Fr. Leo’s Top 10 Experiences in 2014
|The Pope speaks to TONS of people in the Philippines (tough to quantify with this image, but you get the picture.)|
Here’s my top 10 list of food, faith and family experiences of 2014.
|Me with the EWTN crew at Liberty Market out in AZ|
|Hanging out with these kids up in Boston area in November this past year. They seem to like the pasta and books!|
But, I’m always so happy to hear from parents and from children themselves that they like my food, even new foods. Part of the trick is to involve them in the cooking process, have some fun and listen to what they hunger for. It’s our job to feed them. If we don’t, someone else or the devil will! Don’t be scared. But be strengthened to feed your kids!
|I had fun meeting Chef Jeff (left) and other chefs at the KISRA event in West Virginia in September.|
Chef Jeff became an instant friend. I had heard of him from TV shows like Oprah, when he shared his story about how his time in prison helped him to learn important life lessons, like how to cook, how to serve and how to walk the straight path through faith and family! He has a great message and I’m happy to have experienced it myself.
|The Besh family pray together at a Church in the Holy Land.|
|This icon shows part of the miraculous stories associated with the Basilica Shrine, Notre Dame du Cap.|
I did a retreat at the Shrine in Trois Rivieres Quebec Canada and to also get more in touch with my new priestly mission with Voluntas Dei, a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite. Nearby the founder, Fr. Louis Marie Parent was buried. But this picture shows a unique food perspective and a miracle. When the new priest of this small church community rang the bell for Mass, the only creature to show up was a pig – somehow with a rosary in its mouth. It was a “sign” for the priest to realize that we are all creatures until we take on the Blessed Mother as our own mother. So, he dedicated the building up of this church community to the Blessed Mother!
|A nice family I met while in Texas.|
That’s what we do and that’s who we are! I’m proud to say, that of all of the ministries out there, Grace Before Meals is the ONLY ministry that actively, practically, and dynamically reaches out to families. We don’t need another “program,” “talk,” “event,” or even a “synod.” We need to practice common sense – faithfully, theologically, and tastefully. Please consider helping us spread this message with our movement The Table Foundation.
|Hipsters and food = great combination.|
Steubenville crew, pumped to evangelize.
It’s so great to work with other evangelists, and many of them are secular lay people who are seeking to live a consecrated life. That’s the case with groups such as the Augustine Institute, and this speaking team for Franciscan University of Steubenville, which hosts conferences around the country. The dynamism of groups, such as this one in Halifax Canada, feeds hungry hearts and souls! I’m so proud to be part of this team!
# 2 My family!
|Me with my siblings and parents, together for my mom’s birthday.|
|The work I do seeks to feed those who hunger, but I was truly fed by my experience in Kolkata with wonderful people like this boy.|
Let us Pray:
Please leave your comment HERE and be part of the conversation.
What’s On the Table for the New Year
|(Yes, that’s my picture with the EWTN Banner)|
|(Me with some of my guests for the Savoring our Faith TV show from the Philippines. Chef Matthew and Chef “Dimples” and I cooked all of that deliciousness for just one episode!)|
|The Culinary Assistants from my filming in Arizona.|
Let us Pray:
|(Of course, I’d have to do a “falsie” – fake selfie! But praying to have a chance to see him up close. Stay tuned!)|
Please leave a comment below and be part of the conversation.
A New Year and New Opportunities
|The Nativity Scene at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Springfield IL|
|My most recent trip – a unique “pilgrimage” to NYC with Cardinal Dolan. On my trips, participants experience the unique aspects of the faith, culture and incredible food for body, mind and spirit.|
|Baby Indian Eggplant Parmesan from New Year’s Eve Dinner 2014.|
|Praying at the tomb of Fr. Louise Marie Parent, founder of Voluntas Dei Institute.|
Let us Pray:
In preparation for the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, let’s recall how God’s grace through the Sacrament of Baptism requires food: Water! May the waters of the Baptism Font and the Holy Water fonts of our church, renew our desire to be God’s children, to be loving brothers and sisters, and to be saints – citizens in the heavenly kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Happy New Year to you & your loved ones
May your celebration of this New Year, and the Holy Feast Day of Mary, Mother of God, be a time of grace and joy!
