|Back to School|
The rush to get families back to school and all the other activities brings about the blessing of a regular schedule, but also the struggle to get back into a routine after a (hopefully) relaxing summer. Our Grace Before Meals Team feels that same pressure. For that reason, we want to keep this week’s Blast nice and simple: we want to pray for the blessing of the school year and also to provide highlights and links to events and news in which you can participate.
We have so much to share with you that we hope you stay in touch through our social network on Facebook,Twitter and more regular blogging on the gracebeforemeals.com
Things to keep in mind:
Napa Valley Trip November 9-14, 2014:
Registrations will close by the end of next week so sign up and reserve your spot for this gourmet food and wine spiritual retreat. Click here for the brochure or call Diane at 313-565-8888 x 122.
Holy Land Food and Faith Tour February 1-12, 2015:
Jerusalem is truly a city of peace. Despite some of the tensions shown on the news, Christian pilgrims go to the Holy Land each day and share in the blessings of the land. We have once again opened up our registrations for this incredible opportunity to grow in our faith, help spread the efforts of peace, and show our solidarity for the Christians living in the Holy Land. Our tour operator can provide all the information to let you know all of the safety measures that are taken to ensure a beautiful and enjoyable tour of the Holy Land. Click here for the brochure or call 800-842-4842.
The new season of EWTN’s popular show, “Savoring our Faith” will commence filming this September with a traveling show. Fr. Leo will visit different parts of the country, share some of the spiritual blessings, bring you to Catholic owned restaurants to share their culinary perspective, and then take us all into the kitchen to learn how to make these foods that will remind you of the the blessings from your own travels. You can watch Fr. Leo’s weekly show on EWTN by checking your local listings.
Let us pray:
God our Father, help us to be good disciples (students) in the call to live lives of loving service to You and each other. Please Lord, give to our schools teachers blessed with patience, wisdom and a dynamic ability to communicate truth. Provide for our students a heart that seeks wisdom, a humble disposition, joy and gratitude for the opportunity to learn. Offer the gentle reminder to families that the primary educators of all children are their parents who teach a way of life and encourage faith which begins at home. May our saints, especially those gifted with intelligence and learning, pray for us so that we can learn the greatest lessons in life; lessons that teach us how Jesus came to this earth to teach us by His words and example. Amen.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Do you have any questions that you’d like for Fr. Leo and the Grace Before Meals Team to help answer for you?
Would you like Fr. Leo to come to your parish, organization or (arch)Diocese? Simply reach out to my project manager Joe Hansbrough at 410-667-1400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your communication encourages our efforts. Please post your comments and questions HERE.
This Week’s Recipe
8/23/14 – 8/26/14
Safe Travels & Feast Day Foods
|As Fr. Leo continues his retreats and travels, our team at GBM wanted to share a prayer for travelers as the summer vacations roll on and the school year approaches. With special intentions, we pray for those who are away from loved ones that they may return safely.
Dear God, we ask you for your blessings and protection on all those who are traveling, whether for business, for vacation, or for other personal reasons. We trust in your will, and hope that our loved ones may return to us safely and in good spirits. For those who have lost loved ones, we pray for their consolation and that they may find their hope and joy in you. Finally, may they be fed in body, mind and spirit on their journeys, so that they may be nourished and able to do good in this world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Interestingly enough, there is a book on EWTN’s website called “Feast Day Cookbook” by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, published in 1951. Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the recipes they share for today’s feast include Pilaff and a Spiced Grape Jelly. Be sure to check out the link for more recipes and neat information on Feast Days and meals, as feasting is an important part of the Catholic faith, the Grace Before Meals movement and cookbook.
[Excerpt from Feast Day Cookbook]
August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration
The origin of this Christian festival has been attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator who flourished in Lower Armenia during the fourth century. He is said to have substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called “Vartavarh” (the flaming of the rose) and the old name was retained, in that region at least, to designate the Transfiguration, because “Christ opened his glory like a rose on Mount Thabor.”
In Armenian villages the day is still celebrated with unusual ceremonies in the course of which peasants lead to the church a sheep with decorated horns, on each tip of which is placed a lighted candle. Flowers, fruit, and sheaves are also brought and laid before the altar.
Following this ceremony a fair usually takes place; there are races and games, and a crown of roses is the customary prize. During the feasting that follows is likely to appear.
Soak the cracked wheat (cracked barley may be substituted) overnight. Drain the wheat, mix with the meat, and salt to taste. Place in a large kettle, add about half the stock (water and bouillon cubes may be used, allowing one cube for each cup of water), and heat slowly. Cook for about an hour, stirring almost constantly and adding stock as necessary. Serve in hot, deep plates, pour melted butter over each serving, and dust with pepper and cinnamon to taste.
