Posted February 26th, 2015 | CRS Rice Bowl, Lent, Prayers

CRS Rice Bowl Week 2 Recipe:

Gallo Pinto from Nicaragua

How has Lent been going for you so far? Did you have success making last week’s CRS Rice Bowl recipe, UGALI WITH BEAN SOUP? Even after just one week, many of us likely have experienced some adjustments, but stay the course, as your Lenten journey is just beginning and we have many more days (and recipes) to go through.
This week, watch the latest CRS Rice Bowl Global Kitchen episode where I cook up GALLO PINTO, a special rice and bean dish from Nicaragua. You can also click HERE FOR THE RECIPE. Let us know how easy (or hard) this recipe is to make, and share your experience of cooking it, whether it is for you, your family, or those in need.  God bless!
Gallo Pinto from Nicaragua | CRS Rice Bowl's Global Kitchen
Click to watch how to make Gallo Pinto from Nicaragua, courtesy of CRS Rice Bowl’s Global Kitchen and Fr. Leo.

Calling all chefs and faithful foodies! 

EWTN will be filming episodes of Savoring Our Faith with Fr. Leo in Dallas (May 4-6); Baltimore (June 15-18); Chicago (October 4-6); and the Cleveland OH area (November 7-11).

Fr. Leo recently connected with groups in the Philippines after his last call out to find places, thanks to you. Can you help him stateside?

Each show will feature a religious site, a local restaurant with a great story to share, and a cooking segment.  We need your help!  We’re looking for suggestions on religious sites, restaurants and names of possible culinary assistants. Please comment below and email with your suggestions, and we will look to be in touch with you soon.

Let Us Pray:

(Prayer for 21 Coptic Martyrs)
“Eternal Father, as Your Son spoke to us ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,’ grant unto your Coptic Martyrs repose for their souls, and Your gift of eternal salvation. May their witness stir our hearts this Lent to live in true charity even in the face of persecution by our enemies, and to boldly witness to our faith in our day-to-day actions.  May the enemies of our Christian faith encounter Your Truth, be converted as was St. Paul, and cease to persecute Your Body, the Church. May we remember in faith You ‘make all things work for the good’ and for Your glory, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

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 Fr. Leo’s Top 10 Experiences in 2014

With the Pope in the Philippines, I was tied up with filming new episodes of my show, filming news segments for EWTN, and also doing some radio interviews for Sirius XM 129 – the Catholic Channel.  However, the Pope’s words reminded me that reflection on our past is very important.  Therefore, it’s a fun and faithful opportunity for me to review how wonderful of a year 2014 was for me and the Grace Before Meals movement.
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.

# 10)  Filming across the country with EWTN for Season IV of Savoring our Faith.
Me with the EWTN crew at Liberty Market out in AZ
Each episode will showcase a church, restaurant and a recipe that families can cook at home to remember their faith-filled and fun travels!

# 9   Cooking for children can be tough.
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!


# 8  Cooking a meal with a good cause with Celebrity Chef Jeff Henderson of “Flip My Food.”
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.

# 7   Celebrity Chef, John Besh invited me, almost like a family chaplain, for his family trip to the Holy Land.
The Besh family pray together at a Church in the Holy Land.
Despite all of the negative news about the place, it’s actually more safe to go there than some street corners in the USA. His family embarked on a family vacation, and now I feel like Chef John, his lovely wife Jenifer, their 4 boys and the in-laws are like my own family.  If you’re ever in New Orleans, you have to try a meal at one of Chef John Besh’s restaurants.
As a general rule of thumb, I always make trips into opportunities to retreat, vacation, have fun and be fed.  So keep up on for news about my upcoming pilgrimages.
# 6  My Voluntas Dei Retreat in Quebec, Canada.


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!

