NOTE: Some of you may have noticed that our website was hacked over this past weekend. Our programmers did a great job cleaning things up and we are in fact back up and running. We apologize for the inconvenience and we hope you join us in praying for those responsible. Through all of this, we see this as an opportunity to improve and be better than ever, so expect some exciting website changes and new ways to interact and keep up with Fr. Leo and the Grace Before Meals community like never before in the near future. Thank you for subscribing and may God bless you!
It’s easy to forget that the Lenten Season is actually a “season of joy.” There are the challenges of acknowledging our weaknesses and our failures. There’s also the need to pray, give, and sacrifice more. But Lent is really a time of hope. Our Lenten practices will lead to a better celebration of Easter – and eventually the happiest ending of all: Eternal Life!
(Grandkids at the tomb of great grandparents – Cebu, Philippines. They would have been so proud of these great grandchildren. May their souls rest in peace.)
Today, March 7, the Church also celebrates the Feast of Perpetua and Felicity. These two early Christian Martyrs were sisters who faced a brutal persecution – being eaten alive by wild animals. The accounts of their martyrdom is horrific, but at the same time impressive. While facing the tortures, they encouraged the other Christians who would also die that day in that very same arena. How fitting that they would smile in the face of adversity, as their names suggest: “perpetual felicity” or “happiness.”
(St. Perpetua & St. Felicity.)
It’s important that parents, families, and friends talk about eternal happiness versus the passing joys that seem to take over our decision-making processes. We sometimes forget the character-building role of sacrifice. Hard work, sacrifice, and even this Lenten season may scare us into a form of denial. We can learn to deny (or not admit) that Heaven requires that we “Pick up our cross and follow Him,” i.e., make the temporal sacrifice now that leads to eternal joy!
(Statue of Christ after being scourged at the pillar.)
Be encouraged that every time you slave over the stove, provide a hot meal for the family, struggle to engage in conversation with resistant teens, and face the challenges to pray before you eat, even in public places, it will pay off in the end.
(One smiling face is worth all the sacrifices – especially if they eat all their food. In this case, penne alla vodka from a presentation in Minnesota.)
I certainly hope your Lenten season is going well, and please trust in my ongoing prayers for all of you.
Let us pray:
Father, on this feast of Perpetua and Felicity, we may come to know their love for You, which motivated their fearlessness to suffer and die for the Kingdom. May they who “fed” the lions be also encouraging food for our faith, our souls, and our example in life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What has been your greatest challenge in this Lenten season? Can you share a story of sacrifice that paid off in the end? Have you read about other martyrs like Perpetua and Felicity? Who is the saint that inspires you most? Your questions, comments, and suggestions help motivate us to keep doing what we’re doing. Also be sure to spread this message around to others, encouraging family, friends, and parishioners to subscribe to our free weekly E-mail Blasts!
(Behind the scenes of Savoring Our Faith.)
Don’t forget to tell us what you thought about the international premier of our new broadcast television show, Savoring our Faith. Remember to tune in every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EDT.
AND finally, be sure to reserve your spot for the upcoming Napa Valley Retreat and Virtuous Vacation! This year we’ll be paying devotion to Vineyards honored with the names of Saints! Click here for details!
CONNECT WITH US @
A NEW VIDEO THIS FRIDAY:
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Be sure to mark your personal calendars and the family refrigerator calendars for these exciting opportunities.
(A trio of penne pastas for a five-course dinner – an auction prize for Catholic Charities!)
Tour the Secrets of Napa Valley!
June 23-28, 2012. Food and wine lovers, reserve NOW for another opportunity in Napa Valley. Our Fruit of the Vine Tour was so popular and well-received that we’re returning for more faithful and culinary inspiration. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot now!
(One of the international award-winning vineyards to visit.)
The International Premier – Primetime!
(Click to play the promo for Fr. Leo’s new Show on EWTN: Savoring Our Faith)
Sunday March 4, 2012, at 8:30 p.m. Be sure to watch the international premier of the full-length series – Savoring Our Faith on EWTN. Fr. Leo’s little cooking clips on EWTN were so popular the network offered a primetime spot for a full series that features original recipes, special guests, and more faithful foodie inspiration that will feed you – body, mind, and spirit! Tell family and friends!
