Posted October 29th, 2014 | All Souls Day, Holiday, In Memory, What's On the Table

 Keeping the Dead Alive 

Occasionally I try to send updates with our growing Grace Before Meals Family.  As you know, I have been traveling here, there, and everywhere spreading the importance of family meals and a “Theology of Food!”  If you want to be part of our events schedule next year, CLICK HERE TO BOOK EVENT. These are life-changing events, sure to bring so many people together for faithful foodie fun!
Fr. Leo’s missions pack the churches with families!
During some downtime, I try and stay in touch with the rest of the world by searching for interesting Grace Before Meals connections on the internet.  I came across this unique cookbook that combines food and faith, but with a particular spin, as it involves the Popes!  This book was written by one of the Swiss Guards who shares some favorite Pontifical Recipes. This book, along with my own cookbooks, may be great Christmas gifts for faithful foodies!

You’ll notice the title of this blog seems somewhat morbid, right in line with the Halloween season as it has come to be known. But as October comes to an end, we enter into several sacred celebrations:  All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day! These Feast Days give us opportunities to reflect on family and friends who have gone before us and we pray have experienced God’s mercy in heaven. While it’s easy to put on a Halloween costume, these feast days remind us to ‘put on the virtues’ that make our deceased family and friends so missed.  That means, keeping the faith of our loved ones alive in our hearts, mind and actions!
Click to watch Joe’s tribute video for his Dad, and share your comments about your own loved ones.


Here’s a special video that speaks of “putting on virtue.”  It comes from Joe Hansbrough, the Grace Before Meals project manager. He has a busy schedule too as a young husband and father of 2.  Since I’ve known him, he and his family have shared many personal challenges, including family health problems, the death of a two siblings, and recently the death of his father.  Yet, Joe and his faithful family continue to move on with life because of their Faith in God.
Faith is the stuff that makes family life such a blessing.  Despite the struggles of life, a family has each other to console, encourage and strengthen one another.  I’m so grateful to Joe and his family for the sacrifices made for our Grace Before Meals mission.  I wanted to share with you this beautiful tribute that Joe made to honor is dad.
I hope this video inspires you to see how each member of your family is a gift from God. We’re all called to be this “super hero” to one another.  When we do that, we put on more than a costume for Halloween.  We become who we are supposed to be.
Joe’s son Joshua at 6 weeks old, named for his late uncle. He’s got some family to look over him from above!

Let us pray:

Father in heaven, as our church celebrates All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day, we pray that see the spiritual significance of our prayers by remembering the souls of the faithful departed and by living lives of sanctity so that we will one day share in the eternal victory celebration in heaven.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Please post your comments and answers below as a way to say in touch and to help keep our message focused on faith, family and food!
 (1)  What’s your favorite Halloween Costume?
(2)  How will you remember your faithful departed on this upcoming feast day?
(3)  What saint inspires you the most?





Corpus Christi, TX 



Royal Oak, MI




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Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.


Posted in All Souls Day, Holiday, In Memory, What's On the Table | 3 Comments »

Posted November 6th, 2013 | All Souls Day, Dinner Discussion, In Memory, Prayers, Recipe



All Soul’s Food


Mount St. Mary’s cemetery

If there is one month that can be described as “reflective,” for me that would be November. It may be the darker and chillier days on the East Coast or the fall colors, but they both reflect a change of the season, and for this seasonal change, a shift to the natural dormancy of our surroundings.  All in all, it reflects life. 


For me, the reflective days of November, however, point directly to the liturgical seasons.  The beginning of November signals that the liturgical year is soon coming to an end.  We begin the month of November remembering All Saints in Heaven, while hoping and praying that All Souls of the faithful departed will soon experience the victory over sin and death.

“Pietá” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC.

In the Catholic Church, the month of November is dedicated to remembering our beloved dead.  It’s not morbid, but hopeful.  It’s certainly sad to remember people who we love and who have died, but our faith tells us our tears will eventually be turned into joy.  We just have to remember a few things: Heaven is real.  God is real.  God’s mercy for the forgiveness of our sins is very real.  We have to ask for that mercy!