# 5  Families and Food!  
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.

# 4 Good food is often associated with the young and hip crowd.
Hipsters and food = great combination.
Unfortunately, many faithful Catholics can be somewhat closed minded about the younger, tattooed, pierced, and hipster crowd.  But, these young and creative chefs are some of the hardest working people I know.  Recently I cooked two simple dishes with Chef Jeff Krause of Crepe Bar in Tempe, Arizona.  While he’s not a Catholic, he’s so kind and open to discussing faith.  He takes his food seriously and runs his small but awesome crepe restaurant like a church should operate:  clean, beautiful, great service and substantial food – not too much, but just enough to keep people coming back for more!
# 3  Evangelization is the reason for why I do what I do.
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.
Of course this has to be one of the top 10 experiences of food and faith.  My family is FAR from perfect.  We have all of the same problems that the rest of the world goes through.  There are strained relationships, different life choices, and of course, strong personalities.  But in all of this, we are called to be faithful.  While the Scriptures say “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus does not mean we are never to make mistakes. Instead, Jesus is saying, “let your faithfulness be perfect.”  Practically, “when we mess up (and we will), let’s learn how to get up from our falls, ask forgiveness and keep walking to heaven.”  Our Heavenly Father, who is perfect in love will always be faithful in forgiving us.  That’s what it means to be perfect!  Our family is FAR from perfect. But we’re all trying to be faithful!
AND the number one Food, faith and family moment for me in 2015 is:
# 1  Being Fed by the Poor in Kolkata.
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.
I was in Kolkata, India, the original place where Bl. Teresa of Calcutta began her international apostolate to serve the poorest of the poor.  Originally I was brought over by the sisters to teach a course in Mariology (or study of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of Christ).  However, these nuns, their service and the people they served actually fed me.  I left there so inspired.  Along with the words of our Holy Father Francis, this year I’m going to make an extra effort to seek opportunities to serve the poor!

Let us Pray:

God, you feed in us so many ways. It just takes us the time to reflect, perhaps at the end of each of our days, to consider how your hands were feeding our hungry bodies, hearts and minds.  Help us to hunger for your truth through the experiences and good choices of our lives.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Want to be fed in Spain?  Spaces are filling up.  Call now and reserve your spot for this incredible opportunity!

Please leave your comment HERE and be part of the conversation.







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Posted in New Year, Pilgrimages, Prayers, Savoring Our Faith, The Table Foundation | 3 Comments »

Posted January 8th, 2015 | New Year, Pilgrimages, Prayers, Savoring Our Faith

A New Year and New Opportunities

Do something new and join me in Spain!  Official registration has begun and spaces are limited.  It’s the 500th anniversary celebration of the birth of Doctor and Saint, Teresa of Avila and we will be there to experience it.  Call 800.842.4842 today to reserve your spot.



It’s early in 2015.  New Year’s resolutions may already be broken.  At least in my case, some of mine were already put on the back burner.  But, every day is a new day of grace, opportunity, and blessings. We just have to recall how God has blessed us in the past, and therefore confidently look to the future.
The Nativity Scene at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Springfield IL
That’s what I hope to do in the coming blasts of this month.  I want to do my “best of” experiences in 2014.  While my approach may be considered “behind the times” since most groups do this at the end of December, it was just too busy of a time for me to be sincere in my reflection.
So, next week I’m going to do my favorite “Faithful Foodie Travels” – places where I’ve traveled in this ‘record breaking’ year of itinerant preaching.


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.
The following week, I’m going to give you my favorite dishes and some recipe highlights from 2014.
Baby Indian Eggplant Parmesan from New Year’s Eve Dinner 2014.
This week however, I want us all to think and plan on how we will grow in our faith this year.  Gratefully my new community of consecrated life, “Voluntas Dei, a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite” helps me with a daily dose of realistic and practical spirituality.  Please look into this community and consider joining (or creating) a local team based on a consecrated spirituality.  Pope Francis has dedicated 2015 to the year of consecrated life. I feel blessed to be part of it all in a more intimate way.
Praying at the tomb of Fr. Louise Marie Parent, founder of Voluntas Dei Institute.
Besides daily prayer – like daily bread – we ought to consider stepping outside of our comfort zones and go on a pilgrimage. This year, I am scheduled to lead a fantastic opportunity to Spain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila.  I’ll be joined by Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers Live.  Together we will lead the group to some of the most renown spiritual and cultural sites which will certainly help you grow in your faith.  I even have non-Catholics go on these trips and experience renewal and conversion.  Plus, with me on board, you’ll experience the best of Spain’s cuisine – the majestic and meaningful food culture!

St. Teresa of Avila

Spaces are limited and you’re getting the opportunity to sign up before we start actively promoting this trip in the coming month.  So, give a call to Susan Prendergast at 800.842.4842 and see the itinerary HERE.
While 2014 has come and gone, we will remember it’s blessings and learn from our past.  And with 2015 already underway, the Grace Before Meals family is excited with all of the new opportunities to connect, food, faith, family and fun!

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.

(1)  How did you spend your New Year’s Celebration?
(2)  What’s your favorite New Year’s Resolution for 2015?
(3)  What’s your favorite food from Spain?
(4)  Do you have any ideas or suggestions for our Grace Before Meals Family for 2015?
Please leave your comment below and be part of the conversation.


