certainly knows how to provide the right things at the perfect time!


The Atlanta Eucharistic Congress Procession for the Young Adult Gathering, Summer 2012. I addressed this enthusiastic crowd about the need to make time for prayer as an adult-no more childish prayer-pray like a real man and real woman, but with childlike faith.

Let us pray:Father in Heaven, all times and seasons obey Your law. Help us to be better managers of our time by making sure we spend sufficient time in prayer with You. May our days in this new season of Grace be blessed, and may we always trust and be patient, knowing that You provide us with perfect timing. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

In this featured section, I offer talking points for you to share with family or with the GBM family. Your responses, questions, or even random ramblings encourage us to continue the work of our movement. Please post your comment or question below.

  • Have you ever experienced God’s providence in timing?
  • Do you consider yourself patient person-someone who doesn’t mind waiting?
  • How do you learn patience?
  • What special food takes the longest to cook but is so worth the wait?
  • On a separate note, do you like my choice of car? Many of you picked the color, but does my choice fit my personality?
  • Are you as excited about the new book, Spicing Up Married Life, as I am to share it?
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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Events, Prayers, Video | 6 Comments »