Fundraiser sure to be a treat
Leo Pantalinghug is the guest speaker for the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo Foundation dinner, but he may do more than speak.
He may cook or even break dance for his audience.
The annual fundraising dinner begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish hall.
“I think it will be good fun,” Diocese of Pueblo Foundation Chairman Ann Brach said. “We don’t know quite for sure what kind of show he’ll put on. It ought to be interesting.”
“We are super excited,” said Diocese of Pueblo Foundation Executive Director Kathleen Tillman. “His star is on the rise. I think he can relate to families and young adults. We’re fortunate to get him.”
The Diocese of Pueblo Foundation holds two fundraising dinners each year — one in Grand Junction and one in Pueblo. The foundation recently awarded $105,813 in grants to organizations, parishes and seminarian support throughout the Diocese.
Ten of the organizations receiving funds were from the Western Slope.
The foundation provides grants for Catholic parishes and organizations in need as well as provides scholarship money to students attending seminary.
It has awarded Holy Family Catholic School grant money and recently gave Immaculate Heart of Mary a small grant for sound equipment.
Pantalinghug was born in the Philippines and raised in the Baltimore area. He developed a love for cooking while attending seminary at the North American College in Rome. He often was invited to his parishioners’ homes for dinner and would cook for them. Those times provided inspiration for his recently published book, “Grace Before Meals: Recipes for Family Life.”
The book gives parents a resource of practical ideas and real-life approaches to discussing spiritual ideas that impact busy families. The book includes more than 40 healthy recipes.
“His cookbook came out the same time we were looking for a speaker,” Tillman said. “His whole mantra is getting families back at the dinner table again.”
Pantalinghug won a food “throwdown” against world renowned Iron Chef Bobby Flay of the Food Network three weeks ago at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
In addition to his love for cooking, the bilingual priest has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and won a national competition in Arniz, a form of full-contact stick fighting, and is known to break dance at speaking engagements.
Pantalinghug has been a Catholic priest for 10 years and is a faculty member of Mount St. Mary’s University.