Posted October 29th, 2014 | All Souls Day, Holiday, In Memory, What's On the Table

 Keeping the Dead Alive 

Occasionally I try to send updates with our growing Grace Before Meals Family.  As you know, I have been traveling here, there, and everywhere spreading the importance of family meals and a “Theology of Food!”  If you want to be part of our events schedule next year, CLICK HERE TO BOOK EVENT. These are life-changing events, sure to bring so many people together for faithful foodie fun!
Fr. Leo’s missions pack the churches with families!
During some downtime, I try and stay in touch with the rest of the world by searching for interesting Grace Before Meals connections on the internet.  I came across this unique cookbook that combines food and faith, but with a particular spin, as it involves the Popes!  This book was written by one of the Swiss Guards who shares some favorite Pontifical Recipes. This book, along with my own cookbooks, may be great Christmas gifts for faithful foodies!

You’ll notice the title of this blog seems somewhat morbid, right in line with the Halloween season as it has come to be known. But as October comes to an end, we enter into several sacred celebrations:  All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day! These Feast Days give us opportunities to reflect on family and friends who have gone before us and we pray have experienced God’s mercy in heaven. While it’s easy to put on a Halloween costume, these feast days remind us to ‘put on the virtues’ that make our deceased family and friends so missed.  That means, keeping the faith of our loved ones alive in our hearts, mind and actions!
Click to watch Joe’s tribute video for his Dad, and share your comments about your own loved ones.

 

Here’s a special video that speaks of “putting on virtue.”  It comes from Joe Hansbrough, the Grace Before Meals project manager. He has a busy schedule too as a young husband and father of 2.  Since I’ve known him, he and his family have shared many personal challenges, including family health problems, the death of a two siblings, and recently the death of his father.  Yet, Joe and his faithful family continue to move on with life because of their Faith in God.
Faith is the stuff that makes family life such a blessing.  Despite the struggles of life, a family has each other to console, encourage and strengthen one another.  I’m so grateful to Joe and his family for the sacrifices made for our Grace Before Meals mission.  I wanted to share with you this beautiful tribute that Joe made to honor is dad.
I hope this video inspires you to see how each member of your family is a gift from God. We’re all called to be this “super hero” to one another.  When we do that, we put on more than a costume for Halloween.  We become who we are supposed to be.
Joe’s son Joshua at 6 weeks old, named for his late uncle. He’s got some family to look over him from above!

Let us pray:

Father in heaven, as our church celebrates All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day, we pray that see the spiritual significance of our prayers by remembering the souls of the faithful departed and by living lives of sanctity so that we will one day share in the eternal victory celebration in heaven.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

 

Please post your comments and answers below as a way to say in touch and to help keep our message focused on faith, family and food!
 (1)  What’s your favorite Halloween Costume?
(2)  How will you remember your faithful departed on this upcoming feast day?
(3)  What saint inspires you the most?

 


 10/30/14

  

 ANNUAL CLERGY & RELIGIOUS APPRECIATION BANQUET

Corpus Christi, TX 

 

11/1/14

Royal Oak, MI

 

 

11/3/14

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Posted in All Souls Day, Holiday, In Memory, What's On the Table | 3 Comments »

Posted September 24th, 2014 | Dinner Discussion, Events, In Memory

 

An Ironic Super September
For some reason, when the month of September rolls around, I feel like it goes so quickly that I already feel the pressure of Christmas shopping!  There’s an ironic truth about how being busy makes the time go faster while the devil can tempt us when we’re idle and bored.  So, thank God for a busy September!
To Book Fr. Leo for Future events, click here.
Let me recap my month.  (By the way, this list is not to “show off” but a personal exercise for me to keep my own sanity!). In this month alone, I had speaking, cooking, or media events in New York City, New Jersey, the western part of Maryland, Washington DC, Ohio, Denver, Little Rock, Arkansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  In that time, I recorded 4 episodes of my radio show, “Entertaining Truth and 3 new traveling episodes of “Savoring our Faith (LINK)”  We continue to make great progress with my newest project, “The Table Foundation” – which, if you’ve ever started a non-profit, it’s an exercise of “hurry-up-and-wait.” 
 
