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The Olive Mass: A Success!

Posted: September 29, 2016 | Author: Fr. Leo

It has been accomplished.

Attendees prepare for the Olive Mass to begin. 

The first-ever Olive Mass took place on Monday morning in New Orleans at St. Louis Cathedral to hundreds of attendees that included chefs from around the world, restaurant workers, families, and excited foodies. Among the guests included were the Chefs for Peace, Event Chairs John and Jenifer Besh, Dickie Brennan of Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse (and other restaurants), Chef Nealy Frentz (Lola Restaurant, Chopped), "The Catholic Foodie" Jeff Young and his family, and Chef Keith Holsey of Portalli's Restaurant in Ellicott City, MD, which was greatly damaged in the Ellicott City floods in July.

The Beshs are giftbearers at The Olive Mass. 

Archbishop Gregory Aymond graciously celebrated the Mass, with Bishop Gregory Parkes among the other clergy to concelebrate the Mass, and I was able to preach the homily to help welcome all to this special occasion and celebration. The event was streamed courtesy of New Orleans Public Television and and you can watch my homily in the link below.

Here is the Facebook Live feed of my homily during the Olive Mass. Watch it and share with others to spread the gratitude to those who serve through food.

The night before was a wonderful event at Shaya Restaurant which featured many great stories of inspiration, food to taste, and joy to be shared. 

The beautiful room we were given at The Shaya. Made for a great night!


Rack of lamb, courtesy of Shaya and Chefs for Peace. As great as it looks. 

And the reception to follow was not only packed with great food, conversation, and shows of support, but really a hope-filled event that has us so excited for next year's Olive Mass. Check out this great news report of the occasion, courtesy of WWL Channel 4 News.

I want to thank all of the people and sponsors responsible for making this happen -

John and Jen Besh plus The Besh Restaurant Group team for everything, from the food to the promotion to the participation; 


John Beshs team who helped prep, promote and cook for the event!

The Chefs for Peace who traveled from the Middle East to share their message for peace and inspiration through food;

Chefs for Peace posing with students from Academy of Our Lady, who helped to serve the food at the reception. 

The Board members of The Table Foundation for their guidance, support and presence to help this achieve the mission;

The Table Foundation Board Members (From left: Jenifer Besh, Event co-Chair; Rev. Collin Poston, Chaplain; Most Rev. Gregory Parkes, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee; Chairman Rev. Leo Patalinghug; and Timothy Watkins, Treasurer. (Not present:Vice President Mike Baldwin, Board Members Mary Moorkamp and Linda Tribuzio).

Archbishop Aymond and the Archdiocese of New Orleans teams for their hospitality and great efforts to share this experience in their hometown; 

The present clergy, all of whom participated in the Olive Mass. Thank you, my Brothers in Christ!

Select International Travel, who helped bring the Chefs for Peace into my life and to this event, to whom we are so grateful; Thrivent Financial, who not only sponsored the event, but do well to help those who desire financial and spiritual guidance; and of course, all of the chefs, attendees, and those who prayed for our event. It is our Grace Before Meals family that have helped us to get to this point of being able to share our message of food and faith to the global family, so thank you all. 

Chef John Besh, Archbishop Aymond, the Chefs for Peace (Chefs Kevork, Johnny, Abraham, and Boaz), and me at the reception.

Thanks in large part to Archbishop Aymond of the Archiocese of New Orleans, The Besh Restaurant Group, and The Table Foundation, we are set to return to New Orleans in 2017 (and 2022) for September 24-25, 2017! We are encouraged by the magnificent response we have received from attendees and others who appreciate what is being done. This is the start of what we hope to be a movement of faith, food, and cultural change to spread the Good News through our passion for food. 

Thank you to all who we serving at the events as well, including students from Academy of Our Lady and Luke Restaurant. 

You can check out a post-event segment on tonight's episode of The World Over featuring Raymond Arroyo, which airs at 8pm EDT. Be sure to tune in!

Chef Boaz shakes hand with students from St. Michael's Special School's culinary program!

Let us pray:

Lord God, thank You so much for blessing our efforts to glorify You and to share Your love in a special way with those who serve food and bring joy to people everywhere. We of course remember those who go without food, and ask that we may seek to feed them in the many ways we can. We pray for all people in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, that they may see The Olive Mass as a great opportunity for blessings, inspiration, encouragement, hope, and relationship with You and others in the same industries. You invite us to the Heavenly banquet, and we pray that through this one instance, that many will bear witness to how glorious that will be. May we grow greater in support, efforts, events, and initiatives to spread the joy of Your Love with the meal at a time. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.