For the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I once again share my rendition of “Ave Maria” that I sang for the 2015 Entertaining Truth Christmas Radio Show on Sirius XM 129, the Catholic Channel. The Ave Maria is my prayer that each of you discover her motherly love and that we become more like her Child, Jesus our Lord!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.
As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.
Spaces are running out! Click the link to register for an incredible trip to Spain:
|Time for Transition!|
Happy New Year to you and your families!
At the beginning of this year, our Grace Before Meals team has a very special announcement. We put together a video to describe a transition that I’ll be making in my priestly assignment.
As of January 1, 2014, I’ve received permission from the Archbishop of Baltimore to pursue an application to join a Community of Consecrated Life, called Voluntas Dei (A Latin Phrase that means, “The Will of God”). This is a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite. This is a unique group of priests, celibate laymen, and consecrated married couples. I have been discerning this group for the past seven years!
The charism of this community is to be like the Virgin Mary at the annunciation, saying “yes” to God’s will! Voluntas Dei per Mariam Immaculatam.
For me, that practically means that if accepted into Voluntas Dei, I will continue my priestly work but with a special consecration. The Archbishop has given me the assignment to be a supplemental sacramental and pastoral minister, basically on a part time level, helping out parishes within the Archdiocese of Baltimore as needed. At the same time, this will allow me to focus on the work of Evangelization in the modern world, and particularly direct my energies towards the Grace Before Meals apostolate.
There is so much more exciting news to tell you about this community, its wonderfully practical spirituality, and the good work that they do in the name of the Catholic Church. But, more will come in upcoming emails, newsletters, video posts and email blasts.
For now, I want to offer you this important news, to ask for your prayers, trust in mine for you, and to wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!
Let us pray:
Blast from “the Recent Past”
This week’s Blast takes a look at some of the Faithful Foodie highlights of 2012. It’s a review of the past, which was truly “a blast!”
Please know I’ve had so many wonderful experiences this year that when I look back at the calendar and pictures, I realize God has truly blessed this Grace Before Meals apostolate and movement. While many consider this work a “ministry,” I want to tell people they don’t have to be priests or nuns to bring families back around the dinner table. I consider this work an “apostolate,” because it strengthens family life, and improves culture – one meal at a time! To be part of it, all you have to do is be hungry for good food and loving relationships.
Below for your enjoyment is a Top 10 Countdown for Grace Before Meals in 2012. I wish you all a happy New Year, with the hopes of an even more fruitful 2013!
Cooking with our Friends at the 700 Club with Gordon Roberts
Yes, the Christian communities and the Catholic Church have something in common – a love for the Lord Jesus. While there are certain doctrinal differences, we can at least celebrate a “common meal” (even if it’s not the Sacrament of Holy Communion – the ultimate sign of spiritual communion with each other). These opportunities to share recipe ideas with other Christian leaders is a great blessing to me!
Maryland’s Black Ankle Winery and Cooking for Good Causes with Good People
It’s a powerful sign when our Grace Before Meals movement is invited to present at non-religious events, especially when you meet local legends like long time radio and TV personality Ron Riley and his wife. The invitation to speak to different audiences shows us our message is truly “universal.” After all, the word “catholic” means “universal.”
Grace Before Meals on the “Big Screen”
Talk about effective advertising! There I am driving to an event in Delaware when I see a big picture of me advertising a health fair. It was even funny and humbling to see such a big picture of my “mug.” Thank God I didn’t swerve my car when I saw it!
Another “Blast from the Past”
At an event in Florida a mom showed me a picture of me baptizing her son 15 years ago! She came because she had seen an ad for the event and recognized me. I am always running into people who have some mutual friend, experience, or family tie. These experiences at events across the country and around the world are very humbling opportunities to see just how big, and yet how closely knit the Catholic Church family is.