In the meantime, our team is organizing trips to bring you and the good news around the world through our faith, food, and culture trips to New YorkItalyNapa Valley.  Soon we will extend invitations to the Holy Land and Spain in 2015.  In light of the Papal visit to the Philippines, I’m participating in discussions to travel there in January 2015.  On top of all that, I’m coordinating a “meet and greet” for people interested in learning more about the Consecrated Life through my community Voluntas Dei, a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite set for October 8

 

This is the picture that I took of the Holy Father at a General Audience. He looked after I yelled out, “I want to cook for you!”
Despite my sheer busyness, I can honestly say that it all pales in comparison to the busyness that a family goes through, especially if it’s a young growing family.  So, while I’m busy, my project manager and his wife are extra busy!  Can you please join me in welcoming a new member of the Grace Before Meals family:  Joshua Giorgio Hansbrough, the son of my project manager, Joe and Erica Hansbrough, and the little brother to Grace.
Joshua Giorgio Hansbrough, born 8 lbs 4 oz, named after Joe’s brother Joshua (died 1982) and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Joe’s late father James considered them some of his favorite ‘heaven dwellers’.
As many of you know from working with him to schedule or coordinate events, Joe Hansbrough is just as busy behind the computer or phones while I’m busy on the road.  Joe reports that Joshua Giorgio is a real “eater” and has great metabolism!  Can’t wait for the opportunity to cook for him as I did for his big sister – another really good eater!
Grace mastering the pasta twirl with my creamy basil pesto linguine.
Joshua Giorgio was born on September 11, 2014. On that eerie day for airlines, I was on a plane headed to Denver to film a catechetical segment for the Augustine Institute.  If you’re familiar with the Grace Before Meals story, you’ll see the irony.  The idea of Grace Before Meals was intimately connected to the tragic date of September 11.  With Joshua Giorgio, September 11 now has extra special meaning.  God works in ironic, beautiful and wonderfully mysterious ways.  A date that reminds people of death and destruction. But for people of faith, this date becomes a date to remember hope, courage, fortitude; a day of new life, and increases love for people that extends beyond the limits of life on earth.
The New York City skyline.
Maybe because of my transition into a community of Consecrated Life I’ve been more aware of the ironic and providential ways that God has been encouraging and affirming our Grace Before Meals apostolate. Little signs, like encouraging emails, cards from children, affirming encounters, and now the celebration of the new life of Joshua Giorgio on September 11th speaks to my heart about how God does not give up on humanity.  It’s my prayer that in the increasing challenges of our economy, politics, social struggles and world wars, I pray that humanity doesn’t give up on God!
Image of the original Holy Stairs of St. Joseph in the Loretto Chapel in New Mexico.

Let us pray:

Despite our busyness God, may we always hear your voice speak to us a word of encouragement, reminding us to pray, to find quiet, and to never forget your presence in the dignity of humanity and the gift of life!  We pray for all who continue to struggle in the aftermath of world tragedies and those who silently struggle in their hearts and homes.  I pray that all will be faithful to see the providence of God, sometimes working through the irony of life.  May we never give up on you God, as we know You are always faithful to us.  Amen.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:   

 

Your comments encourage us in our efforts. Please post your comments here.
(1)  Did you celebrate a new birth in the month of September?
(2)  How do you encourage people in difficult situations?
(3)  Is there a go-to-meal to help you get through the challenges of life?
(4)  Do you have an ironic situation that helped you find God’s presence?

