Announcing Something New


For today’s Solemn Feast of the Annunciation, we recognize that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world.  Because of Mary’s “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel’s invitation to be the mother of God Most High, we now have the feast of feasts – 9 months later – called Christmas!  This “announcement” of something new, inspires our Grace Before Meals team to do some new things as well.

Here are some highlights:

(1)  Next week you’ll see a new format for the email blasts, including a new “splash page” when you log onto Grace Before Meals.  Be sure to check it out next week.  We will continue to host the same dynamic content connecting food, faith, family and fun, but with a slightly new look.

The young man to my left is considering studying for the priesthood.


(2)  We continue to partner with other evangelization groups, such as for their #ShareJesus Project during this Lenten Season.  Be sure to check out the last video I did with them, where I compare a resurrected body versus the body of a zombie!

(3)  CRS Rice Bowls was an important part of our Lenten Journey.  As we come to the close of the Lenten Season, we realize the our compassion doesn’t end, but takes on new meaning. Consider making these meatless dishes throughout the year.  They’re not only delicious, but it will remind of the powerful connection we have with people around the world – especially those who need our help throughout the year. Click HERE for the recipe.

Fried Plantains with Beans from Democratic Republic of Congo | CRS Rice Bowl's Global Kitchen
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(4)  While we’ve taken trips around Europe and even in the United States, we’re proud to bring you a trip to Spain – a country filled with a dynamic history, a mystical faith tradition, and known for their international cuisine.  Currently, we are offering a $200.00 discount for those who register before May 1, 2015! If you want a life changing experience and travel to Spain with me and Patrick Coffin, call Select International today at 800.842.4842 and speak with Susan.

(5)  Last week, Grace Before Meals took a new step in establishing our non-profit outreach called, “The Table Foundation: Elevating Culture and Family Life, One Meal at a Time.”  We had our first board meeting with people across the country and we are excited to take next steps. To learn more, visit the website and prayerfully consider how you can get involved.

Our celebration today changed world history.  God doesn’t want us to “stay the same” but to be constantly trying to improve ourselves, our relationships, and to improve our ability to love and serve God and each other.  We hope you hear that invitation from God and announce the Good News to all!

The Parish Mission at St. Michael’s Parish in Livonia, MI. How exciting to fill the church with people seeking a renewal of faith!


(1) How did you celebrate this Annunciation Feast Day?

(2) Is there anything “new” that you can do to serve God better?

(3) Did you learn any new recipes from this Lenten Season?

Let us pray:


Father, we thank you for Mary’s yes to the Archangel Gabriel.  May we experience grace from this Feast Day and allow God’s love to touch us and heal us.  May the reality of God becoming man be a sign for us to live more like Jesus, who touched people’s hearts and feeding their hungry souls.  Bless us on our remaining Lenten journey.  Bless our Grace Before Meals team with zeal to do something dynamic and new for your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


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Posted March 18th, 2015 | CRS Rice Bowl, Lent, Video
Menu Inspiration:

Feeding the Hungry with Goodness


Grace Before Meals makes every effort to work with other groups to feed the hungry.  That’s why it was a pleasure to work with Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl Program.  Filming the recipes and sharing the message about the countries that benefit reminds me of the power of food and the much needed efforts of our Grace Before Meals Movement.  With the CRS Rice Bowl Program, you can address the hungers of the body and for the soul.  I hope you you’re enjoying these recipes and the videos.  If you’ve not had a chance to cook these up for your family on a Friday, then cook it any day of the week!  They’re delicious any day of the week!

Fattet Laban from Lebanon | CRS Rice Bowl's Global Kitchen
Fattet Laban from Lebanon – from Fr. Leo & CRS Rice Bowl’s Global Kitchen
Recently, Grace Before Meals had another opportunity to take our message internationally.  We collaborated with the US Ambassador to the Holy See, Ambassador and Mrs. Hackett. Along with the Chef Matteo, one of the staff for the Embassy’s diplomatic core, I cooked a meal to support a religious convent that helps victims involved in human trafficking.  We cooked a meal for these young women and their children – a small gesture – but one filled with God’s love.