The Feast of the Transfiguration was slower to be observed in the Western Church and is not mentioned until the ninth century. It was made universal by Rome on the day when Hunyady gained his victory over the Turks on August 6, 1456. It is now the titular feast of the Church of St. John Lateran, and on this day the Pope presses a bunch of ripe grapes into the chalice at Mass or uses new wine.
Also in Rome raisins are blessed on the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Greek and Russian Churches too conduct a special ceremony for blessing grapes and other fruits. Since the grape is given so much prominence on this feast, we may give the following recipe:
Spiced Grape Jelly
Wash, remove from stems, and drain the grapes. Put half of them in a preserving kettle, add the vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves and then the rest of the grapes. Cook gently for about fifteen minutes or until soft. Strain through a jelly bag without pressing so that the juice remains clear. Take 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice, boil to the proper consistency for jelly, pour into hot glasses and cover with 1/2 inch of paraffin.
God Is (Isaiah 12:2)
God is. Simply put, to say the least. But what a big statement! What, or more accurately, who is God to you? There is no answer that can encompass the entirety of God, for He is entirety and then so much more. But the Prophet Isaiah has a pretty good answer for us to consider:
“BEHOLD, GOD IS MY SALVATION, I WILL TRUST AND NOT BE AFRAID; FOR THE LORD GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION.”
I will be at 3 Steubenville Youth Conferences this year, and as you may have guessed, the theme is “God Is”. This weekend, I will once again be going to Steubenville On The Bayou, at the Houma Civic Center in Houma, LA, then I will be at Steubenville Atlantic (in Canada) (7/4- 7/6/14) and Steubenville Main Campus 5 (7/18-7/20/14). And what wonderful opportunities to come together with so many young people ready to be set on fire with love for God in their faith.
I will be giving more than giving a talk, but will also be leading the entertainment like last year, and am looking forward to the fun waiting to be had. More than just talks and musical performances, there is a true unity felt among the crowds of young people and adults, all brought together in the love of God.
The theme of “God Is” should provoke you to think about what that means to you. Is it a statement, or is it the start of a sentence? Even the most devout would benefit from seeking to find out more about who God is in their lives. I highly encourage you, your children or any young person you think would benefit from the experience to try and make it out to one of these conferences. There is a full listing HERE.
Also, you can check out my Epic Food Fight video, preparing Blessed ‘Milk & Honey’ Salad by clicking the picture above. Check it out and let us know what you think! Finally, I want to encourage anyone interested in joining me for pilgrimages to Napa Valley (11/9-11/14/14) and the Holy Land (2/1-2/12/15) to register soon. The deadline for Napa Valley is July 7, so call Corporate Travel Service at 313-565-8888 x 122 to register today.
I’ll hope you are excited for the journey ahead to seek who, what, or that God is. God is.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- What does the Steubenville Conferences’ theme “God Is” mean to you?
- Have you been to a Steubenville Conference before? How was your experience?
- Have you ever engaged in a conversation about who God is with a non-believer? What happened?
Please post your comments below as these help our movement learn and grow.
Let us pray:
God, may we come to seek you are in all things, for you are all that we desire and you provide all that we need. May we trust that you are here with us always, and that you know what is best. May we surrender our hearts, our fears and our ambitions to you, so that you may do with us what is most pleasing to you. We love you always, and ask your blessing on all people, whether young or old, rich or poor, big or small. May many come to love you more through these conferences and in the work we do for your glory. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
This Week’s Recipe:
BEER-B-Q ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND ONIONS
6/27/14 – 6/29/14
WATCH: Fr. Leo makes New York Strip Steak with Advieh Seasoning
As you may know, my latest book Epic Food Fight: A Bite-sized History of Salvation came out earlier this year, and unlike my other books, Grace Before Meals: Recipes & Inspirations for Family Meals & Family Life and Spicing Up Married Life, this book does not contain recipes, but rather a “Theology of Food”.
What you may not have known is that Franciscan Media, the publisher of the book, produced some videos for Epic Food Fight as well. So I wanted to share with you the first 2 episodes.
The first video is an explanation of the book, and may provide some insight on why this is important and such a big part of what we do at Grace Before Meals. Click the picture and watch it below.
|Click to learn more about Epic Food Fight from Fr. Leo himself.|
The second video, I do actually cook up a meal that quite a tasty dish: New York Strip Steak with advieh seasoning. I gave steaks a whole new flavor profile by using advieh seasoning, which combines cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cloves and ginger – ingredients often associated to sweet baking, but also uniquely used in savory style cuisine. You can watch and learn just how easy it is to cook up some good steak by clicking the picture below.
|Easy to make, and even easier to eat, click the picture to watch how to make some delicious NY Strip Steak with advieh seasoning.|
Just as with my work with Grace Before Meals, TV and radio, this book makes clear how faith and food go hand in hand in bringing us closer to God and one another, as it is all truly a gift. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you check out Epic Food Fight this summer and be spiritually fed.