9/25/14

9/28/14

    

 

ST. ANNE PARISH CELEBRATION

Pittsburgh, PA

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Posted in Dinner Discussion, Events, In Memory | No Comments »

 Seeking “The Good News” in the News

 

Watching the news

 

If you turn on a TV, check your Facebook or Twitter feeds, or read a newspaper, it is hard to get good news. For every nice story, such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge social media sensation that has brought much awareness and raised much money to help in the fight against ALS, we are overwhelmed with a million and one stories about celebrities who are cheating on their spouses or in rehab for the umpteenth time or even worse, the fashion faux-pas they made with what they wore to a public outing. Meanwhile, thousands of Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East everyday, and there is less of an outrage over that than there is when someone’s favorite TV Show gets cancelled or athlete gets traded to another team.

And on one hand, it is understandable. As humans, we don’t desire conflict and we’d rather feel safe and sound than face the evils outside our door in the world around us. If you can avoid persecution, than why not avoid it? Life is stressful for most everybody, whether it comes to having to deal with finances, worry about job security, face issues within your family life, staying on top of endless tasks and duties, and much more. So it makes sense why we would avoid the news that adds to that stress given its seeming hopelessness, and instead, settle for non-journalistic approaches to the news that point out the issues that others face, often amplified due to the spotlight.

Robin Williams, famous for many movies and TV shows, took his life at age 63.

One such case is Robin Williams, a certified comic legend who has been in show business for over 36 years. He was truly hilarious and off-the-wall, and always found ways to make people laugh. Yet, despite his big personality and his huge smile, he was a man that battled many demons throughout his life, from drug addiction to alcoholism to divorces and depression. In the news of his apparent suicide, millions of people have poured out their love for a man they did not even know but who made them smile, laugh and feel better about themselves, like in this case. It has also been an opportunity to look back and see the signs that were there all along with him. We pray for him and his family in these tough times.

Chris Farley in the classic martial arts epic, “Beverly Hills Ninja”

You see, it is unfortunate to say, but it is not untypical for someone known for being so fun and outgoing to be so hurt and lonely. One of my favorite Saturday Night Live actors, Chris Farley, is another example of a popular comedian who went down a bad path of drugs and vices, dying young and alone. But many don’t know that he went to Church often and apparently, he died with a rosary in his hand. I mention this not to make a point about his being Catholic or to speculate where he was in his faith life, but rather to make the point that he was no different from you or me in his desire to be loved. Clearly, he was seeking hope in a (seemingly) hopeless situation.

Whether we are talking about the celebrities all over the tabloids that we can’t seem to get away from, or the quiet kid from elementary school that didn’t have many friends, we are talking about people who not only desire to be loved, but deserve to be. God made us to love, and it is in loving that we come to see Him more clearly. It is in seeking to serve the other, not yourself, that we can come to know what Christ intended for us when he gave his life for us in the most selfless act in history. For unlike us, he didn’t do anything to deserve harm and yet he took it all on just so that we had the hope for eternal salvation.

The Crucifixion, the greatest act of love in History.

Christ loves us more than we can ever comprehend, and yet, many become blind to it, only seeing how others see them or never finding that truest form of love they were looking for. In a society that feeds off of bad news or the faults of others, let us be among those that stands up for the “Good News”. May we have courage to seek justice and fight for those in need.

Let us be the light that shines for those in the darkness. Let us be present for our kids in their times of turmoil and in their times of joy; let us show the ones we love a reason to smile; let us serve the hungry some good food (just check out my recipes on www.gracebeforemeals.com/recipes. J/K); let us tell people about the love of God for it is everything we yearn for and so much more.

Please say a prayer for all of those who are hurting right now, for all of those who are so deeply wounded, for all of those who are lost and say they don’t want to found, for all those being persecuted and who are suffering. Say a prayer for those in the darkness, that they may see the shining light of God’s face. And may we show people that there is hope in the hopeless, that there is courage to face the evils out there, and that there is love to be shared.

If you are among those in need of help, please be in touch with your local priest, doctor or check out this page (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) to find the help that you need.

