Media and Communications Office
With Alight Fiesta upon us, Melbourne Catholic spoke to the ‘cooking priest’ himself, Fr Leo Patalinghug about his ministry and what the key ingredients are for ‘providing a feast’ to the flock.
Fr Leo has been invited to present at the Alight Fiesta in light of his unique style of evangelisation which seeks to ‘bring people around the dinner table’. His work is extensive with his ministry, aptly named ‘Plating Grace ministry’ reaching across the USA and other parts of the world.
‘I’m just trying to inspire people, feeding them the faith but making it what I call bite sizable,’ he explains.
Fr Leo began his work as a parish priest who would often receive invitations to family homes for meals. From here his background and passion for all things culinary was ignited, transforming into an international movement with the usage of humour and delicious food.
Through his ministry, Fr Leo addresses the importance of communication over a meal and the often lost art of feeding loved ones.
‘You know, when you feed someone, you love that person,’ he says.
‘When you spend time with that person, you love that person. When you talk with each other, while you're sharing a meal, you love that person. When you serve one another, you love that person. So the meal is simply the experience that communicates love,’ he explains.
The lively priest suggests however that the busier lifestyle of today’s society isn’t necessarily about daily meals but regular meals with one another.
‘And there's a big difference between daily and regular. Regular means intentional,’ he explains.
‘It's impossible to try to guilt somebody into having a regular meal. It's not helpful to anyone, but to encourage intentionally coming together. So we really are just simply trying to encourage what humans are supposed to do.’
In his ministry, Fr Leo has spoken about the apathy Catholics can feel at times in attending regular mass. He has spoken about the importance in coming to mass ‘hungry’ for the message of God and speaks about what helps him stay grounded in his appetite for the Gospel.
‘Humility is the virtue that keeps me motivated to return to mass,’ says Fr Leo.
‘Even though I've heard these readings before, even though I've said these prayers before, if I don't have a humble heart, I'm going to believe the lies of the devil, that these prayers and these readings don't matter,’ he explains.
‘The devil is going to say, you know what, these readings haven't changed, but the devil doesn't realise that I've changed and if I'm humble enough to admit that I've changed these readings and these prayers and this repetitious liturgy is going to help me in the moment that I am in now. And in other words, humility is what's missing in our world.’
And Fr Leo’s thoughts on inviting those who are not yet hungry to the Lord’s table?
‘Well, I think the efforts of the Archdiocese of Melbourne is significant. It's because they're trying to create a sense of celebration. When people think of the Catholic Church, they automatically think of boring, repetitious, praying all the time when in fact we really are celebrating. So I think one of the ways we whet appetites is to let them know we're not boring by celebrating,’ he says.
‘You're not going to be here at home, you're going to experience a celebration in my presentation. You're not just going to hear some guy talking at you. You're going to see what priests are supposed to be doing, providing a feast for their flock. That's what will bring people to the church. Good food, body, mind, and soul.’
Fr Leo Patalinghug will be presenting at the Alight Family
Fiesta, held by the Life,
Marriage and Family Office at St Bede’s College, Mentone on
Saturday 21 September. Registrations close Sunday 15th September. Book now to see Fr
Leo in action.
Other events across the Archdiocese
featuring Fr Leo include:Catholic Man Breakfast Series: www.trybooking.com/518418,
High Tea for Women: www.trybooking.com/BEOUJ and Great Date