Click to watch video with US Embassy
As we approach the remaining weeks of Lent, consider how we can feed the hungry in our world. When we feed others, we experience a fulfillment in our soul.  We really experience the satisfaction with God’s love.

Good News about our Trip to Spain with Catholic Answer’s Patrick Coffin.  There will be a $200.00 discount for all of those who register before May 1, 2015.  Call now 800.842.4842


Let us pray:


“Father, give to us the grace to feed the hungry in our world.  Help us to hear the cries of the poor.   Teach us ways to keep the Christian message in our hearts so that we can fill the hungers of others.  Bless the work of CRS Rice Bowl Program and the US Embassy to the Holy See efforts to assist those victims of human trafficking.   May the remaining weeks of Lent be a time of inspiration, mercy and compassion.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

Upcoming Events:
Livonia MI
Jacksonville FL
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Posted March 11th, 2015 | CRS Rice Bowl, Food for Thought

Food For Thought:

Marching As Sinners with St. Patrick

I’m feeling very Irish!  Perhaps it’s because I’m finishing up a parish mission at St. Patrick’s Parish in Colorado Springs, CO.  It’s also because St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and  Cardinal Dolan’s decision to allow a “gay group” to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade has brought about a lot of criticism and a media firestorm.  But, I wanted to offer a perspective, simply because on that day, we should all be Irish.  In fact, I change my name that day to Fr. Lee O’Patalinghug!


What a great t-shirt from St. Patrick’s
Colorado Springs, CO

Kidding aside, this touchy subject requires some pastoral sensitivity.  Without trying to defend or criticize Cardinal Dolan’s decision, I must say his decision made me reflect on my pilgrimage to heaven – my personal “march” so to speak.  However you feel about the Cardinal’s decision – right or wrong – it should make us all reflect on what it means to walk in a parade named after a saint – a great Saint – like Patrick.  It can’t be limited to Irish descent, but a universal calling to holiness.


I love the fact that my parish missions draw out the young and the old. This little guy reminded me of a little leprechaun. So joyful and full of life!



We have to remember that Church and Catholic things (like a march) isn’t for perfect people who are sinless.  We’re not a “hotel for saints” but a “hospital for sinners.”  Everyone who marches in the St. Patrick’s Day parade is not showing off their holiness or virtue.  Instead, they should walk to show how they want to become saints, despite their sins – no matter how public or private their sins may be.  I realize that is not the intent of the gay group.  But it should be ours, true devotees to St. Patricks.

Walking, eating, teaching and praying with public sinners is what Jesus did.  Maybe this parade can be an opportunity for Catholics to show the world that we’re not afraid to walk with sinners. This could be an opportunity for a real conversation to occur about this topic.  We can use this moment to proclaim that no matter what our sins, the Catholic Church is trying to walk with us to become saints in heaven – as long as we’re walking in the right direction.  Who knows, by walking along side authentically joyful Irish Catholics, some of those “sinners” may find their way to heaven.  But between now and then, an opportunity to walk is really an opportunity for us to talk!


Cardinal Dolan with a group of pilgrims in NYC


Our modern world has so many ways to communicate.  But compassion, charity, forgiveness and mercy means that we have to walk the talk.   I pray this St. Patrick’s Day parade, even if it’s filled with sinful people, can be an opportunity for everyone to be less judgmental, more compassionate, and more loving as Jesus would love us.  That starts by our willingness to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.  That’s how Jesus did it.  That’s what Saints are willing to do.  This St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I pray that our feet do the talking.


Click HERE for an easy Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe!



Food for Thought


(1) How will you try and walk the path of holiness on St. Patrick’s Day?

(2) What’s your favorite St. Patrick’s Day meal?

(3) How do you show mercy, love and compassion to people who (by their own decisions) feel marginalized from the Church’s loving embrace?

Questions:   Please leave your comments and questions HERE. Your responses help guide us in our future email blasts.  Thanks for joining in the conversation.

