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Ask the Register: are we supposed to pray that?

Q. The other day we had our parish priest over for supper. At the end of the meal he prayed a prayer that he called Thanksgiving after Meals. I never heard of it. Are we supposed to pray that after every meal?

A. In recognizing that every good thing that we have comes from the Lord it is very appropriate to pray the Prayer of Thanksgiving after Meals when we finish eating.

There is no necessarily “official version.” Actually there are several variations of the same basic prayer. The version that I pray is this:
We return You thanks Almighty God for these and all Thy benefits which we have received from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy God rest in peace. Amen.

I believe it is excellent Catholic practice to pray not only ‘Grace before Meals,’ but also the prayer of thanksgiving when we finish in recognition of and in thanksgiving to Almighty God for everything that we have received. It is a great way to teach these prayers to our children as a means of always giving thanks to the Lord.

While we are talking about praying at meal time, another great practice that some families practice is the praying of the Angelus. The Angelus is a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation of Jesus and including the Hail Mary, said at morning, noon, and sunset.

Jean-François Millet [Public domain]

The Angelus has been memorialized and made famous in the French painter Jean-François Millet oil painting The Angelus (L’Angélus) completed between 1857 and 1859. The painting—of which reproductions adorn many homes—depicts two peasant farmers bowing their heads in a field over a basket of potatoes to say the prayer, the Angelus, that together with the ringing of the bell from the church on the horizon marks the end of a day’s work. The Angelus can be said before any of the day’s meals. Usually one person leads the prayer (V.), and if others are present they respond (R.) It goes like this:

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, etc…...

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to Your Word.
Hail Mary, full of grace, etc…...

V. And the Word was made flesh,
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, full of grace, etc….

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord, Your Grace into our hearts; that as we have known the incarnation of Christ,
your Son by the message of an angel, so by His passion and cross we may be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
Through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thanks for the question and thanks too for inviting your parish priest into your home. All of us priests enjoy a good meal and this gives us a chance to get to know our parishioners better. So, if you wish, invite your priest to your home. And do not feel as though your house needs to be spic and span for Father. I assure you, he doesn’t mind.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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