“Now this is great news-God cares about good food! In this refreshingly simple and joy-filled book, my friend Father Leo takes us from the dining room table to the Eucharistic altar and shows us how God wills to nourish us, body and soul.”
-FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS, program director of
The Catholic Channel on SiriusXM Radio
Next week, I will share the third episode where I make “Blessed Milk & Honey” Salad. At Grace Before Meals, we hope to help bring you closer to God and your family in the work we do, and this book is a big part of it. So share your stories of faith and food, and if you’ve read the book, let me know your thoughts on it by leaving comments HERE.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- Have you read Epic Food Fight?
- What are your thoughts on a “theology of food”? Does it make sense to you?
- What do you consider the greatest culinary connection to the Catholic faith?
Please post your comments HERE, as these help our movement learn and grow.
Let us pray:
Father, we praise you for your love for us and for the food you give us to eat. May we be fed with your Body and Blood, serving you by helping those in need. And may we always be strengthened and willing to fight the temptation to partake in the ‘forbidden fruit’, eating and drinking the spiritual food only you can provide. We love you and thank you for your mercy, and ask for your blessing in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
WATCH: Fr. Leo on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on EWTN
|Click to watch Fr. Leo on The World OVer with Raymond Arroyo.|
Fr. Leo was a special guest on ‘The World Over with Raymond Arroyo’ on June 5, 2014. Fr. Leo speaks on Grace Before Meals and The GIFT Vessel in greater details.
Now that I’m back from Italy following a great Couples Retreat that I co-led with Teresa Tomeo and her husband Dcn. Dom Pastore, plus a reunion with my priest friends from seminary, it is nice to look back at my travels. Many people think I am very lucky to travel as much as I do, but I sometimes, I am reluctant to agree. Let’s just say that driving non-stop, flight delays, and little sleep don’t always make me a happy traveler.
Yet as easy as it is for me to get frustrated when I’m stuck in a terminal for hours on end or when I travel between 5 events in 4 states in 7 days, I must say that I am thankful for the great opportunity to be spreading the Good News and sharing our family movement with people around the country and world. Knowing it is a unique part of my priesthood, even the most grueling of travel schedules offers the hope of knowing that I have the chance to meet many wonderful people and to feed them with food for the body & the soul. Plus, I hope that my toughest times in airports can serve as penance and reduce my time in Purgatory (I kid).
Knowing that travel is necessary for me and many others to carry out God’s will, I want to invite you and your friends to join me for some of my adventures. I know it is not always easy or even affordable, but I would very much encourage you to look into these trips and other ones that are coming soon, as they not only serve as great adventures that will provide memories for a lifetime, but faith-filled journeys that I think will impact you even after this lifetime.
Napa Valley Pilgrimage 2014
I highly recommend this trip to Napa Valley, CA this November 9-14, 2014, as it is right here in the USA, practically your backyard. As you can see in the trailer above, there are so many beautiful vineyards, wineries, locales and even castles to see, but what is more striking is the history and the amazing ties between the Catholic faith and wine. You can download the PDF form and fill it out by going to http://gracebeforemeals.com/assets/uploads/old_blog/Napa_Valley_Fruit_of_the_Vine.pdf. Cheers!
|Click the picture to download the registration form, and I’ll hope to see you in the Holy Land in 2015!|
I will be returning to the Holy Land in conjunction with Select International and Chefs for Peace again this February 1-12, 2015, following a tremendous trip this past January.
|Take a look at some of the wonderful tastes and travels in store for you in the Holy Land.|
As mentioned, there are many pains when it comes to traveling, but it is when you take a look around and see the glory of God’s creation that you can at least appreciate how amazing He really is, and just how much He loves us to provide us with such beauty. I pray that you can join me and others on these wonderful faith-filled and inspiring journeys, for that is what they are meant to do: inspire your faith. What better way than to enjoy God’s splendor with others in faith, food, and across the world.
Let us Pray for those going on vacation:
Father in Heaven, guide all travelers in their destinations. Give them patience, joy, perseverance and love as they travel in these coming summer months. Provide them safety and peace, now and until they reach their final destination in heaven, through your mercy and goodness, in the name of Jesus The Lord.
Ellicott City, MD
Spring Lake, NJ
- 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