Let us pray:

The Prayer of St. Patrick



I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

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Grand Rapids MI
Cleveland OH
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Posted March 4th, 2015 | Food for Thought, Lent

  Food For Thought:  Sourcing Ingredients

The culinary phrase, “sourcing ingredients” simply means getting all of the products you need to make a meal.  For me – the priest who connects food and faith – the connection is quite simple:  if you want to have a dish come out well, you need to follow the recipe, but must also source the proper ingredients.  In the language of faith, you won’t ever achieve holiness, unless we actually have certain ingredients and utilize them well.

But what are the ingredients needed to produce a good and holy faith?  Let me just list some of the basics needed in your religious pantry:  prayer, a roper attitude, devotions, a community of believers, a properly formed conscious, discipline, education in what God teaches, the Sacraments, and a daily discipline to joyfully live according to God’s commands as taught by the tradition, scriptures, and magisterium.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these basic ingredients help us produce a good and holy faith.  I realize this list may seem like an overwhelming number of “ingredients.” But this list is common sense and quite accessible.  This Lenten season provides an opportunity to make sure we have the ingredients we need to celebrate our Christian Faith well.  To help, I’ve listed a few resources to help you “source the ingredients.”

(1)  Spiritual Reading.  Get a good spiritual book and read it!  The book “Epic Food Fight: A Bitesized History of Salvation” has been called by George Weigel, “A winsome approach to our Church teachings.”  George also said this about our Grace Before Meals movement:
The “New Evangelization” proclaimed by Pope John Paul II takes the people of the Church into many different venues — including, says Father Leo Patalinghug, the kitchen. And why not? The Master himself did a lot of his teaching over meals, and identified himself and his enduring love for his people with bread and wine. Catechetics-through-cooking might seem new, but it’s as old as the Gospels, and in Father Leo, this ancient craft has an engaging 21st century practitioner.

   – George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Wants and Needs: Gratitude Journal / Diary
Wants and Needs: Gratitude Journal / Diary
(2)  Measure your daily spiritual exercise.  There are many apps and technological gadgets to help you exercise your body, simply by reminding you to work out or updating your status with how many calories you burn.  It’s helpful to keep a record on whether your getting stronger or weaker, healthier or sicker?  But what about your spiritual exercises?  This new app can help!  Consider it.  Click HERE to learn more.

(3) Be generous!  The CRS Rice Bowl offers recipes, stories about our Catholic Church’s efforts to help people in developing nations, but also a practical way to be generous.  Let the world know you care and that you’re using these Lenten Recipes to help form your consciences and your culinary culture.  A healthy faith requires a healthy amount of generosity.

(4) Go on a pilgrimage.  A healthy faith requires stepping outside of ourselves and experiencing the “universal” aspect of the church.  So go out there an see the world and how wonderfully affective the Catholic Faith has been for it!  There are still some spaces left for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to celebrate the great Mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. Theresa of Avila’s 500th Anniversary of her birth.  The entire country of Spain is celebrating this year with feasts for body, mind and soul.  Join us for this incredible trip with me and Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers Live.  Call Select International at 800.842.4842 to reserve your spot.
(5)  Use Technology for God:  The Redeemed Online organization has provided anyone who signs up, a free daily meditation for everyday during Lent.  I was honored to be asked to speak first, which you can watch HERE.  It’s a great way to grow in your faith, so that the final product at Easter is a better version of you!  To sign up for the rest of the Lenten meditations, click HERE and make sure to #ShareJesus with all others
(1) What do you think is the most important ingredient for a good life in faith?
(2) What is a unique ingredient to help in your faith life?


Let Us Pray:

 “Father, help us to remember that following the recipe of faith also requires us to make sure we have the ingredients of faith.  Remind us if we may be missing an important part of our faith – including an attitude of joy!  Help us to trust that you call us to produce faith because you generously provide the ingredients.  May we learn everyday how to be your follower as Christ taught us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Upcoming Events:
Colorado Springs CO
Anaheim CA
Check out all of Fr. Leo’s upcoming events by going to

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