The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Father Leo

About Father Leo

Author, Spicing Up Your Married Life (2012)

Priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD

Chairman of the Pastoral Theology Dept. at the seminary of Mount St. Mary's Univ. (the nation's 2nd oldest Catholic Univ.)

Founded grassroots movement Grace Before Meals, which strengthens family relationships around the dinner table

3rd Degree Black Belt Instructor in Tae Kwon Do (Korean Martial Art) and Arnis, the National Philippine Martial Art of full contact stick and weapon fighting. World Champion 1992, and other titles from 1978 – 1992

Forensics, Public Speech and Debate Distinctions, 1984-1988 (Teacher and Coach for Catholic HS 1989-1992)

Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County – B.A.; Pontifical Gregorian Univ. and Pontifical Instit. Marianum - Rome


Spicing Up Married Life

By The 700 Club

Spousal love helps determine the strength of family bonds.  Priests/ministers are uniquely positioned in the Lord to answer some of the difficult questions couples often have about marriage.  The Lord grants the pastors of His Church the privileged task of helping husbands and wives rekindle the Godly love they share at all stages of married life.  He has entrusted the truth about married love to His Church.  While popular culture does not paint a very encouraging picture of marriage, the Church provides a long line of witnesses to teach couples the true meaning of marriage, as well as provide them with guidance on how to develop a long-lasting, loving relationship.  If spouses discard God’s love they invite a struggle against powerful forces that can undermine their earthly commitment.  God strengthens the couple; they must remain aware that a good marriage is about faithfulness.  In marriage God offers us a glimpse, a foretaste,  of Heaven.  As the years go by it’s important for couples to reflect upon the romantic feelings that were so plentiful in earlier years, and remind themselves that God’s love is dynamic.  Marriage is a blessing that comes from God.  It is He who blesses it, upholds it, and created within a special place to infuse more love into the world.  It is good to pray and dine together!  Father Leo offers help with both.

As the Grace Before Meals movement has been growing, there were many requests on the website to have marriage and topics geared to married couples as the subject of a book.  The inspiration for the book Spicing Up Married Life came as result of these requests and from Father Leo’s personal prayer time.  Strengthening marriage bonds is foundational in the purpose of Grace Before Meals.  Father Leo says the family can only be as strong as mom and dad’s relationship. The value of marriage is built on structure of couple.  Father Leo sees the real need to support the Christian Biblical perspective of holy matrimony in today’s society.   Though Father Leo hasn’t experienced marriage firsthand, he is spiritually committed to Christ and has observed and worked with many couples in different stages of their relationships.  Spicing Up Married Life offers readers his thoughts, other people’s experiences, and prayer, which will ultimately deepen the family movement.  It gives the major components of a healthy marriage (learning, prayer, conversation, and celebration) in a systematic, practical way.  There are twelve chapters, one for each month of the year, where couples can focus on discussion topics, prayer points, a journal section for thoughts on growth, and suggested meals with recipes.  The goal is to deepen relationships and focus on family love.

This is a unique marriage tool, which Father Leo wanted to keep simple and have available for people who are truly seeking.  The pre-release date for the book fell on his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary last September 22, 2012.  They were part of the inspiration for the book.  The full release will be January 1, 2013.  With the book’s limited run, it is already receiving an overwhelmingly positive response.  Recently, there was an event where over 400 people attended.  Father Leo says at least 200 couples (all of the couples who attended) renewed their marriage vows that day.  The book is also getting great responses from different people around the country.

Father Leo Patalinghug has been called “a break dancing, board-breaking, bread-breaking priest.”  Before he was ordained over ten years ago he taught high school speech, debate, and drama; founded a martial arts school with his brother; and choreographed an award-winning break dancing group.  Food and cooking have always been interests for him.  Throughout the years he learned some of his cooking skills from his mother and by cooking for his friends.  His culinary interest even took him to take some courses at the Cordon Bleu Perugia, Italy Culinary School.   After Father Leo was ordained he incorporated his cooking skills and other talents with his presentations, etc. and even started a movement to bring families back together through mealtimes called Grace Before Meals.  Father Leo’s goal with Grace Before Meals is to create mini-Thanksgivings (or quality times for families to spend meal times together) throughout the year.  Grace Before Meals and Father Leo have steadily been gaining a following since 2003 and eventually the national media took notice.  The Food Network wanted Father Leo to have a cook off with celebrity chef Bobby Flay on one of its popular shows, Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  This show has Bobby Flay challenging masters in different kinds of cooking. The challengers think the Food Network is shooting their profile for a new show.   They don't know that Bobby is going to drop in for a surprise visit and challenge them to an unexpected cook off.   It was an exciting showdown…in which Father Leo came out victorious (however, Father Leo had to keep the winner a secret until the show aired.)  Shortly after the Throwdown broadcast on September 9, 2009 the Grace Before Meals website received over two million hits – the grassroots movement was growing.

Father Leo was raised in faith and there was a lot of goodness in his family.  At 14, he was really bored and considered himself agnostic.  Around the age of 18 or 19 he went on a pilgrimage to look for universal truth.  He consulted experts and decided that God was true.  At 19, he felt God spoke to him and he cried a lot of tears.  He became more involved in the Lord’s work and found that he was happy.  He continued to seek God for the direction for his life and asked God what he should do.  Father Leo felt like he heard God say go into the ministry.  Father Leo started the process at the age of 24 and about five years later, at age 29, he was ordained as a priest.

As founder of the grassroots movement Grace Before Meals, Father Leo is staying very busy.  He serves as a parish priest.  Also, he continues to host the web based episodes of Grace Before Meals as well as EWTN’s cooking show, Savoring Our Faith, which is in its third season.  Grace Before Meals continues to see regular growth, such that Father Leo is busy with more speaking events.   Father Leo just finished taping four special programs in Rome which help people experience holy sites.

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