Saying Grace with Non-Christians Present


If the spouse of a Catholic (whose marriage is blessed in the Church) is non-Christian and his/her parents (non-Christian) are guests for thanksgiving, what is the proper way to say grace?

My thought is that a Catholic should pray grace as a Christian especially since it is his/her own home. However, one must not impose on others to pray as Christians do. So I thought that a short silence before the meal whereby each person can pray according to their own faith would be the right way. Also, if the Catholic makes the sign of the cross and prays silently could this be seen as imposing on others to pray as Christians do?


I would say that you should say Grace however you always do but your non-Catholic family members need only bow their heads while you pray.

As for making the Sign of the Cross you can do this where ever you are. I do this at my Lutheran in-laws home, I do it when eating at McDonald’s as well as at home - doesn’t matter.

Brenda V.


Thank you for the reply. To clarify: they are not Christian.


Sorry, I missed that :D. My advise is the same except when you are in their home, in this case, quietly pray to yourself making a Sign of the Cross.

There is another thread on a similar topic:

Much of what is being discussed here would apply in this situation too.

Brenda V.


I usually start with the sign of the cross and then say, “Bless us oh Lord, for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord amen.” Following this each person at the table specifically thanks God for something they are thankful for and after the last person gives thanks, we make the sign of the cross again.

Well, couldn’t this be viewed in reverse? What I mean is, if non-Christians are present and that presence causes a Christian to change the way inwhich they pray, wouldn’t that be an imposition too?

Well, I can understand the Christian wishing to keep the peace and not to appear as though he/she is imposing his/her faith on others. Therefore, I can see compromising SOME things such as in my case, not expecting others at the table to name something inwhich they are thankful for. However, I’d draw the line if they expect me to remain silent as to my thanking God for the things He’s provided. If they become offended because I am thankful on Thanksgiving, then so be it. As for the spouse of the Christian, he/she should realize by now how the Christian feels about God and respect his/her spouse enough to not be offended if he/she wishes to express his/her thanks to The Almighty for the good things that he/she has been given (which very well may include the spouse and his/her parents as well). God bless.


Hi and thank you for the reply.

Whether I pray silently or aloud I think it is right to be free to pray using the name of Jesus. Since praying aloud to Jesus could be a form of imposing my faith on them, then I will pray silently and still include Jesus. The alternative is to pray aloud to God without specific use of the name of Jesus but I refuse to be denied to pray using Jesus name so I would pray silently. Also, it seems to disrespect God to use His name but for two different beliefs. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I don’t want to imply that to believe otherwise is an acceptable difference (I respect others and their freedom of religion of course).

You see by praying silently, I can still specifically include Jesus.


Yeap :thumbsup: I agree that your prayer doesn’t have to be said aloud and that by saying it silently, you can specifically include Jesus in your prayer and bypass any possible problems with those who do not specifically recognize Christ as God. If you don’t mind me asking, what religion are your spouse and his/her parents? I am assuming Jewish, but of course there are other religions that recognize God without recognizing His Son, Jesus Christ. When you originally posted and used the term “non-Christian,” I assumed you were speaking about people who had no religion. That was my fault and I’m sorry. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!!! :slight_smile:


My children have many non-Catholic and non-Christian friends. When we have them over for a birthday party, I normally preface the meal with a statement like, “We normally pray before meals. If you also pray before meals, you are welcome to do whatever you normally do at home while we say our prayers silently.” It’s interesting to watch-- we cross ourselves and say grace silently, others fold their hands, others cross their arms across their chests, and a few just look at us like they have no clue what’s going on… :slight_smile:

Obviously you’d state things in a slightly less… child-like fashion, since you’re not addressing children, but we don’t feel this is imposing in any fashion.



It’s your house. You can give an invitiation to pray, or just head into “Bless us O Lord”. Or you can do what red Meg suggested. Or you can let your wife lead whatever type of prayer her family says, and you can lead “Bless us O Lord”.


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