REMINDER: My pilgrimages to Napa Valley and to the Holy Land still have some available spots, so register today and join in on the amazing spiritual and culinary journeys that lay ahead. [UPDATE: No longer available, but see other pilgrimages that are by visiting http://gracebeforemeals.com/news/browse/category/pilgrimages]

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Posted in Food for the Soul, Food for Thought, In Memory, What's On the Table | 6 Comments »

Secular Institute Priests: 

News that Feeds

Continuing the conversation from a couple weeks ago about my transition into a Community of Consecrated Life, I wanted to address some of the ongoing question I receive from people who just want to learn more about my new community of Voluntas Dei, a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite.  

 

 

I’ll admit, when I was studying to be a priest I knew little about this priestly option.  And even after I became a priest, it took me several more years to understand the unique richness and diversity of ways people can serve in the Catholic Church.  So hopefully this Q & A e-mail Blast can be helpful and nourishing to your mind and soul.

A young Fr. Leo meeting soon to be SAINT John Paul II in Castel Gondolfo, the Pope’s Summer Residence.

What’s the difference between a Diocesan Priest, Religious Order Priest, and a Secular Institute Priest?

A Diocesan Priest (aka a “secular priest,” oftentimes considered a “parish priest”) serves the local bishop and God’s people within a diocesan boundary (i.e., generally a designated geographical area).  Diocesan priests do not make solemn vows.  Instead, Diocesan priests make promises of celibate chastity, obedience to a bishop, and are also bound to pray the Divine Office in union with the Universal Church.

 

Most Diocesan priests are parish priests tasked with the administration, spiritual, pastoral, and sacramental care for the local parish needs.  Although some diocesan priests have “special ministries” serving in different settings (teachers, hospital chaplains, central service administration employees, etc.,), they serve according to the needs of the Church and always under the direction of the local Bishop.

Diocesan priests can live in rectories or in private homes, but they do not live a communal life, even though they ought to foster a sense of community and fraternity with other priests and God’s people.  It is normal custom, but not a requirement, that Diocesan priests wear the Roman collar (clerical shirt).  They do not wear a specific outfit such as a habit, religious robes, or a particular uniform.

Since Diocesan priests do not take the vow of poverty they can own property, make extra income, and are required to collaborate with the local diocese in maintaining a professional salary, retirement, and pension.  Diocesan priesthood’s “charism” is in service to the Archbishop and not a particular function or specific service or ministry, although a priest may be given permission to devote his life to a particular type of service, as long as it’s approved by his Bishop.

The Pontifical North American College Class of 1999 with the late soon-to-be- Saint John Paul II, along with then Monsignor, now Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City (second from the Holy Father’s right side, kneeling)

Religious Order Priests, such as Dominicans, Jesuits, and Franciscans to name a few, generally live in a common household with other members.  They follow a particular regimen of spiritual requirements – a type of “Rule of Life” or “laws” that are formed by their group’s constitution.  They normally wear a distinct religious outfit as a requirement, but always in accordance with the norms and local customs, with some possible exceptions and modifications.

These priests profess vows, also known as the “Evangelical Counsels,” of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, which they make to the Superior of the community.  They are also required to live and serve with the permission of the local Diocesan Bishop.  In other words, a Religious priest, although not vowing obedience to a local bishop, must always respect and collaborate with that bishop.  Since Religious priests take a vow of poverty, they are required to give their income to the community, which will then provide for all of their needs – food, housing, personal allowance, medical needs, and retirement.

Religious priests follow a “rule” of living set forth by the governing members of the community, requiring them to pray a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, and work in a particular setting according to the charism of the community.  The charism of the community is what ultimately distinguishes Religious Orders from Diocesan priests.

Each religious order has a certain charism.  For example, the Jesuits’ charism, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, was to give glory to God and to serve all of the needs of the Pope. Franciscans have a special charism to serve the poor, like their founder St. Francis of Assisi. Dominicans, following St. Dominic, have a charism as The Order of Preachers.

Men become priests in these religious orders because they sense God calling them to work in a specific field, but as you can easily observe in the modern world, Religious Order priests can now serve in just about any capacity as determined by the Superior, and are not just limited to one task or one charism.  Some Religious priests now serve as parish priests, like their Diocesan colleagues.  Ultimately, these Religious Orders are distinguished by their charism, the Rule of Life (or the Constitutions of the Community), the fact they live together in a community, and that they vow to live the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience to their community Superior.