Grace Before Meals is Deepening the Message of Family Meals by Focusing on Married Couples
I always knew our message of family meals would eventually take a closer look at where families begin – the love of a mom and dad. My presentation for Spicing Up Married Life at an event sponsored by the Pro-Life Group for the Archdiocese of Baltimore brought an unexpectedly large crowd of couples. (To order, CLICK HERE!) This turnout showed me our work truly responds to the parish communities’ need for better marriage preparation – not to mention more opportunities for couples to go on a date night! One husband confessed he attended my event very unwillingly, but after tasting the prepared recipe and hearing the message, he really “ate it up!”
Celebrating with Friends and True “Spiritual Brothers” in the City of “Brotherly Love”
Along with my good friend Fr. Erik Pohlmeier from the Diocese of Little Rock Arkansas, I planned a dinner with our former spiritual director from Rome, Bishop Daniel Thomas, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At dinner we shared our many joys, as well as the normal struggles of trying to be a faithful priest in the modern world – a world sometimes hostile to the Christian message. Honestly, while I know the food was great I can’t remember exactly what I prepared. Nevertheless, the message and meaningful meal shared with brothers will never be lost in my heart, mind, or soul.
America’s Largest State and Tackling Enormous Food!
During a trip to Alaska I had many, many incredible food experiences. One stop took me to the town of Talkeetna – a village really – that had great food finds. Their burger was even featured in the popular show Man v. Food! Tasty? Yes. Leftovers? Definitely!
Taking the Grace Before Meals Message Back “Home” to the Philippines
While on a family vacation in the Philippines at the beginning of 2012, I was asked to do hurricane relief support/promotional work with the metro Manila Philippines BergHoff cooking store. (BergHoff is actually a German based company with locations around the world.) There I had the chance to meet and cook with two recent graduates from the culinary school. They prepared an appetizer, while I cooked the famous fusion steak fajitas for a group of reporters and representatives who came to support the disaster relief efforts for the recent hurricane.
Filming the Series Savoring our Faith in Rome, Italy
We filmed four Savoring our Faith episodes in foodie hotspots in and around Rome, including Scarpone’s Restaurant – not only famous for its food but for cooking for Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict! We also cooked with internationally known guests and revealed some “secret” recipes, including the famous Scrigno Pasta from Ristorante Cecelia Metella outside of Rome. You can catch Savoring our Faith every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. EST on EWTN.
Celebrating with My Family for My Parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary
The Epic Cooking Battle Between My Nieces and Nephews
Mom and Dad were totally in their element, dancing and even singing songs for the 300 plus guests who came to their 50th wedding anniversary extravaganza! Baltimore Sheraton Hotel Chef, and former high school classmate, Sam Anderson prepared a great feast! But the greatest part of the evening was just watching my mom and dad enjoy the company of family and friends as they celebrated 50 years of committed love. It was because of them I was inspired to write our newest book, Spicing Up Married Life.
And how can I forget when my nieces and nephews went spoon to spoon in our family’s second annual cooking battle. The girls won last year’s battle, but the boys took home the prize this year. It was a nail-biter! A victory by one point in the creativity category!
I hope you enjoyed the review of 2012’s favorite faithful foodie experiences.
Next week, we’ll be doing a rundown of my top 10 favorite restaurants and recipes! So, stay tuned for another “Blast from the Recent Past,” full of tasty memories!
Your comments let us know that our message is reaching hearts and minds, and we hope they let you know you have a place at our table to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions. So, please post your comments below.
Let Us Pray:
Father in Heaven, you gave us 2012 with all of its joys, sorrows, challenges and Grace. Help us to look forward with great faith, hope, and love in the year 2013. Continue to bless our movement, the families who share in our message, and those who we will meet in the coming year. Give us always a Grace to live each day to the fullest, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- 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