Posted October 23rd, 2013 | From the Feedbag, Recipe


The Liturgical Act of Feeding the Flock 


Book signing at Women’s Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Cooking for your family is not easy.  There, I said it.  In fact, at the conferences where I speak, I remind families that cooking is actually a “liturgical” act.  The etymology of the word “liturgy” in Greek, means “work of the people.”  And, if you invite God into your experiences in the kitchen, even reheating leftovers can become a holy act of love.  In this way, taking time and lovingly preparing a meal for your family is a “liturgical” act that can bring your family closer to God and each other.

Part of the Grace Before Meals family.

In this week’s Blast, once again I respond to some of the questions I’ve received.  Both of these questions speak about the challenge of cooking for your families, as an important part of your life of faith.  After all, God wants to feed us.  And those who prepare meals for their families extend God’s plan to their homes – the domestic church.

Please keep sending me your questions, and I’ll try my best to organize a pastoral response for you.  If you have questions for me about Grace Before Meals, food, or faith, click HERE

I’ll speak to anyone willing to listen to me! At The Steubenville Rockies Conference – baby’s sound-proofed for the loud bands!


Hi Father, 


Can you give some advice on healthy meal planning to lose weight?  I have three children at home ages 16-21 and have asked them to help me plan and cook meals but would appreciate some resources.


Thank you and God Bless, Healthy Cooking Mom 


Dear Healthy Cooking Mom,


Let me be clear, I’m not a trained dietician or a food allergy specialist.  However, I do agree that for many losing weight is an important part of healthy living, no doubt.  And while the Grace Before Meals apostolate wants to encourage healthy eating, there will also be a need to celebrate with food that may not always be completely healthy, but certainly delicious.  So here’s a link to one of the many websites that can help ‘translate’ my recipes into something a little healthier for your family’s special needs.


Mom and Dad with the grandkids. Each one has a special need in life, but thank God, no special diets.


In my work with food, I’ve learned the best way to have a healthy diet is to learn the 

virtues of discipline and moderation.  These are important concepts, which make up the best diet and weight loss plans.  You’ve seen commercials on diet pills, extreme weight loss programs, and even advertising on surgical procedures.  These may be quick fixes, but may not always help keep off the weight. And some of these plans just aren’t good for you.  So, be careful with every diet plan.  And remember, it is important to consult your physician and determine how much weight you ought to lose, as sometimes weight loss becomes a form of a “religion,” to the point of extreme measures.  


And like you’ve already started, it’s important to have a dialogue with your children about eating healthy, living healthy, and being disciplined for a holistically healthy lifestyle.  Moderation can help.  It tells families that eating healthy doesn’t mean turning our nose away from an occasional sugary treat, salty snack, buttery bread, gooey pizza, or juicy burger.  It simply means that we eat smaller portions of these things, more green vegetables, and healthy fruits; and that we drink more water, drink less sugary sodas, and exercise frequently – body, mind, and soul.  

For me, discipline and moderation are the best diet plans out there. 


At a presentation at a nursing care facility in Baltimore, Maryland. Cooking special diets for the residents.


Hi Fr. Leo– 


Love your movement.  You inspired me to cook more.  Actually I would cook more, especially for my family, but as you know, in the Philippines, some families frown on their sons to cook, especially when there is a cook to do that.  How can I convince them that I have come to serve and not be served?


Sincerely, Cooking Son


Dear Cooking Son:


Although I was born in the Philippines, I came to America with my family when I was only 2 years old. That means, I’m not as accustomed to having people cook for me as I know they have in the Philippine culture.  My parents did much of the cooking, and from them, I learned how to cook myself.  


Two young Filipino chefs at a cooking demo in Manila Philippines, 2012.


I realize and respect that there are cultural differences that may frown on having cooks as a profession.  I’m very sorry your family doesn’t fully appreciate your passion for the craft of cooking.  It must be hard to feel like your love for food is not as welcome, and it can perhaps be confusing when you want to get into the kitchen while others are supposed to take care of that for you.  


My encouragement would be to (1) have a good and honest conversation with your family about your love for cooking, (2) take some cooking classes – formal or informal courses – to help you explore new cuisine, and (3) tell your family that you’re going to make a unique or special meal for a  special occasion.  This easy process, though it may take more patience and time, will slowly ease your family into accepting your want to serve.  The only other recommendation would be to make really good food!  If they like it enough, they’ll ask for you to make it again, and again.  Then, in a certain sense, your problem is solved! 

Cook well and they will come! Bobby Flay signing my Throwdown! cook book.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, You give us food and drink as signs of Your love for us.  Help us, with Your Grace, to prepare only the best of foods that help us to celebrate Your love and generosity.  At the same time, teach us Lord to cook and eat more healthily, as our bodies are the Temples of the Holy Spirit.  Give us patience with those who don’t’ understand our passion for food, and give us Grace to provide the best to feed a hungry soul.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Cooking up a storm with Msgr. Nalty at a New Orleans cooking event.

Food for Thought:

  • Do you have any cooking questions or faith questions that need some spiritual responses?
  • Do you have any diet plans or menu suggestions for making healthy and delicious meals?
  • Do you have any advice for these members of our Grace Before Meals family?  Please share, because you may have some really good ideas on how to deal with the issues they ask about.

Please leave your comments and questions below.

This Week’s Recipe



Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube
Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.

Posted in From the Feedbag, Recipe | 2 Comments