In a commercialized world that more and more seems to honor physical beauty above all things, we can easily forget that we have a soul.  This e-mail blast offers a simple reminder:

  • to feed your soul with healthy foods;
  • to exercise your soul with acts of charity;
  • to pray for souls that are hurting;
  • to love and honor the soul, which is eternal;
  • to realize the body – while God’s gift – won’t last forever;
  • and, of course, to pray for the souls of those who have passed on.
At a recent event for St. Michael Archangel Parish in Livonia, Michigan. This couple will feed their married soul with our most recent book, Spicing Up Married Life.

I strongly and honestly believe that if we prayed more to see people’s souls – rather than constantly paying attention to their physical appearance, financial status, or popularity – we would shift our focus to our relationships with people.  For example, I’ve met popular people with very troubled souls.  At the same time, I’ve met people with many difficulties in life, but because of their faith their souls are at peace.  These faithful people are calm on in the inside despite the challenges around them.  Their secret to this peace in their soul is a life of faith well lived! 

Mother Theresa Statue, Basilica of the National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

Today and this month, I pray our Grace Before Meals movement can inspire you to pay closer attention to your soul, the soul of your family, and the souls of the faithful departed. Please help us spread this good news about our souls by passing on this e-mail; encouraging family, friends, and parishioners to sign up for these weekly e-blasts; and also to pray for our movement! 

At an event at a parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

 Food for Thought:

  • How do you describe the reality of the soul to your family or your children?
  • What’s the best “soul food” for you – and I’m talking physical and spiritual soul food?
  • Have you had a chance to visit and pray at a cemetery this month?  When you go, what are some of the reflective thoughts you’ll have about the deceased person?
  • What’s your favorite month?  And do you also think November could be described as “reflective?”

Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments below.

Let us pray:


Father in Heaven, You gave us an immortal and rational soul.  In our soul is stamped the image of Your beauty.  Help us to never forget to take care of our soul – feeding it, strengthening it, and making it the very place where peace and love begins in our lives.  We remember always the souls of the faithful departed, and we entrust their souls to Your loving mercy and forgiveness.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The American Military Cemetery, Assisi, Italy

This Week’s Recipe: 




November 9

November 14
Dallas, PA
November 16
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Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.


Posted in All Souls Day, Dinner Discussion, In Memory, Prayers, Recipe | 3 Comments »

The Website is Almost Here!

It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for!  The NEW website launches tomorrow, November 1!  Aside from just “looking prettier,” this website is reorganized and will feature the latest news, more ways to share in upcoming events, more of Fr. Leo’s exclusive recipes, the newest videos, and even ways to stay in touch with Fr. Leo and the GBM family.  

Just a quick look at the new, improved homepage.


With an updated interface, it’s much easier to find what you’re looking for: from web episodes to recipes, it’s all here!


Speaking of recipes, how cool is this new layout?


With the new interface, people who sign up and register will be signed up for the weekly eBlast and get access to all of Fr. Leo’s recipes all at once. And we want to encourage each of you to share in the movement by sending in stories and photos from GBM events and with your family so that others may be encouraged by the good that be done through one another.


Fr. Leo will be filmed for the 700 Club on November 30th to talk about his new book, Spicing Up Married Life.


You may start seeing Fr. Leo on TV and in articles more often soon in light of the release of Spicing Up Married Life, as we seek to partner with groups to share the book with couples. He will be featured on The 700 Club on November 30, sharing a number of recipes straight out of the book. If you have a local bookstore that you want to offer Fr. Leo’s new book, or if you’re interested in hosting Fr. Leo at your event or show, please contact us at


Fr. Leo is teaming up with Tom Leopold, a comedy writer who worked on “Cheers!” and “Seinfeld” to host a new radio show on The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM. Check out the schedule here


This fall, Fr. Leo has been hosting a radio show with Tom Leopold on the Catholic Channel called “Entertaining Truth with Tom Leopold and Fr. Leo Patalinghug” (appropriately enough). Tom Leopold is a Jewish convert to Catholicism and a comedy writer who has worked on shows such as Seinfeld, Cheers!, and even Will and Grace, but you can read about his conversion here. The next show is airing at 11am on Saturday, November 3, so tune in!

