Prayers before and after meals?



In many traditional Catholic Prayerbooks, including the Baltimore Catechism, one finds something like the following two prayers::

Grace Before Meals: “Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy Bounty. Amen”.

Grace After Meals: “We give Thee thanks, O Almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who liveth and reigneth, one God forever and ever. Amen

I sometimes see Catholics in public restaurants say grace prior to the meals but don’t believe I have ever noticed them saying prayers following their meals.

Is the Grace After Meals intended as a way of offering up thanks if one happens to forget to say the Grace Before Meals? Or are they normally intended to be recited together, the one prior to the meal and the other following the meal? Thanks!


The later. These or any prayers at meal time are to be said before and after. I used to do this and have fallen away from it (but now I’m going to try to get back into the practice because of your post). I think that is the only reason you haven’t seen it, let’s face it, you probably don’t see a lot of people praying before meals. It’s all a matter of practice and tradition. You might find saying the prayer at the end of the meal more common with monks and nuns in community.


Weekday mornings, my family always said together “thank you Father for our food in Jesus’ name Amen” because breakfast was hectic and that works if you’re just starting, just finishing, or halfway through your bowl of cereal.


Prayers before meals was always said in school before lunch, rarely after lunch. I try to remember to say a silent prayer before lunch but more times than not I forget.

I used to have a co-worker who ALWAYS before and after lunch would sign herself and pray. It’s a great habit to get into, too bad, I never got the hang of it.

I rarely if ever, see anyone else pray out in public like she does. She puts everyone else out to shame. Plus she is one of the nicest people you could ever meet.


I’ve just always prayed before meals. Of course I grew up Lutheran, but now as a Catholic, I still just pray before meals as this is what my boyfriend and his family do.
Me and my boyfriend also pray at restaurants. I don’t see the point of being afraid of people seeing you pray! :smiley:


As a technical matter, this is properly a “blessing”, not “grace”. “Grace” means “thanks”, which we say after the meal.


A great lesson.


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