God Is (Isaiah 12:2)

God is. Simply put, to say the least. But what a big statement! What, or more accurately, who is God to you? There is no answer that can encompass the entirety of God, for He is entirety and then so much more. But the Prophet Isaiah has a pretty good answer for us to consider:


Watch the promo video for Steubenville Youth Conferences 2014

I will be at 3 Steubenville Youth Conferences this year, and as you may have guessed, the theme is “God Is”. This weekend, I will once again be going to Steubenville On The Bayou, at the Houma Civic Center in Houma, LA, then I will be at Steubenville Atlantic (in Canada) (7/4- 7/6/14) and Steubenville Main Campus 5 (7/18-7/20/14). And what wonderful opportunities to come together with so many young people ready to be set on fire with love for God in their faith.

I will be giving more than giving a talk, but will also be leading the entertainment like last year, and am looking forward to the fun waiting to be had. More than just talks and musical performances, there is a true unity felt among the crowds of young people and adults, all brought together in the love of God.

The theme of “God Is” should provoke you to think about what that means to you. Is it a statement, or is it the start of a sentence? Even the most devout would benefit from seeking to find out more about who God is in their lives. I highly encourage you, your children or any young person you think would benefit from the experience to try and make it out to one of these conferences. There is a full listing HERE.

The third episode for Epic Food Fight: Fr. Leo makes Blessed ‘Milk & Honey’ Salad

Also, you can check out my Epic Food Fight video, preparing Blessed ‘Milk & Honey’ Salad by clicking the picture above. Check it out and let us know what you think! Finally, I want to encourage anyone interested in joining me for pilgrimages to Napa Valley (11/9-11/14/14) and the Holy Land (2/1-2/12/15) to register soon. The deadline for Napa Valley is July 7, so call Corporate Travel Service at 313-565-8888 x 122 to register today.

I’ll hope you are excited for the journey ahead to seek who, what, or that God is. God is.


  • What does the Steubenville Conferences’ theme “God Is” mean to you?
  • Have you been to a Steubenville Conference before? How was your experience?
  • Have you ever engaged in a conversation about who God is with a non-believer? What happened?

Please post your comments below as these help our movement learn and grow. 


Let us pray:


God, may we come to seek you are in all things, for you are all that we desire and you provide all that we need. May we trust that you are here with us always, and that you know what is best. May we surrender our hearts, our fears and our ambitions to you, so that you may do with us what is most pleasing to you. We love you always, and ask your blessing on all people, whether young or old, rich or poor, big or small. May many come to love you more through these conferences and in the work we do for your glory. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.  

This Week’s Recipe:




6/27/14 – 6/29/14




Houma, LA

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Posted June 18th, 2014 | Dinner Discussion, Epic Food Fight, Video


WATCH: Fr. Leo makes New York Strip Steak with Advieh Seasoning

As you may know, my latest book Epic Food Fight: A Bite-sized History of Salvation came out earlier this year, and unlike my other books, Grace Before Meals: Recipes & Inspirations for Family Meals & Family Life and Spicing Up Married Life, this book does not contain recipes, but rather a “Theology of Food”.

What you may not have known is that Franciscan Media, the publisher of the book, produced some videos for Epic Food Fight as well. So I wanted to share with you the first 2 episodes.

The first video is an explanation of the book, and may provide some insight on why this is important and such a big part of what we do at Grace Before Meals. Click the picture and watch it below.  


Click to learn more about Epic Food Fight from Fr. Leo himself.

 The second video, I do actually cook up a meal that quite a tasty dish: New York Strip Steak with advieh seasoning. I gave steaks a whole new flavor profile by using advieh seasoning, which combines cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cloves and ginger – ingredients often associated to sweet baking, but also uniquely used in savory style cuisine. You can watch and learn just how easy it is to cook up some good steak by clicking the picture below.  

Easy to make, and even easier to eat, click the picture to watch how to make some delicious NY Strip Steak with advieh seasoning.

Just as with my work with Grace Before Meals, TV and radio, this book makes clear how faith and food go hand in hand in bringing us closer to God and one another, as it is all truly a gift. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you check out Epic Food Fight this summer and be spiritually fed.

Of course, if you don’t want to take my word for it, you can check out some testimonials from fans, as well as from some celebrated Catholic personalities, such as Fr. Jonathan Morris, who says:

“Now this is great news-God cares about good food! In this refreshingly simple and joy-filled book, my friend Father Leo takes us from the dining room table to the Eucharistic altar and shows us how God wills to nourish us, body and soul.”


-FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS, program director of

The Catholic Channel on SiriusXM Radio 

Next week, I will share the third episode where I make “Blessed Milk & Honey” Salad. At Grace Before Meals, we hope to help bring you closer to God and your family in the work we do, and this book is a big part of it. So share your stories of faith and food, and if you’ve read the book, let me know your thoughts on it by leaving comments HERE.


  • Have you read Epic Food Fight?
  • What are your thoughts on a “theology of food”? Does it make sense to you?
  • What do you consider the greatest culinary connection to the Catholic faith?

Please post your comments HERE, as these help our movement learn and grow. 


Let us pray:


Father, we praise you for your love for us and for the food you give us to eat. May we be fed with your Body and Blood, serving you by helping those in need. And may we always be strengthened and willing to fight the temptation to partake in the ‘forbidden fruit’, eating and drinking the spiritual food only you can provide. We love you and thank you for your mercy, and ask for your blessing in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



WATCH: Fr. Leo on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on EWTN

Click to watch Fr. Leo on The World OVer with Raymond Arroyo.

Fr. Leo was a special guest on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on June 5, 2014. Fr. Leo speaks on Grace Before Meals and The GIFT Vessel in greater details.

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Posted June 11th, 2014 | Events, From the Feedbag, GIFT, Media, Video

Giving the GIFT of Holy Communion with Gluten Consciences

Since the introduction of the newest liturgical vessel, The GIFT: Gluten Intolerant Faithful Thanksgiving, we have had an overwhelming positive response.  There were also a few questions, which I hope to answer in this “From the Feed Bag.”

Click to watch the official video for The GIFT and learn more.

Can people diagnosed with Celiac Disease receive the special low-gluten host approved by the Catholic Church?


There is a difference between people who have a gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy, and celiac disease.  The special hosts approved by the Catholic Church have the lowest possible amount of wheat in order to be valid for sacramental consecration.  As the video shows, even people with celiac disease may be able to receive the host without any noticeable physical reactions.  With the GIFT and approved special low gluten hosts, the Church has addressed the special considerations of those with celiac disease in the most pastorally and seriously approved way possible. 


Tabernacle of St. Patrick’s Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

If the priest uses both hands for the “fraction rite” is there still a chance of “cross contamination” even if he uses his other hand to distribute the special approved hosts from the GIFT vessel?



The Church has the responsibility to be attentive to people with gluten conditions (allergies, intolerances, or diseases) while avoiding the temptation to be scrupulous and obtuse in regards to handling the sacred hosts.  While the fraction rite (i.e., when the priest breaks the host) means that the priest uses both hands, the moisture from his hands alone provides enough “cleansing” to safely distribute the special low gluten host in a pastorally attentive way.  Using the other hand (after wiping on the corporal) also helps to avoid fears of cross contamination. 


Missionaries of Charity Novices praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

Why can’t people with gluten conditions just use the chalice and receive the Precious Blood?


Drinking the Precious Blood from the chalice provides the communicant the full sign of Communion.  However, many churches do not offer Communion under both Forms.  Some also prefer not to receive the Sacred Blood for personal hygienic concerns, which is why some churches do not offer the Precious Blood during flu season.  Some also have personal or other medical reasons for not receiving the consecrated wine, the Blood of Christ. This GIFT simply provides an easy way to give Communion without drawing more attention to the person with the special gluten concerns.


Is this a real concern for the church? Are we somehow making these “diets” a bigger deal?



Gluten conditions are medical conditions, which the Church takes very seriously.  Creating the GIFT is a pastoral response to a biological problem that is unfortunately growing in numbers.  It’s not the Church’s position to disregard or dismiss, but to be attentive to people who have special conditions.  The GIFT provides a pastoral and sacred way to easily distribute Communion without calling too much attention to those persons, and without creating hassle for the priest or liturgists during this most sacred time at Mass.



Why is the GIFT more expensive than those pyxes that many people have?



When creating the GIFT, I made a prayerful and conscious decision to work with Alviti Creations, a reputable Catholic Family owned vessel-making company with experience for the past 40 years.  They told me they do not make sacred vessels with cheap materials.  It’s our shared philosophy that the GIFT ought to be a worthy vessel, keeping with the liturgical laws and sacred traditions of the Roman Catholic Faith.  The Church believes that the consecrated hosts, even if they are low gluten, are the Body of Christ deserving more than cheap materials or an inferior plastic lined pyx. This is a sacred vessel because it holds the Most Sacred Gift. Working with Alviti Creations has been a blessed decision, and I’m proud to be their partner in this special project.



Praying before the Blessed Sacrament at the Eucharist Chapel of the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.


Where can I get the GIFT?