The Missionaries of Charity Brothers serving in Kolkata, where they care for men dying of AIDS, including the 4 young orphan boys infected with AIDS at birth by parents who died from the disease.

Secular Institute Priests are, in a sense, a “combination” of the qualities of Religious and Diocesan.  Secular Institute priests live consecrated vows, maintaining some characteristics of Religious communities by vowing Poverty, Chastity and Obedience to a Superior (or Director). Institute priests also live by a Constitution or Rule of Life, and have a unique charism that governs the practical work and lifestyle of each member.

In the case of my community, Voluntas Dei has the charism to be like the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, by saying yes to God’s will.  In its practical charism, Voluntas Dei imitates St. Paul as an evangelizer and missionary, spreading God’s love to people in different circumstances and situations.

Like the Diocesan priesthood, Secular Institute priests maintain a secular character by not living in a community, but rather as serving as spiritual leaven in secular society.  Secular Institute priests must discern whether to live in a small community or to live simply in a solitary setting – but always within the context of bringing Christ’s presence in the secular world.  In other words, Institute priests don’t live separate from the lived reality of the people they serve.  Rather, Institute priests follow the example of the Holy Family and early apostles by living in the world as a consecrated person but not succumbing to worldliness – which is the antithesis of faith.

Although Secular Institute priests take the vow of Poverty, we do not give our income to the community, but rather, we must be completely self-sufficient, to live simply and always within our means, and to be ever mindful of, and actively provide for, the needs of the poor.  Like Diocesan priests, there is no specific religious garb, but we follow the normal local custom.  In my case, I will wear clerical clothing in ministerial settings and always represent the Church as a Catholic Priest.

In Voluntas Dei, the local team/community is required to gather each month for formation.  Secular Institute priests can serve in various settings – some serving in parishes, while others serve in special ministries, and others are called to live a contemplative life.  It is the responsibility of the Voluntas Dei Institute to help each member discern the particular gifts that God has given to each person and to provide community support and spiritual formation in order to fulfill God’s will.   

Posing with Steubenville University students who help lead retreats for high school students. This group is called, “Sent.”

In the coming e-mail Blasts I’ll be sending out more information about my community, and even an invitation to come to a gathering meeting for those who want to learn more about Secular Institutes and my own community, Voluntas Dei.

This form of consecrated life, which falls under the direction of the Pope and the Vatican’s Congregation of Consecrated Life, is a beautiful response to the modern and newly emerging needs in the Church and in the world.  Secular Institutes and other modern spiritual movements have been a very helpful component in keeping the Catholic Faith alive and strong in many parts of the world, simply because it has a mission to use the gifts and talents of the laity to provide a deeper sense of community and permeate the culture at a grass roots level.

 

In Voluntas Dei, we have the unique charism to foster community among priests, lay members, and even consecrated married couples.  So, if you’re in the Baltimore Washington area and want to learn how to become a member of the Institute, send an e-mail to me at askfrleo@gracebeforemeals.com and I’ll be sure to reach out to you with information on upcoming gatherings.    

With Students at Lake Catholic High School in Ohio, where I gave a talk at an assembly to help the students celebrate Holy Week and prepare for Easter.

Let us Pray:

 Lord, as we continue to celebrate the great feast of Easter, may we experience a great sense of “mission” to spread the Good News in the world – everywhere and with everyone!  May this season of celebrating life give us a great awareness of Your love and mercy, and help us to live according to Your plan. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

 

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

  • What is your favorite religious order, and why?
  • If you could create your own religious community, what would be your primary work or charism?    
  • Have you ever thought about being part of a spiritual community?  If so, which one?  And if you haven’t yet joined one, what’s stopping you? 

Your comments and questions are an important part of sharing our message and our meals.  Please leave your comments below.

