Father Leo Patalinghug, who is both a noted chef and martial arts expert, gave a rousing talk to an audience of more than 150 that included first Eucharist candidates, their parents and guests at the St. Michael the Archangel Regional School auditorium on March 13.
Father Leo spoke of his childhood in Philippine family community, of his learning to cook with his mother, of his family gathering for food and conversation, and his early aspirations to be anything but a priest. Yet his eventual call by God brought all his earlier life experiences to work in ministry. He has had recent and growing success in webcasting, podcasting, TV broadcasts, and book sales of his book “Grace Before Meals.”
Father Leo guided his audience by stating central principles and stances in karate, such as standing at attention and bowing as signs of paying attention to one’s faith and showing respect to one’s parents and teachers. He spoke of true courage exhibited by those who stood courageously both in Biblical times and now for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Director of St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, (Home to 150 seminarians, the second largest in the United States), Father Leo emphasized the reality of Jesus Christ feeding his Church as seen in the Gospels.
Father Leo pointed to Christ’s numerous gatherings with his disciples over a meal, even after the Resurrection. He reminded his audience of Christ’s words to Peter: “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
Father Leo identified the critical Christian need to return to the reality of family life, to home cooking, healthy choices, family time in meals and the absolute necessity of a “Sabbath,” a time of rest and prayer reflection.
He urged the parents to slow down some, and to set aside time for family prayer and reflection.
“Your Mom and Mother Church are correct as usual — you are what you eat physically and spiritually.”