Aside from being on the 700 Club and hosting a radio show, Fr. Leo was also recently in Rome filming new episodes of Savoring Our Faith! It will be a lot of fun and worth catching on EWTN.

With so much going on and a new chapter for Grace Before Meals getting ready to begin, we ask you to keep us in your prayers, and we also extend special prayers to all of the families devastated and affected by the recent Superstorm Sandy. May God bless each of them, especially in light of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

With the Christmas Holiday season coming up, we hope you consider sharing Fr. Leo’s newest book Spicing Up Married Life with friends and family of all ages. Head over to the new GBM Shopping Cart and place your order, and if you want Fr. Leo to SIGN & DEDICATE your books or apparel, then email us at and we will be happy to get them to you as soon as possible.

**For those who wish to have dedications, please allow an additional week for delivery to account for Fr. Leo’s availability. He’s all over the place!

Let us pray:   
How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord

which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world’s power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.
– Unknown author, 10th century


26950 Patrick Ave. Hayward, CA 94544 

CONTACT: Jim 510-471-7766 x 22

  • This rally kicks off the beginning of the School Year!  High school students from multiple parishes will be able to attend workshops, mass, and a presentation by Fr. Leo.


Our Lady of Good Counsel, 8601 Wolftrap Road, Vienna, VA 22182 

CONTACT: Anna Mary 703-896-7425

  • Fr. Leo will be giving a Grace Before Meals presentation and cooking demonstration at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church.  This event is part of an auction effort to raise money for the church.


St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Community, 4103 Prices Distillery Rd. Ijamsville, MD 21754

CONTACT: Carol Smith 301-695-8845

  • Fr. Leo will be working with the “Marriage Matters” group at St. Ignatius Loyola to speak on Family Meals and Strengthening Marriages, complete with a cooking demonstration, starting at 1pm after the 12pm Mass.


Atlantic General Hospital Community Health Fair 

Millsboro Middle School, Indian River School District 302 East State St., Millsboro, DE 19966

CONTACT: Dawn 410-641-9268

  • Fr. Leo will present at this second annual community health fair.  There will be free adult education and a variety of free health screenings available.


Outside Da Box

St. John Neumann 2900 E Main St. St Charles, IL 60174 

CONTACT: Eric 630-242-4898

  • This event focuses on helping families and couples grow in their faith in new ways.  Fr. Leo will give a cooking demonstration and Grace Before Meals presentation.



Catholic Charities “Come and See” Fundraiser

Harrisburg, PA

CONTACT: Mark 717-657-4804

  • Fr. Leo will present the message of Grace Before Meals at the annual “Come and See” fundraiser. Benefits go to the Diocese of Harrisburg and Catholic Charities.

Posted in All Souls Day, Events, Media, Savoring Our Faith, Spicing Up Married Life, What's On the Table | 2 Comments »

Dinner Discussion

All Soul’s Food

Two days ago many children celebrating Halloween dressed in costumes, approached a stranger’s home, knocked on the door and insisted for candy.  Or else, suffer the tricky consequences!

(Typical of seminarians, always playing tricks – even on food.)

(Typical of seminarians, always playing tricks – even on food.)

It’s redundant, but so worth repeating:  Halloween is just another example of a secularized holiday, rooted in the Christian celebrations, that brings the community together through FOOD. Namely CANDY!

(Granted, it’s not candy, but these sweet desserts prepared by the seminarians of Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, are definitely my kinds of sweet “treats!”)

(Granted, it’s not candy, but these sweet desserts prepared by the seminarians of Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, are definitely my kinds of sweet “treats!”)

Now that Halloween is over and children are still on a sugar rush, parents have a responsibility to properly integrate the social fun with the solemnity of the holiday.  If not, the silliness of costume dress up combined with the demand of for treats could stunt the spiritual maturation and psychological growth of our children.  If kids don’t see a deeper meaning to the lighthearted expression of this holiday, little kids can turn into “big kids” – not necessarily mature adults.