(Yes, I made desserts and even baked off some tuile.)
Spicing Up Married Life!
We continue to move forward in finalizing our book designed specifically for couples – dating, engaged, new, and senior married couples. The response to be recipe testers was so great that we took extra time to prayerfully consider who would participate in this unique opportunity. We have finalized this extensive list and those names selected will be notified with details. To those who offered help, stay tuned for exclusive discounts on the book when it’s published this year – just in time for wedding seasons and the holidays!
(Picture of my grandparents, who were married some 60+ years! Grandpa has gone to God, but grandma is still praying her rosary.)
See, Hear, and Taste the message yourself!
If interested in booking a Grace Before Meals presentation, don’t delay. The schedule continues to fill up quickly for 2013, as we bring our message to all parts of the country and the world!
Watching our segments on TV or online is fun, and we love the cyberspace interactions. However, everyone who personally experiences Fr. Leo during live presentations says it’s more intense and, in some cases, “life changing,” Afterwards, some people say they see their faith, their family meals, and the Eucharist differently, more deeply. Nothing is better than hearing the Grace Before Meals message in person and tasting the food yourself! So book early, and be sure to check out where Fr. Leo be next!
(Event in Folsom, Ca. Fr. Leo shares his message with a packed house. Thank God Jesus is there to “multiply” the food!)
Let Us Pray:
God, continue to bless our Grace Before Meals movement and all of those who are a part of it. Keep us fixed on our mission to bring families closer to our family dinner table and to Your Family Table of the Last Supper. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) with their healthy, happy, and bountifully blessed grandchildren.)
Do you have questions for Fr. Leo? If you ever had a chance to experience a Grace Before Meals presentation, give us your testimony. Your comments, question, and even concerns help bring our movement to even more hearts, homes, and dinner tables. Post your comments below!
(Fr. Leo at the International Festival and Celebration at Corpus Christi ,Tx., Cathedral.)
Check out our last MINIFLIPPING video:
A NEW VIDEO THIS FRIDAY:
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Responding to Your Questions for MORE!
To help keep the flow of our “dinner conversation,” and at the same time keep you updated with all the Grace Before Meals happenings, I’ll use this E-Blast to give you some great news. First, I’d like to give a response to questions I’ve received – either at the seminary, on the streets, and even in a few e-mails.
“What do I think about the recent conversations regarding the HHS Mandate?”
(This is definitely deadly breakfast conversation. But we have to talk about it!)
This has been a challenging time for people of faith – no matter what faith. The ability to make a good decision about whether or not to support the government has been very muddled by confusing the issues. The issues include
(1) the government’s infringement against the 1st Amendment Freedoms protecting people from government intrusion and impositions on how people of faith exercise this freedom.
(2) The government’s role in requiring private insurance companies or employers (who have to pay for these premiums) to administer abortions and abortion inducing contraceptives.
(3) the President’s speech during Notre Dame’s Commencement Address that says he will respect and honor those who disagree with abortion, in order to ensure that the government writes appropriate conscience clauses.
(4) The upholding of the Declaration of Independence, which protects life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
(5) And the need to consider whether or not mandated contraception is a “Right” protected by any constitutional or federal law?
(Statue of the Immaculate Conception, Mount St. Mary’s University Chapel, dedicated in honor as the Patroness of America.)
There are other issues, for sure. Some wonder whether it’s appropriate to for the Church to have an influence on public policy? Or whether or not contraception is a “good” or a “bad” thing in the first place. And probably the most in depth question is, at least on a moral and spiritual level, “Why is the Church so against contraception in the first place?”
(Once this cute kid – my little cousin – was just a cluster of cells, just like the Easter Egg he’s holding. It’s a biological fact, life begins at conception. After all, those little cells are living!)
Before this new HHS mandate becomes an official federal requirement, these issues have to at least be addressed. But by making the contraceptive prescriptions and abortion demands a “mandate,” the President has completely cut off all conversation.
