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Father Leo
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About Father Leo

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


Father Leo: A Happy Home for the Holidays

By The 700 Club When Christ is the center of the celebration of Advent and Christmas, everything else about this season and this holy day falls into place.  Advent season begins four Sundays before Christmas.  Father Leo says Advent is a time of patience, waiting, and prayer, and it’s good to prepare for Christmas by not rushing Advent. 

By observing the Advent season at home and church, there will be a firm foundation families will have to protect the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Christ the Savior.  Celebrating Advent creates family time in the weeks before Christmas and helps strengthen the ability to resist the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 

During the Advent season, weekly we can make our homes places to celebrate the true spirit of the season.  It's about the greatest Gift imaginable – the Gift is not a what, but a Who.  This season shows us that receiving and giving gifts is not an end in itself, but a representation of God’s unmatchable Gift to us. 

Advent also reflects on the genealogy of Jesus, the Nativity, and all of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.  The scripture Father Leo references is : “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3-5 NKJV)

The freedom to celebrate the true heart of Christmas releases you from the big Christmas fanfare.  The emphasis will be on giving instead of getting.  Father Leo suggests that sometime during the Christmas season, read the Christmas story with loved ones and come together and adore Christ the Savior. 

The holidays can be an especially lonely time for many people.  Father Leo says many people who work in ministry know that suicide rates increase during this time.  It is important for people to come together and celebrate.  This is a time of year where people should not be alone.  There should be a sense of community, celebration, and joy.

The Bible passage Father Leo shares for Christmas is: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  (John 3:16-17 NKJV)

Get the Recipes!

Father Leo's Festive Holiday Feast

In The Green Room

Father Leo Discusses How to Avoid a Blue Christmas

About Father Leo

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 his other talents with his  presentations 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. 

In November 2008, Father Leo received an e-mail from the Food Network.  It said that someone at the network saw a Grace Before Meals episode on the Web, and the Food Network was interested in featuring him and Grace Before Meals on a show about cooking shows on the Internet.  The network wanted him to showcase his “Fusion Fajitas,” which is like the traditional South American dish that includes delicious meats and grilled vegetables wrapped in either a corn or wheat tortilla. 

In June 2009, shooting began.  Father Leo was busy cooking and thought it was his time to cook and share the Grace Before Meals message.  Then, out of the crowd came Flay.   Father Leo was truly surprised, but he was not afraid and had to act by faith, not by “sight.”  It was an exciting showdown in which Father Leo came out victorious.

Shortly after the Throwdown broadcast on September 9, 2009, the Grace Before Meals website received over two million hits.

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