“Big kids” still “dress up,” but in a different way, i.e., they prefer fantasy to reality, and they put on titles and attitudes rather than discover their true identity.  Big kids seek adult “treats,” –  expensive technology, fashion, luxury, or high dollar socializing.  And if they don’t get it, big kids may play tricks that come in the form of vandalism, or theft.  They may even organize themselves and demand the sweet things in life through obnoxious bullying or “protesting.”  Unless as kids we grow up seeing a more meaningful side to Halloween, those childish tendencies can stick with us for a very long time.

Today’s solemn Feast Day of All Souls offers gentle reminders and a helpful perspective to young children about how the Halloween fun has a deeper meaning.  All Souls Day celebrates life in a spiritually healthy way.  It reminds us of the humility with which we must approach life, knowing that life ultimately isn’t about costumes and candy, but the salvation of our soul.

(An ironic picture: we’re like “walking dead” until we get that cup of coffee in the morning.)

(An ironic picture: we’re like “walking dead” until we get that cup of coffee in the morning.)

Now please don’t think I’m a fuddy-duddy when it comes to the Halloween fun!  I sincerely hope the young children had fun dressing up, parading around the neighborhood, and just being children who love candy.  At the same time, I hope parents can help their children see a more prayerful and serious approach to Halloween – an approach that’s connected to today’s feast of praying for all the souls of the dead, minus that feeling of just entering a haunted house.  Go ahead parents, and take your children to church today, or even visit a cemetery to pray for the beloved dead.

Today’s celebration and the prayers and prayerful remembrances of the faithful departed remind us that life will eventually lead to God’s door.  We will knock and He will answer.  We won’t be dressed up, but in fact it will be the exact opposite – our real identity will be completely exposed. No tricks can be played, and the only “treat” offered is the banquet of eternal life to those who did not mask their Christian identity.  Yes, this Feast Day, connected to Halloween, reminds us that only the souls of the just receive that sweet reward of eternal life.

(Seminarians in procession at Mount St. Mary’s Emmitsburg Cemetery, located at the National Shrine of the Lourdes Grotto.)

(Seminarians in procession at Mount St. Mary’s Emmitsburg Cemetery, located at the National Shrine of the Lourdes Grotto.)

That’s what we pray for today.

The modern world approaches the afterlife, death, and the subject of spirits and souls with a creepy hesitation and subconsciously imbedded fear.  The Church, though, offers children of all ages an opportunity to mature in their understanding of this mystery through study and prayer.

You can certainly see that Halloween doesn’t bother my Christian sensibilities.  I think parents that let their kids have a little neighborhood fun are healthy people.  At the same time, I encourage families to make sure they share the real “treat,” if you will, the Eucharist – true food for our soul.

(Enjoying a sweet treat with my project manager, Joe, and some YouTube artists in Hollywood, California! Stay tuned to hear more about our upcoming YouTube channel.)

(Enjoying a sweet treat with my project manager, Joe, and some YouTube artists in Hollywood, California! Stay tuned to hear more about our upcoming YouTube channel.)

Let us pray:

Father, we ask Your mercy on all of those who have died, especially in this past year.  May they experience Your purifying Grace, be welcomed into the eternal communion and participate in the feast that gives eternal life to our body and soul.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Did you let your children go trick or treating?  What costume did they wear?  Do you remember your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?  What was your favorite candy?  And what type of candy did you give to your neighbors?  How will you celebrate All Soul’s Day and talk about it with your children?

By the way:  My favorite Halloween costume was “Casper the Friendly Ghost.”  And my favorite candy was chocolate covered malt-balls!  Just loved that sweet chocolaty crunch!

(Instead of turning pumpkins into scary faces, turn that jack-o'-lantern into something beautiful – or even a pie!)

(Instead of turning pumpkins into scary faces, turn that jack-o’-lantern into something beautiful – or even a pie!)

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Posted in All Souls Day, Dinner Discussion, Halloween, Holiday, In Memory, Mass, Past Emails, Prayers, Seminarians | 8 Comments »