1/9/15 – 1/19/15




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Posted in New Year, Pilgrimages, Prayers, Savoring Our Faith | 6 Comments »

Posted December 24th, 2014 | Holiday, Merry Christmas, Pilgrimages, Prayers

A Christmas Prayer at the Nativity Scene


On this most Holy Night, may God’s blessings be upon you and your family. May God look kindly on all of humanity, especially on those who are far from God’s grace, those who do not yet acknowledge Jesus the Christ as our Savior, those who are lacking in the basic necessities of life, those who are hurting in body, mind or spirit.

I invite you to unite all of your prayers, focused on the Child, born for us!

Enjoy my rendition of “Ave Maria” that I offer as a Christmas Gift to you. It’s a clip from the recent “Entertaining Truth” Christmas Special, which you can listen to in its entirety over the next few days on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129. Click Here to listen.

Also, you can CLICK HERE for last year’s rendition of “O Holy Night”, as played with Paul Shaffer on “Entertaining Truth” on Sirius XM.

A Nativity scene for Christmas 2007 in front of the main altar at the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome, Italy. (Photo © Scott P. Richert)

Catholics traditionally leave the Child out of their Nativity scenes until after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This prayer, in which we humble ourselves before the Savior of the World, born as a Child in a stable, is the perfect prayer to accompany the placement of the Child in the manger.

The entire family can recite the prayer together in front of the Nativity scene. It’s also a good idea to print a copy to keep near the manger until you take it down, so that you can pray it frequently throughout the Christmas season.

Let Us Pray (A Prayer Before the Manger Scene):

“O Divine Redeemer Jesus Christ, prostrate before Thy crib, I believe Thou art the God of infinite Majesty, even though I do see Thee here as a helpless babe. I humbly adore and thank Thee for having so humbled Thyself for my salvation as to will to be born in a stable. I thank Thee for all Thou didst wish to suffer for me in Bethlehem, for Thy poverty and humility, for Thy nakedness, tears, cold and sufferings.

Would that I could show Thee that tenderness which Thy Virgin Mother had toward Thee, and love Thee as she did. Would that I could praise Thee with the joy of the angels, that I could kneel before Thee with the faith of St. Joseph, the simplicity of the shepherds. Uniting myself with these first adorers at the crib, I offer Thee the homage of my heart, and I beg that Thou wouldst be born spiritually in my soul. Make me reflect in some degree the virtues of Thy admirable nativity. Fill me with that spirit of renunciation, of poverty, of humility, which prompted Thee to assume the weakness of our nature, and to be born amid destitution and suffering. Grant that from this day forward, I may in all things seek Thy greater glory, and may enjoy that peace promised to men of good will.”  (Source:


Spaces are running out! Click the link to register for an incredible trip to Spain: 

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Posted in Holiday, Merry Christmas, Pilgrimages, Prayers | 5 Comments »

Posted December 17th, 2014 | Holiday, Merry Christmas, Prayers


Advent Prayer & Christmas Blessings 2014

Written by: Rev. Leo E. Patalinghug

From the Woman clothed with the sun,

A Child is born for us.

His call and mission is to make us one

By loving God, in Him we trust.

In the darkness, this Child is the light

hope for all, freedom from fear.

His presence is God, we now have sight

“Emmanuel” His Name, for God is here!

His Presence remains through Bread and Wine,

Consecrated by words, blessed by faith.

Through simple gifts, God’s presence divine

Hasten to Him, in the Tabernacle He waits.

In the fullness of time may Him we receive,

May faith change us to live holiness as true,

For heaven is real for those who love what Mary conceived,

And faith has power to cleanse and make us new.

This time of the year is one filled with Grace,

Let not the passing be our focus or goal,

But seeking God’s presence in this Holy Child’s Face,

And be like Shepherds who sang to the First Noel.

May this rhyme, prayer and reminder be for you

A song in our hearts that angels sing.

May Advent & Christmas be lived sincerely and true,

And each day of the New Year, God’s Grace may He bring.

May you and your family experience the great joy of this Holy Season.  Thank you for being a part of my spiritual family, part of the Grace Before Meals family, and part of God’s human family who seeks to bring as many people to the Lord’s Table here on earth and eternally in heaven.

Abundant blessings in this Advent Season, abundant grace at Christmas, and abundant joy in the New Year!

With only 1 week away, consider giving Grace Before Meals Gift or email us about making a donation in the name of someone to our new non-profit organization, The Table Foundation (more info to come next week).  You may also want to consider reserving your spot for the 2015 Trip of a Life Time – celebrating St. Teresa of Avila’s birthday in Spain.

