Filipino cooking priest whips up ‘soul’ food for the faithful
SAN FRANCISCO – A 45-year-old Filipino priest in Baltimore, Maryland, was recently profiled by Catholic News Service for ministering to the faithful with his cooking.
For Father Leo Patalinghug, also known as the “Cooking Priest,” faith and food go hand in hand. “The idea of food in faith is implicit in our Scriptures. It’s implicit in our liturgical calendar,” he told CNS, adding that it’s obviously a key component of the Mass.
Patalinghug calls his apostolate “Grace Before Meals,” which aims” to bring families to the dinner table and bring God to the table.” He has written three books, including “Grace Before Meals Cookbook,” and is working on two more.
Patalinghug does a cooking show called “Savoring our Faith” on the Eternal Word Television Network, travels across the country giving parish workshops, which are always fully booked.
His speaking engagements are often about the need for families to celebrate not just Catholic feast days, but also everyday meals together. He says part of his ministry is helping people see they can and should eat well and eat together.
The cooking priest, CNS says, has tapped into Americans’ love affair with cooking, fueled by the likes of Food Network, where seven years ago Patalinghug beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a steak fajita cook-off on “Throwdown! With Bobby Flay.”
Patalinghug admits his work is not a traditional ministry, but he told CNS, it is meeting people where they are, just as Jesus sent his disciples out and told them to “eat what is set before you.”
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