The Church wants to uphold the dignity and equality of women; however, it’s important to put the responsibility of bringing life into this world squarely on the responsibility of those involved – not just women – but also men. It’s also imperative to see what a secular author had to say about the original “caution” Pope Paul VI offered in his encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” reminding us that God is pro-life. Finally, the Church does respect the rights of women, which is why we want to protect them from falsely placing all their biological hope on a pill that does not protect them from unwanted pregnancy, diseases, and, above all, a broken heart.
But to put it all together in a way that hopefully inspires people’s hearts, minds, and imaginations, we have put together a little “Mini-flipping” video.
Go ahead. Watch it. “Like it.” Subscribe and pass it on to others to watch.
While we will never get full consensus in this matter, we can at least get the conversation started in a way that engages people’s spiritual sensibilities to protect God-given freedoms and rights.
(Pro-life March 2012.)
There is another question that has been on the hearts and minds of many people: “When will Fr. Leo have a ‘regular’ show on TV?”
(Since the Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, people have asked when our movement will have a “regular” TV Show.)
Well, let’s get the burners ready, because the International Premier of Savoring our Faith will launch on Sunday, March 4, 2012, at 8:30 p.m., exclusively on EWTN. So for those faithful foodies who are tired of watching reruns of dramatic cooking competitions, check your local listings for where you can find EWTN on your cable “dial,” or watch online at www.ewtn.com, to get new and exciting cooking segments peppered with plenty of inspiration. It’s about time we bring back some meaning to our meals!
(On location with the “Savoring Our Faith” film crew!)
Let us pray
God we ask that You change the hearts and minds of people who need to see the bigger picture regarding the sanctity of life and the gift of human sexuality. Give to us the Grace to love You and Your laws above all other laws – especially those that hurt humanity and separate us from a deeper understanding of the sacrifice required by love. At the same time, Jesus, be merciful to us who are broken, week, and tempted. Make Your people of faith more compassionate, so that our teachings show the world the truth as Good News. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Why do we celebrate the Gift of Life only during the Christmas season? We should welcome life and celebrate it every day of our own lives!)
Let us know what you think about the mini-flipping video. We know it’s edgy and will “shock” people at first, but we need to wake people up from the spiritual malaise caused by relativism! Ask us questions you have about food, faith, family, and fun. Your comments help us do even more to spread the good news and to bring people back to the table. Post your comments below.
Check out our next video THIS FRIDAY:
Fr. Leo’s Miniflipping Lesson on the Deadly Sin of Sloth.
“FLIPPING OUT” at Filipino Restaurants
By now you know I enjoy the challenge of using “poor man’s” food – which I believe is the tastiest type of food on the planet – and elevating it to a whole new level. As a self-professed “fusion-style” cook, I’m not afraid to experiment – within reason, of course. Different techniques can aid the home cook in creating beautiful-looking plates out of something that tastes both familiar and comforting, while at the same time special and celebratory.
(An Italian spaghetti, flavored with a brine and a hint of tomato sauce, topped with a fried “sardine” and sprinkled with shreds of a soft cow’s milk cheese. Uniquely delicious and stunning presentation with a slice of calimansi lime.)
During my trip to the Philippines, I found two restaurants that were unique, bold, and, in a word, “wonderful!” It was worth getting very excited – even “Flipping Out” – for these unique culinary destinations!
(Had to show this photo of poor kids having the time of their life on this grassy hill “sliding” board. No expensive video game equipment, just a little sprinkle of imagination and tons of fun!)
The first restaurant was on the Island of Palawan. This Island is remarkably pristine. The Mayor of the city outlawed litter, based on the philosophy that personal dignity requires the effort to show it. This island is home to underground rivers that have been voted the most impressive natural wonder of the world!
(A little explanation of the “Underground River” – a natural wonder of the world AND a miraculous place, if my sister can keep quiet in the cave! Click to watch exclusive video!)
The mayor’s leadership, combined with the beautiful (and clean) surroundings, has makes Palawan a heavily visited tourist spot by naturalists, adventurists, and leisure vacationers.
(The mayor’s no littering mandate stopped the diseased bearing mosquitoes, but not the thieving monkeys! Click to view exclusive video.)
