Announcing Something New

 

For today’s Solemn Feast of the Annunciation, we recognize that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world.  Because of Mary’s “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel’s invitation to be the mother of God Most High, we now have the feast of feasts – 9 months later – called Christmas!  This “announcement” of something new, inspires our Grace Before Meals team to do some new things as well.

Here are some highlights:

(1)  Next week you’ll see a new format for the email blasts, including a new “splash page” when you log onto Grace Before Meals.  Be sure to check it out next week.  We will continue to host the same dynamic content connecting food, faith, family and fun, but with a slightly new look.

The young man to my left is considering studying for the priesthood.

 

(2)  We continue to partner with other evangelization groups, such as RedeemedOnline.com for their #ShareJesus Project during this Lenten Season.  Be sure to check out the last video I did with them, where I compare a resurrected body versus the body of a zombie!

(3)  CRS Rice Bowls was an important part of our Lenten Journey.  As we come to the close of the Lenten Season, we realize the our compassion doesn’t end, but takes on new meaning. Consider making these meatless dishes throughout the year.  They’re not only delicious, but it will remind of the powerful connection we have with people around the world – especially those who need our help throughout the year. Click HERE for the recipe.

Fried Plantains with Beans from Democratic Republic of Congo | CRS Rice Bowl's Global Kitchen
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(4)  While we’ve taken trips around Europe and even in the United States, we’re proud to bring you a trip to Spain – a country filled with a dynamic history, a mystical faith tradition, and known for their international cuisine.  Currently, we are offering a $200.00 discount for those who register before May 1, 2015! If you want a life changing experience and travel to Spain with me and Patrick Coffin, call Select International today at 800.842.4842 and speak with Susan.

(5)  Last week, Grace Before Meals took a new step in establishing our non-profit outreach called, “The Table Foundation: Elevating Culture and Family Life, One Meal at a Time.”  We had our first board meeting with people across the country and we are excited to take next steps. To learn more, visit the website www.thetablefoundation.org and prayerfully consider how you can get involved.

Our celebration today changed world history.  God doesn’t want us to “stay the same” but to be constantly trying to improve ourselves, our relationships, and to improve our ability to love and serve God and each other.  We hope you hear that invitation from God and announce the Good News to all!

The Parish Mission at St. Michael’s Parish in Livonia, MI. How exciting to fill the church with people seeking a renewal of faith!

Question:

(1) How did you celebrate this Annunciation Feast Day?

(2) Is there anything “new” that you can do to serve God better?

(3) Did you learn any new recipes from this Lenten Season?

Let us pray:

 

Father, we thank you for Mary’s yes to the Archangel Gabriel.  May we experience grace from this Feast Day and allow God’s love to touch us and heal us.  May the reality of God becoming man be a sign for us to live more like Jesus, who touched people’s hearts and feeding their hungry souls.  Bless us on our remaining Lenten journey.  Bless our Grace Before Meals team with zeal to do something dynamic and new for your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Upcoming Events:
 
3/28/15-3/31/15
Jacksonville FL
4/8/15
Check out all of Fr. Leo’s upcoming events by going to http://gracebeforemeals.com/events/
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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, Lent, The Table Foundation, What's On the Table | No Comments »

 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 gracebeforemeals.com 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.

  

1/29/15

 

1/30/15

 

        

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

 

  Fall into Grace

Fall is my favorite season.  The chillier “sweater-weather” brings some seriously savory foods.  October also brings with it some fantastic opportunities to grow in our knowledge of food and faith.  Since we can get so busy with all of events and travels, I wanted to highlight some upcoming events and news notes for our faithful foodies – that means you!
Fall is a great time to use some extra spice, thanks to the good folks at Tabasco for a great gift of spicy sauces.
Traveling with Fr. Leo and the Grace Before Meals Family:  It’s our objective to make connections between food, faith and culture. The best way to do that is through our culinary and Catholic-infused pilgrimages. These trips have become real opportunities for conversion because it opens people up to new ideas and sensory experiences of the universal faith.
Please be sure to reserve for any of the coming trips and bring a friend:
1) November 9-14, 2014 – Napa Valley Pilgrimage(SOLD OUT)
2) December 1-5,  2014 – NYC with Fr. Leo and Tom Leopold (EXCLUSIVELY for Sirius XM members)
3) June 18-28, 2015 – Shroud of Turin and World Food Fair in Italy with Fr. Leo and Gus Lloyd (SOLD OUT)
4) August 23-September 3, 2015 – Taste of Spain’s Mystical Meals (call now to pre-reserve your spot @ 800.848.4842).
5) October 25-November 6, 2015 – Faith and Food Tours of the Holy Land (Rescheduled from February. Call now to reserve your spot @ 800.848.4842)
Exclusively for Sirius XM Subscribers.
Booking Fr. Leo for Events:
We will soon be opening up our dates for new events in the fall of 2015 and beyond. Consider hosting a Grace Before Meals event at your parish.  If you have a team of people who want to spread this fantastic message, be in touch with our project manager Joe Hansbrough (jhansbrough@gracebeforemeals.com) who can help you develop one of the most dynamic events your parish, diocese or organization has ever seen!  It’s true!  These events change lives, while having food-tastic fun at the same time.  To book an event, click here.

 

Entire families come out for Fr. Leo’s events. A great way to bring the family together!
What’s on the Table?  The Table Foundation:
We will soon announce the official Table Foundation Initiative to all of our subscribed members.  So many of our Grace Before Meals members have wanted to contribute and share some of their blessings with our organization in order to help spread the love and to make room at the table for even more members.  Now, you can be part of our non-profit charitable outreach which will do some rather incredible things.  Stay tuned for more information very soon!
We’re excited to launch The Table Foundation and do more good for those most in need.

Let us pray:

Father in Heaven, as we arrive to October, help us to be mindful of the many needs we have in our family and in our communities.  Keep us open to being generous in serving you by serving one another.  Remind us to take time to pray, and teach us how to be ever aware of your abiding presence.  Grant us the courage to be like your saints!  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:   

(1) Have you ever heard or experienced one of Fr. Leo’s presentations?  If so, what did you think of it?
(2) Do you have any recommendations for chilly weather foods?
(3) What would you like the newly coming “Table Foundation” to do, and how do you think you can get involved?
Your comments, questions and responses are helpful to our organization. Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

 

 

10/2/14

Troy, MI

 

10/4/14

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Posted in Events, Pilgrimages, The Table Foundation, What's On the Table | 3 Comments »