What a great gift to give to a loved one – a trip to help them grow in faith! You can even print up the brochure as a gift item to wrap!

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Posted in Holiday, Merry Christmas, Prayers | 4 Comments »

Posted October 9th, 2014 | Dinner Discussion, Prayers


Meals, Manners and Moms

During a recent work trip I visited a school run by the Dominican Sisters in Ann Arbor Michigan. This vibrant group of women made headlines when they welcomed into their convent a reporter from Oprah who sought an in-depth look and experience of consecrated religious life.
Novices at the event in Ann Arbor MI.
In the presence of good, holy and Godly women, I can’t help feeling like a child again.  Though I’m a priest, in their presence, I am reminded that I am still a child seeking to be a man of God by becoming a real brother of the Lord.  Yes, they humble me!
Me with the wonderful sisters and some students at the Academy I spoke at.
Religious sisters provide a unique and necessary maternal presence that nurtures, disciplines and loves like a spiritual mother.  We need more of these type of vocations, especially in a world where the role of women and motherhood faces confusing messages from unfeminine-feminists and anti-child-pro-abortion groups.  But God continues to call women to serve as sisters and spiritual moms.  A new reality TV show called “Sisterhood” on Lifetime will chronicle the experience of 5 young women seeking to discern religious life in a convent.

No doubt, children raised by loving moms and dads grow up more mature and healthy.  This doesn’t need scientific studies, but common sense cooperating with God’s grace.  This is the subject of the Extraordinary Synod on families occurring in Rome. 

I probably shouldn’t be taking selfies at school. Now all the kids will thinks it’s ok.
I saw the same positive power of women over children when I recently offered Mass for the Missionaries of Charity, a group of women dedicated to working with the poorest of the poor.  In America, poverty isn’t limited to a lack of income but a definition extending to those who do not have the richness of parents, faith, and family.  These Missionaries of Charity provide spiritual motherhood for men dying of AIDS.  These men were in gangs, tough guys, thugs, and drug abusers who lacked the needed discipline from mom and dad.  The streets raised them, not parents.
The residents returning to their rooms after Mass
At Mass, I found it humbling and slightly humorous to see how the Sisters were not afraid to discipline these grown men.  Despite their rough edges from a life of hard knocks, they now behave like well trained altar servers.  Sit up straight.  Pay attention.  Be reverent.  Be still and know that God is with us.  These are the lessons that come from mom and dad, and in this case, spiritual moms we call nuns.
Sisters praying at Mass.
In this month dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, we meditate more intentionally on the life of Christ through the eyes of the woman who knew Him best, His Mother!  We realize that Mary’s role is not “important” but “necessary.”  It may be hard to believe, but Mary taught Jesus the basics of living life well in this world. As a mother, she fed him, taught him how to feed himself, reminded him to share his toys, helped him learn his prayers, and taught Jesus table manners.  In His humility, Jesus was obedient to her even though He was the Master.

Unfortunately, modernity can lack refinement, social graces and basic manners.  Without being overly reactionary by raising scrupulous rigid robotic prudes for kids, parents ought to have a healthy discussion with their children about the basics in life, including manners at our dinner table and the Lord’s Table.

Thankfully, God continues to call women to be more than consecrated “Miss Manners.” Instead, they are called to be our spiritual moms.

Her husband was at men’s retreat, and this mother was “practically” helping their 6 boys to become men of God by bringing them to one of my events.


(1)  What positive lessons do you remember if you were taught by nuns?
(2)  What manners are missing the most in today’s culture?
(3)  Which of the formal manners did you like least as a child?
Post your comments or questions below. Your messages help keep us focused on our message and mission.
Let us pray:
Father, we thank you for the gift of moms and spiritual moms.  As we celebrate a month dedicated to the Our Lady of the Rosary, give us the grace, courage and discipline to pray this prayer more frequently on our own and with our family.  May the Synod of Bishops dedicated to the family be an opportunity for the entire church to remember that we are God’s children, still learning and needing constant reminders of how to live, act and love like His children.  We ask this with Mary’s prayers through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Did you know that Fr. Leo has an advanced degree in Mariology – the study of Mary in the Life of Christ.  If you want to learn more about the Blessed Mother, consider working with our team to host Fr. Leo for an event to grow in our knowledge and love of Mary.  Simply click here for details.

Upcoming Events:


Albuquerque, NM





Rapid City, SD




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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Prayers | 4 Comments »