You can order your GIFT by contacting Alviti Creations, or by contacting your local liturgical distributor. It’s important to speak with your pastor and the pastoral / liturgical team about this good news for special Communion needs.  This also provides a real opportunity for the entire parish to have a catechetical “refresher” on the spiritual and practical aspects of receiving Holy Communion, i.e., going to confession, showing the proper piety and posture for Communion, and also pastorally letting people know that special gluten concerns ought not prevent you from receiving Holy Communion.





  • What do you think of this vessel?
  • Do you have other questions about this vessel?
  • Will you please take action, and help spread this message to your parishes and families?

Please post your comments HERE, as these help our movement learn and grow. 



Let us pray:


Father, thank You for the Gift of the Eucharist, and for sending Your spirit upon the Church with the idea for this new vessel.  We pray for all who receive Communion, may they do so with hearts that are humble, joyful and most importantly hungry for Your saving Grace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 



WATCH: Fr. Leo on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on EWTN


Click to watch Fr. Leo on The World OVer with Raymond Arroyo.

Fr. Leo was a special guest on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on June 5, 2014. Fr. Leo speaks on Grace Before Meals and The GIFT Vessel in greater details.

Click to watch Fr. Leo on FOX45


Fr. Leo returns to FOX45 to share his new invention for those with a gluten intolerance who want to receive communion during Mass: The GIFT (Gluten Intolerant Faithful Thanksgiving). Watch him explain it further and share the news!

Click to hear Fr. Leo’s interview on The Good Catholic Life

Fr. Leo talks with Michael Lavigne and Dom Bettinelli about the necessity of grace before meals, of feasting and fasting, and of understanding how God wants to satisfy our hungers even as He hungers for us.


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Posted in Events, From the Feedbag, GIFT, Media, Video | 2 Comments »

Posted June 4th, 2014 | Epic Food Fight, Faithful Foodie, Video

Triumphant Travels

Now that I’m back from Italy following a great Couples Retreat that I co-led with Teresa Tomeo and her husband Dcn. Dom Pastore, plus a reunion with my priest friends from seminary, it is nice to look back at my travels. Many people think I am very lucky to travel as much as I do, but I sometimes, I am reluctant to agree. Let’s just say that driving non-stop, flight delays, and little sleep don’t always make me a happy traveler.

Yet as easy as it is for me to get frustrated when I’m stuck in a terminal for hours on end or when I travel between 5 events in 4 states in 7 days, I must say that I am thankful for the great opportunity to be spreading the Good News and sharing our family movement with people around the country and world. Knowing it is a unique part of my priesthood, even the most grueling of travel schedules offers the hope of knowing that I have the chance to meet many wonderful people and to feed them with food for the body & the soul. Plus, I hope that my toughest times in airports can serve as penance and reduce my time in Purgatory (I kid).

Knowing that travel is necessary for me and many others to carry out God’s will, I want to invite you and your friends to join me for some of my adventures. I know it is not always easy or even affordable, but I would very much encourage you to look into these trips and other ones that are coming soon, as they not only serve as great adventures that will provide memories for a lifetime, but faith-filled journeys that I think will impact you even after this lifetime.

Napa Valley Pilgrimage 2014

Click to see the video on Youtube and share with friends!


I highly recommend this trip to Napa Valley, CA this November 9-14, 2014, as it is right here in the USA, practically your backyard. As you can see in the trailer above, there are so many beautiful vineyards, wineries, locales and even castles to see, but what is more striking is the history and the amazing ties between the Catholic faith and wine. You can download the PDF form and fill it out by going to http://gracebeforemeals.com/assets/uploads/old_blog/Napa_Valley_Fruit_of_the_Vine.pdf. Cheers!

The Holy Land Pilgrimage 2015
Click the picture to download the registration form, and I’ll hope to see you in the Holy Land in 2015!


I will be returning to the Holy Land in conjunction with Select International and Chefs for Peace again this February 1-12, 2015, following a tremendous trip this past January.

Take a look at some of the wonderful tastes and travels in store for you in the Holy Land.

As mentioned, there are many pains when it comes to traveling, but it is when you take a look around and see the glory of God’s creation that you can at least appreciate how amazing He really is, and just how much He loves us to provide us with such beauty. I pray that you can join me and others on these wonderful faith-filled and inspiring journeys, for that is what they are meant to do: inspire your faith. What better way than to enjoy God’s splendor with others in faith, food, and across the world.


Let us Pray for those going on vacation:


Father in Heaven, guide all travelers in their destinations. Give them patience, joy, perseverance and love as they travel in these coming summer months.  Provide them safety and peace, now and until they reach their final destination in heaven, through your mercy and goodness, in the name of Jesus The Lord. 




Spring Lake, NJ

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