Washington, DC Newsroom, Feb. 26, 2022 / 10:00 a.m. (CNA).
Last Holy Thursday, a New Orleans-area priest decided to go live on Facebook for his local parish community and make resurrection scrolls. Little did he know this would be the start of a bespoke cooking series for the online Catholic community.
In 2021, Father Robert Cooper, pastor of Divine Mercy Catholic Parish in Kenner, Louisiana, launched “Cooking with Father Cooper,” a series of videos where he creates various dishes inspired by feast days and celebrations of the Church – from crisp monstrance waffles to teach kids about the Eucharist, to seasonal sweets like the Mardi Gras must-have King Cake.
With the help of his assistant of 4 years, Lucy, Cooper was not only able to find a new way to connect with his home parish, but he also created a form of online evangelism well suited to younger generations. He spoke with EWTN News every night on February 21, 2022 about the beginnings of the series, as well as his inspirations for creating it. You can watch the interview in the video below.
“Well, during the pandemic, my director of communications Becky Delatte came with me and told me to do something on Facebook Live, something for individuals and our community just to kind of come together around the start of Holy Week,” he said.
Initially, the cooking show was supposed to be a “one-episode show,” she said. However, the positive reception he received from his parish, as well as the opportunity to create a faith-based online community around the series, led him to decide to continue cooking the delicious meals online.
“From there it became a big hit, and we kept doing the episodes in order to teach faith,” he explained. You can check out the videos here.
Clearly, Cooper still has plenty of ideas in store – as many of the ideas in his videos seem to draw from the rich symbolic tradition of the Catholic Church. Being from New Orleans probably didn’t hurt either, as the city is known for its proud culinary culture.
“Born and raised here in New Orleans, I come from a family where the three Fs were important, and that would be faith, family, and food,” Cooper explained.
“And so because of that, we put those three Fs together…to bring the Bible to life, to bring the stories of Christ to life, [and] bring to life the teachings of the Church and feast days.
Watching some of the episodes online, it becomes clear that Cooper has managed to craft a fourth F for the show – fun!
As for what’s next, Cooper can’t wait to share a special King Cake recipe on his next episode, just in time for the Mardi Gras celebrations to welcome the next season of Lent. While some may be disappointed to know that there are no plans for a formal cookbook, all of its recipes are available for free on the series’ official Pinterest page.