Food for Thought and For Life

Fr. Leo Patalinghug author of Grace before Meals: Recipes for Family Life (Truequest Communications, $15.95) was thrilled about the opportunity to appear on the popular Food Network program Throwdown with Bobby Flay. After all the priest who runs the Pastor Field Education Program for seminarians at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Maryland believes cooking is one of the best ways to teach about the faith, especially the source and summit of the Catholic faith; the Eucharist. That’s why he decided to put his love for cooking into a book and a media ministry ( so families, especially Catholic families could come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of spending time together around the table. Fr. Leo has made frequent local, national and even international television appearances. He has also been featured in major Catholic and secular Internet and print outlets including the Catholic News Agency, Catholic Digest, The Washington Post, and The Baltimore Sun. So certainly being on one of the most popular cable networks with one of the most famous chefs would be another fun and interesting way to reach out to a wide and diverse audience for Christ. Who knows who will be tuning in this fall when the segment featuring Fr. Leo airs?

But when I interviewed Fr. Leo recently he told me while he is still expecting big things from the Lord in terms of viewer response, he wasn’t expecting what happened behind the scenes while they were producing the program. He says what occurred is another sign of why priests need to be out their in the community meeting with people and sharing every day experiences. He adds we sometimes tend to put the Church or our priests in a box and when we step outside those boxes amazing things can happen.

“One thing that was interesting about this whole experience was that the camera crew, the producers, the director, they were all asking me spiritual questions. So whether or not I can reach a thousand people because of the show itself, I just know that there was a Jewish girl who wanted to talk about the Incarnation….There was a camera man who wanted to talk about his marriage preparation. There was a young man; it was amazing, one of the production assistants, who said “Fr. I was so excited to learn that you were going to be the chef because I saw you on EWTN”, said Patalinghug.

The “Year for Priests” opened by Pope Benedict XVI, also came to mind Fr. Leo said, during the production of the cooking show.

“And in this year of the priests I think it is so important to show priests doing human things because Christ did human things as well.”

I thought about Fr. Leo’s comments for several days after our interview. And it reminded me of so many experiences I have had with my own radio program. You can have the best producer and technical folks running the show but some pretty special developments take place when you open yourself up to the one in the Master Control room, if you know what I mean. Fr. Leo agrees this was another reminder of how the Lord works in ways we don’t often expect or exactly understand. But it sure is exciting when it happens right before our eyes.

“The show itself wasn’t only done for the people who will be watching the show. I learned it was also for the people working around us; the producers, the directors, [and for the person who] said to me “Fr. It’s been a long time since my last confession.”

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Teresa Tomeo is an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host and motivational speaker with more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper and spent 19 of those years working in front of a camera as a reporter/anchor in the Detroit market. In the year 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company, Teresa Tomeo Communications, LLC and her web site and blog at Her daily morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is produced by Ave Maria Radio and EWTN’s Global Catholic Radio Network and can be heard on over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates worldwide including Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Over the past two decades, Teresa Tomeo has traveled extensively throughout Italy and has led pilgrimages and tours there over 50 times. In 2019, she founded T’s Italy, a travel consultation company along with its web site, where she shares insider tips for where to eat, stay, shop & play in this beautiful country.

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