Welcome back to “The Clergy Speaks”, a recurring feature here at The Catholic Book Blogger. “The Clergy Speaks” is a column focusing on one question I have asked various members of the clergy. That question is: What five books would you recommend as must-reads for Catholics today? I left the responses open to current or classic books with the only restriction being that the Bible and the Catechism could not be used as they are a given. This week we welcome Father Leo Patalinghug.
Fr. Leo Patalinghug is a priest member of a community of consecrated life, Voluntas Dei (Latin phrase that means ‘The Will of God’). This community is a Secular Institute of Pontifical Rite. He is the Founder, Host, and Director of Grace Before Meals, an international apostolate to help strengthen families and relationship through God’s gift of a family meal. He is also establishing a non-profit organization called “The Table Foundation” with the mission to elevate culture and family life, one meal at a time. Along with his priestly duties, Fr. Leo is the host for the TV Show Savoring our Faith on EWTN, Co-Host for the radio show Entertaining Truth on Sirius XM Radio, bestselling author, contributor for newspaper and magazines, and rated as one of the best speakers for the New Evangelization. Fr. Leo has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, EWTN, and even the Food Network, where Fr. Leo defeated a world famous chef in a cooking competition called, “Throw Down! with Bobby Flay.” His message combines faithful Catholic theology presented in a way that everyone can understand and appreciate. Using his unique background as a chef, a 3rd degree Black Belt Martial Arts Teacher, and former award winning choreographer for a break dancing group, Fr. Leo’s presentations, retreats, parish missions, and keynote talks have brought diverse audiences closer to the Lord’s Table.
Here are his five must read books:
(1) Les Miserables(Victor Hugo) It’s a fantastic intertwined story of forgiveness and redemption, while developing compassion for human struggles, rekindling the joy of life-giving love, and the gives a stern warning to avoid becoming a modern day pharisee.
(2) In This House of Brede(Rumer Godden) It speaks about the dimension of a religious vocation, in particular, for women’s religious vocations – an unfortunately waning group. Beautifully written, this book makes me ever grateful for Mothers, Spiritual Motherhood and Mother Church.
(3) The Priest Is Not His Own (Fulton Sheen) A classic orator and expert communicator, the Venerable Fulton Sheen gives sound reason for priestly piety but in a dynamic way. It’s a touching tribute for a man who’s style of priesthood was so much more advanced, prophetic really, in the field of evangelization. A much needed saint whose words (and style of delivery) are needed now!
(4) Introduction to the Devout Life (St. Francis DeSales): This was one of the first books I read when I started discerning a deeper prayer life and the possible vocation to the priesthood. It helps a person to see how they are loved by God, and the gentle reminders of these short chapters, crafted by a Doctor of the Church, are gems for practical meditation and daily prayer.
(5) Salt: A World History (Mark Kurlansky): As the “Cooking Priest” of the worldwide apostolate, www.gracebeforemeals.com, I combine food and faith. After reading this secular book that details the fascinating history of salt – it’s origins, complex drama and the human need for it – I actually discovered even greater spiritual insight about why Jesus calls us to be “Salt of the Earth and Light of the World.” If we can read this book and then actually “pray about it” we may find ourselves seeing how “salt” can be an effective ingredient for evangelization.