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Body & Soul: Cooking & Catechesis

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EWTN personality Father Leo Patalinghug, host of ‘Savoring Our Faith” (Thursday, 5 p.m. EDT) puts on a microphone and headset before taking the stage at the Mercer County Fair in Celina Aug. 13. Asked before the cooking demonstration before an infield and grandstand crowd of at least 500 of all ages, he laughed and said, “I have no idea.” (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)
EWTN personality Father Leo Patalinghug, host of ‘Savoring Our Faith” (Thursday, 5 p.m. EDT) puts on a microphone and headset before taking the stage at the Mercer County Fair in Celina Aug. 13. Asked before the cooking demonstration before an infield and grandstand crowd of at least 500 of all ages, he laughed and said, “I have no idea.” (CT Photo/Steve Trosley)

Father Leo Patalinghug invoked Scripture while performing a cooking demonstration for hundreds of fans at the Mercer County Fair in Celina Aug. 13.

Among his many observations while cooking, Father Leo told the group that parents can teach children about religion during a family meal because, “It’s hard to interrupt when you feed someone – their mouths are full.”

Father Leo is a Catholic priest member of a community of consecrated life, Voluntas Dei (Latin for ‘The Will of God.’) He is from Baltimore, and the host and founder of Grace Before Meals, an apostolate to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table.

He is also an internationally renowned conference speaker, author, TV host of “Savoring Our Faith” on EWTN, and radio co-host of “Entertaining Truth” on Sirius XM. His unique background as martial artist and break dancer helps him to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds, appearing on PBS, ABC, CBS and The Food Network, where he defeated a world famous chef in the, “Throw Down! with Bobby Flay. “I won because I used holy water in my recipe,” he joked.

He explained that he discerned his food-centered ministry after a planned trip to France was derailed by the 9-11 tragedy. “I went on a vacation – we called it a retreat – to a beach house and I did the cooking. The other priests said I should have a cooking show and it got to my bishop. I did not think he would approve but he said he thought it was a fine idea. The rest is history.”

He said his brother was more spiritual and devout than he, “but he has seven impediments to being a priest: his wife and six kids.”

Using humor, Father Leo said, “Catholics attend Mass on Palm Sunday because they get something free. After Mass it looks like we held a basket weavers’ convention,” and comparing root vegetables to the journey to salvation, he stressed the point that Jesus himself understood that you can’t share the faith with someone whose stomach is empty.

For more on Father Leo Patalinghug’s ministry and a broad collection of recipes, go to www.gracebeforemeals.com.

Father Leo Patalinghug, prepares penne pasta with vodka sauce for a crowd at the Mercer County Fair in Celina Aug. 13. It was Father Leo’s first county fair appearance. He launched his cooking ministry shortly after the 9-11 tragedy interrupted a planned trip to France and set in motion a series of events that helped him discern his apostolate to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table. (CT Photo/Steve Trosley)
The cooking priest, Father Leo Patalinghug, prepares penne pasta with vodka sauce for a crowd at the Mercer County Fair in Celina Aug. 13. It was Father Leo’s first county fair appearance. He launched his cooking ministry shortly after the 9-11 tragedy interrupted a planned trip to France and set in motion a series of events that helped him discern his apostolate to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table. (CT Photo/Steve Trosley)
Father Leo posted this photo from the presentation at the fair to his facebook page, writing "My only regret, I didn't wrestle a steer!" (Courtesy Photo)
Father Leo posted this photo from the presentation at the fair to his facebook page, writing “My only regret, I didn’t wrestle a steer!” (Courtesy Photo)
Deglazing a rich tomato sauce with vodka and burning off the alcohol, Father Leo Patalinghug told the crowd when Jesus sent the apostles to evangelize the world, he told them to eat whatever they were offered wherever they stayed. “Christians can eat and drink whatever they like,” he said, “in moderation.” (CT Photo/Steve Trosley)
Deglazing a rich tomato sauce with vodka and burning off the alcohol, Father Leo Patalinghug told the crowd when Jesus sent the apostles to evangelize the world, he told them to eat whatever they were offered wherever they stayed. “Christians can eat and drink whatever they like,” he said, “in moderation.” (CT Photo/Steve Trosley)
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