Fr. Leo’s Top 5 Moments of 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017

As we wrap up 2016, I want to look back on my top 5 favorite moments from this past year and invite you to help Plating Grace and The Table Foundation to take off in 2017! With exciting initiatives having launched after years of development, there are many ways to be part of the movement to elevate culture through food and faith, as you will see. Without further ado:

#5: Speaking at Why Be Catholic Conference in Australia
What started as a small request grew into a grand adventure across the world, where I was invited to speak at the Why Be Catholic Conference in Perth Australia. Never having spoken there before, it was refreshing to see how many people were affected and became that much more hungry for what Plating Grace is dishing up for them. Since then, I have felt called to return, and have a larger tour planned for April 2017 that may span beyond Perth to Sydney, Melbourne, and the Philippines. More details to come!

Picture with the youth present at the Why Be Catholic Conference in Perth Australia in October 2016.

#4: Leading Three Different Pilgrimages to Italy
You know I couldn’t just pick one of the three trips. They were all SO GOOD! These life-changing tours were awesome adventures which not only gave me an opportunity to meet wonderful people from all walks of life, but also gave me a chance to share food, faith, and fun at some of my favorite locations. Not to mention it was incredible to be present for the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta, a personal heroine of mine. And you bet I have many more great adventures planned for 2017, including a trip to Spain with Gus Lloyd, a “Theology of Beauty” tour in Italy with Leah Darrow, an exciting return to the Holy Land, and another special pilgrimage to Italy with Check out next week’s blast for registration details on each of these, and feel free to call Select International at (800)-842-4842.

#3: Feed My Faith Launches!
What started out as a desire to reach more people who are on the fringes of the faith, I am happy to say that our new event format which we are calling the “Feed My Faith” Tour has had a successful start with over 500 people arriving the day after Thanksgiving to the Parish of the Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids, MI to experience what they called “the best event the parish had ever hosted. Ever.” This is the future of Plating Grace events as it offers a unique and incredible evangelization opportunity that goes beyond the church walls and brings people from all around to it, and it is at no cost for parishes to host. To learn more about how you can be a part of this new event tour, contact our Project Manager Joe Hansbrough at or by phone at 443-541-2370 to request an application so that your greater community can experience the best event they’ve ever had. Ever.

Click the image to learn more about how to bring Fr. Leo and the Feed My Faith Tour to your parish!

#2: Writing a New Book for 2017!
Though it is not out yet, I am very excited to announce that I have a new book coming out in Q1 2017 that aims to do more than just give families recipes to cook together – it gives parents the hope, skills, and ingredients to save families from the many issues they face together.  The book is set to be called “Saving the Family: Whose the Sup(p)er Hero in Yours?” and is the most practical and insightful guide available for families seeking to improve family life. How? Through sharing the best ways to start more regular family meals and instilling the confidence in you to become the “Supper” Hero you are called to be as a parent, child, grandparent, or member of the family! We all can form and be formed by our family life, so join me as I share the many practices, stories and insights I’ve gathered over the course of a lifetime of family ministry, family life, and bringing families back to the dinner table. More to come on what is shaping to be my favorite book I’ve written – I can’t wait to share it with you in 2017!

In my new book, I will share my experiences with different families over the years to help you strengthen yours around the dinner table.

#1: The Olive Mass in New Orleans
My favorite moment in 2016 was the fulfillment of a dream of mine for years – encouraging those who serve others through the food, beverage, and hospitality industries by praising their efforts and celebrating a Catholic Mass to show the Church’s support of the powerful ways food can be used to bring others closer to God and one another. The Olive Mass was a most incredible event by my nonprofit “The Table Foundation” that garnered the support of the Catholic hierarchy, celebrity Chefs and sponsors, a dedicated Board, the city of New Orleans, and hundreds of foodies and chefs everywhere thanks to the ways it celebrates those who use food for the good and offers a feast for others to partake in. The Mass was featured in another list as well, being listed as one of the best moments in the NOLA food scene by The New Orleans Advocate, which you can check out HERE.

Chef John Besh, Archbishop Aymond, the Chefs for Peace (Chefs Kevork, Johnny, Abraham, and Boaz), and me at the Olive Mass reception. Looking forward to returning to New Orleans in 2017!

Thanks to the Besh Restaurant Group’s services and generosity, there is an incredibly high standard for the years to come, officially returning to New Orleans on September 24 – 25, 2017. The Table Foundation aims to take this all over the US, including New York, Baltimore, and St. Louis, in the years to come. Read more about this past year’s HERE.

The Olive Mass – my favorite moment of 2016!

All of this year has been incredible, and with many more events and initiatives to come in 2017, I am happy that you are part of this journey. Specifically, seeing the impact that The Table Foundation was able to have on different chefs encourages me to know that we are on the right path. I ask that you consider supporting our efforts by making a year-end donation to The Table Foundation before December 31, 2016 by clicking HERE or by calling our office at 443-541-2390. Your support is crucial to growing the reach, impact, and mission of The Table Foundation as we seek to innovate and evangelize through the power of food for the glory of God. We thank God for His providence in 2016, and ask that He blesses us all in 2017 so that His love may be served up to the many who hunger for it. Happy New Year!

Please consider making a year-end donation to The Table Foundation as we look to serve more people with food and faith in 2017 and beyond. 

2018-03-30T18:04:14+00:00 December 28th, 2016|Blog, Dinner Discussion, What's On the Table|