Click the image below to Get your SIGNED COPY of 

Fr. Leo’s latest book, Epic Food Fight: A Bite Sized History of Salvation

4/30/14

Warwick, RI

Fountain Valley, CA 
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Posted in Entertaining Truth, Epic Food Fight, From the Feedbag, In Memory, Prayers, Video | 2 Comments »

Posted April 10th, 2014 | CRS Rice Bowl, In Memory, Menu Inspiration, Recipes

Brussels Sprouts and Culinary Conversions

We apologize for the blast being a day later than usual; we have been in mourning since the passing of Project Manager Joe Hansbrough’s father, James D. Hansbrough Jr, husband to Maria Hansbrough for over 38 years, father of nine children, and grandfather to seven grandchildren and counting. He died of a heart attack on Monday unexpectedly. According to Joe, he was instrumental in making sure that Grace was said before every meal and that the Faith was instilled in his children. We ask you to please keep him and his family in your prayers in this time of grief. You can view his obituary HERE. Thank you.

 

———

 

Last week I had the chance to cook Brussels sprouts for Gus Lloyd, the host for the popular morning show, “Seize the Day” on Sirius XM Catholic Channel 129.  He was known for sharing on air his anti-love for Brussels sprouts or as he would call them, “those little horrible critters.”   (Gus is so nice, he would never use the word “hate,” so in my mind, Gus felt “anti-love”).

 

Since I was in the Tampa area, where Gus hosts his show, I accepted his invitation to join him live in studio. At the same time, I gave give him a chance for a culinary “conversion” by cooking him Brussels sprouts. I vowed that he would LOVE the way I prepare these little “gifts of God.”

 

Gus Lloyd live on radio, staring at his former food enemy, Brussels sprouts, presented two ways and served with pan-seared chicken.

He sampled the Brussels sprouts LIVE on his show.  And, as expected, loved them!  A miracle and conversion occurred before his listening audience!  Because so many people asked for recipes I’ve copied them below for you to enjoy.

CLICK for recipe: Brussels sprouts and Granny Smith apple slaw.
CLICK for the Recipe: Pan-seared chicken served with two preparations of Brussels sprouts, including a bed of braised Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic vinegar reduction.

In this time of Lent, we are asked to experience a deeper conversion.  That can only begin when we are willing to have an honest and sincere conversation. We need to truthfully admit our feelings, while also being brave enough to try a different approach (or in Gus’s case, a different recipe). Jesus did that quite a bit, leading many sinners to conversion. He ate with them.  He showed them the Father’s love using different language, telling stories and ultimately sacrificing himself.  He didn’t approach faith like the “experts,” which for him was the scribes and the Pharisees who imposed burdens, not blessings.  He definitely presented the message of God’s love in a different way.  Now, we must be brave enough, like Gus Lloyd, in eating the Super Food that Jesus gives to us: His Body & Blood and his sacred teachings.  

 

Procession of the Blessed Sacrament at the Jacksonville Eucharistic Congress.

Gus Lloyd had a “conversion” because he was willing to have a conversation. He admitted some of his past prejudices from bad Brussels sprouts experiences.  But he was also courageous enough to give this former food enemy another try in a different way.  Hopefully, in this season of Lent, we can do the same with people in our lives.  With honest conversation and courage, we can get over our prejudices, our past bad experiences, and reverse our “anti-love” for one another.  Conversion begins with an honest conversation with God, called prayer.

 

Shrine dedicated to praying for those who suffer with cancer, at the Assumption Church in Chicago, IL.

 

Let us Pray:

Father, may we experience an ongoing conversation with You in prayer, which will lead to a conversion of Heart.  Teach us how to get over negative experiences of our past. Give us courage to be open enough to trying those things which we know are good for us – such as healthy food, exercise, forgiveness, patience, serving the poor, learning more about faith, and praying more faithfully. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Seminarians for the Diocese of St. Augustine Florida. These men all know the need for ongoing conversion in their life as future priests.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 

  • How do you prepare Brussels sprouts?
  • Is there a food that you need a ‘culinary conversion’ for – i.e., a new way to try something you don’t like to eat?
  • Is there a “spiritual food” that you may have a prejudice against (ie., fasting, church’s moral teaching, praying the rosary, meditation) that you need to have presented to you in a different way so that you may better appreciate the spiritual foods of the Church?

