Hallowed Eve and Holy Days


Good versus Evil at the Taste of Chicago 2012


Occasionally our team likes to send updates and reminders about upcoming events, opportunities, and news about the movement.  And there are so much exciting things happening!


In this E-mail Blast, we also want to wish that families have safe and enjoyable kid’s fun with dressing up for Halloween this year.  This day can be one that celebrates sweet candy fun.  Dressing up in different costumes can be a positive thing.  It doesn’t have to be scary or evil looking either.  Haunted houses can be fun to scare the “hell” out of your kids.  But parents can be there to help them understand evil is real, not to be “played” with, and that in moments of fear, we must seek heavenly consolation to “scare” the heaven back into them.


Holy Water and Faith in the Sacramentals is sure protection against evil.

Be sure you have a healthy and balanced conversation about the traditions, pastimes, and prayers that also accompany this religious holiday.  At the end of the Blast, you can even say the prayer before you go trick-or-treating.




We continue to spread the Grace Before Meals message through our website, social media, and of course the conferences to which we are invited.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to know where we’ll be next.  And encourage your family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for the free weekly E-Mail Blasts.  (I mean, if you are reading this, you obviously enjoy them, so why not let your friends enjoy them too!) 

Twitter friends in Sioux City, Iowa, helped me find a great fried chicken place, and they were fun company for dinner as well!


Be sure to check our website for the next time Fr. Leo may be in your area – giving a talk, leading prayers, or even cooking for a group.  Consider talking with your pastor about bringing Fr. Leo to do a mission or a mini-mission for your parish!  To learn more, click here.

Speaking to Catholic University of America students.

In November, Fr. Leo will record the audio version of our newest book, coming in 2014:  Epic Food Fight: A Bite Sized History of Salvation, published by Servant Press.  Stay tuned to our Blast to find out how you can get an early pre-release copy!


One of the many book signing opportunities we offer at every Grace Before Meals event.


Finally, remember, in this upcoming month, there are some important Holy Days and celebrations.  All Saints on November 1. the Feast of All Souls on November 2, and of course how can you forget St. Leo the Great on November 10?


And it’s not too soon to plan for your Thanksgiving dinner.  There are even great modified Thanksgiving recipes in a particular book I’ve become quite fond of, Grace Before Meals!  In fact, you can order yours today! 


Let us pray: Dear Father, You give us civil celebrations, like Halloween, to have some fun, dress up, and be like a kid in a candy shop.  May we approach the upcoming festivities with the proper attitude – recognizing the balance of the important religious significance, while maintaining a respect for the fun we all used to have as kids on this day of dressing up.  As children travel from house to house, may they always be protected from evil.  May our fun be truly innocent, sincere, and heartfelt, so that we can have more treats from the Loving Father, rather than experience the trickery of the Evil One.  Finally, as we remember the souls of the faithful departed, may they experience God’s Mercy, Rest, and Eternal Peace.  Amen.  


Feast of All Souls prayers at the cemetery.

Food for Thought:


  • What is your favorite Halloween costume?  
  • How do you tell your children about the spiritual significance of these upcoming celebrations?  
  • Are there any particular names you’d like for us to remember in prayer in these Holy Days of remembering our faithful departed?

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

This Week’s Recipe is Perfect for Halloween!



Check out October’s Culinary Confession for 
The Catholic Review

November 2-5



Chandler, AZ
November 9
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Posted in Food for Thought, Halloween, Holiday, Prayers, Recipe- Dessert, Video, What's On the Table | 1 Comment »

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 »