As such, this Island has many dining options for locals and tourists alike. But I recommend Ka Lui’s. This restaurant offers smaller but satisfying plates of traditional flavors fused with European cooking techniques.
(Ka Lui’s Jalapeno-filled baked fish on a base of luscious cream sauce!)
Ka Lui is beautifully constructed in bamboo open-air island fashion. It’s elegant, refreshing, and remarkably clean. The unique ambiance is heightened by the fact that everyone – including the all-male wait staff – is barefoot and fancy free!
(Felt like beach dining with upscale flavors – and no sand!)
(My review and explanation of this fun restaurant with tasty food and fantastic ambiance. Click video to watch.)
Manila’s humongous urban sprawl makes it a food haven on every busy and overpopulated corner. However, in the Fort Global City of Manila celebrity Chef Bruce Lim offers traditional flavors in bold and exciting ways at his signature restaurant, The Chef’s Table.
I think Italians would be impressed, even if slightly confused, by a spaghetti dish topped with a Filipino fried fish. Or how about a “carbonara” that has grilled chicken and banana heart fruit cream sauce!
(Chef Lim’s Filipin-ized “carbonara” made with grilled chicken, banana heart, cream, and scallions. Delicious!)
This restaurant offers a completely different way of eating Filipino food by serving individual plates, not “family style,” with a side of rice. However, it’s become a popular spot for many locals seeking a European flare to break up the monotony that can happen with too much of any ethnic cuisine.
(Filipino’s don’t drink too many martinis. But they would seriously enjoy this one (NCR – No One Can Run), especially since it has the sharp and robust taste of roasted garlic oil and chili heat!)
Both of these restaurants highlight my personal style of cooking, characterized as “fusion.” And in both restaurants I was most edified to see families as the primary patrons. So these restaurants not only highlight my style of cooking, but also the message of our movement. Go ahead and be creative with your food and your family meals!
(Young culinary students who assisted me at the BergHOFF store and studio – to raise funds for the victims of the recent typhoon. They’re now going to intern at top restaurants around the world!)
Let us Pray:
Lord, we know that You bless the poor with good things. Help us, by this movement, to remember that being poor in this world means that we inherit the blessings and the kingdom of Heaven. We thank You for the “simple” but delicious meals that bring comfort to our tables – especially since these “simple meals” bring our families together in love. Bless our families and especially those that struggle to put food on the table, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
What is your favorite fusion-style of food? Do you have a recipe you want to share? Do you have a restaurant you think would characterize fusion foods. Your comments help us think of ways to share the Faith through the medium of food. Please post your comments here, and know that each posting comes with sincere thanks and heartfelt prayers for this movement!
NOW. . . check out the newest extension of the
Grace Before Meals movement: MINIFLIPPING!
This is for your families, especially if you have teens or young adults. Fr. Leo and a crew of “mini-flippers” share a positive message in a dynamic way, challenging the status quo, and hopefully bringing out mini-conversions in the hearts and minds of the viewers.
To help us get this Good News out there, tell your kids to watch, to subscribe, to “like” it, and to leave comments and questions. And then tell them to get all their friends to do the same! It’s certainly worth “FLIPPING OUT ABOUT!”
Check out our next video THIS FRIDAY:
FR.LEO TAKES ON THE PRESIDENT’S MANDATE ON CONTRACEPTION.
NO MORE MR. NICE PRIEST.
- All Souls Day
- Blast from the Past
- CRS Rice Bowl
- Culinary Confessions
- Dinner Discussion
- Entertaining Truth
- Epic Food Fight
- Faithful Foodie
- Feast Days
- Food for the Body
- Food for the Soul
- Food for Thought
- From the Feedbag
- Grace Before Meals
- In Memory
- Menu Inspiration
- Merry Christmas
- New Year
- Past Emails
- Recipe- Dessert
- Recipe- Pork
- Recipe-Side Dishes
- Restauraunt Reviews
- Savoring Our Faith
- Simply Blogging
- Special Religious Theme
- Spicing Up Married Life
- Taste Tester
- The Table Foundation
- What's On the Table