 

Your comments and questions are an important part of sharing our message and our meals.  Please leave your comments below.

  


This Week’s Lenten Recipe from CRS Rice Bowl:
 
 
Visit crsricebowl.org for more on Fr. Leo and 
CRS Rice Bowl Global Kitchen: For Lent, For Life
 
4/12/14
 
Fombell, PA
 
4/12/14 – 4/15/14
 
Brunswick, OH
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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, In Memory, Menu Inspiration, Recipes | 5 Comments »

Posted November 13th, 2013 | From the Feedbag, In Memory, Media, Prayers, Recipe, Video

 

 

 Meaningful Messages, Faithful Filipinos

 

Sunset Philippine Beach – while it’s a tropical paradise, the people in the Philippines live in trust that God will protect them from nature.

The devastating news of the deadly typhoon in the Philippines has turned the world’s attention, support, and compassion to the Pacific island nation.  Many people have called, e-mailed, and sent me messages on Facebook and Twitter to share their prayerful concern for me and for my family.  Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.

My immediate family lives in America and are – thank God – safe from the storm’s effect. However, I have relatives still living in the exact vicinity where the typhoon hit.  It will take several days, no doubt, before we will know of updates, especially since the storm followed the earthquake, just a few weeks ago.  We are all praying and hoping they are ok, even though we realize their lives are certainly changed forever.

Interior of one of the oldest churches in Bohol.

It’s reported that Typhoon Haiyan was the one of the worst storm the Philippines has faced in its history, taking the lives of an estimated 10,000 people.  The difficulties increase with relief efforts hampered by limited access to reach those areas most in need.

Filipino children.

It’s easy to feel helpless.  But we can never give into feeling hopeless. Already nations – even nations at war – are pledging support.  Perhaps, we can do our share as well, in order to bring a little hope to the people most in need.

We first ought to pray that the people in the Philippines never lose hope.  The Filipino people have a profound faith that has helped them survive.  Also, we can send our financial help to reputable groups that are specially trained to provide the proper care for such emergencies.

While the Philippines naturally grows so many fruits and vegetables, the storm-affected areas have made food very scarce for the locals.

Please be careful to give only to reputable agencies.  For me, I will make my donation to CRS, as I know they have the infrastructure to bring aid to those in need.  Finally, we can use this time to humbly reflect in our own lives, recognizing our vulnerability, our dependency on God.  And we can also take this moment to grow in the virtue of hope in order to persevere – no matter what storms may come our way.

Filipinos praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

On behalf of my family, thank you for your concerns.  Your meaningful messages give us hopeful reminders of the faith that endures all things.

 Food for Thought:

  • How do you try to help when hearing such difficult news?
  • When you want to donate to a cause, how do you test the legitimacy of the agency?
  • Have you ever volunteered for emergency services in times of need?

 Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments below. 

Let us pray:

 

Father in Heaven, thank You for faith, especially when difficulties and tragedies come our way.  Bless the Philippines with strength to rebuild.  Console those who are most in need.  Protect the emergency responders.  Thank You for the generosity of those who want to help.  While we may feel “helpless” in our direct ability to help those in need, may we never feel “hopeless” in that You can bring about even greater good in the midst of life’s worst storms.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

The miraculous Black Nazarene statue of Our Lord carrying the Cross.

 Check out where Fr. Leo has been featured this week

 

MEDIA ARTICLES:

 

Click for the article that Fr. Leo was featured in on AZFamily.com

 

VIDEOS:

Click to watch video.

This Week’s Recipe: 

 

 PANCIT

 

November 14

Dallas, PA
November 16
KITTANNING, PA
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Posted in From the Feedbag, In Memory, Media, Prayers, Recipe, Video | 5 Comments »