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Grace at Meals

“I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom (of giving thanks to God before and after meals). That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”

--Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 227, 2015

As part of his Every Life Matters initiative, Archbishop Smith is asking us all to heed the invitation of our Holy Father and embrace the custom of praying at mealtime. “To the traditional meal prayers, I'm proposing that we add one line from the Sunday Gospel and one line of prayerful response to it,” says the Archbishop.

We have prepared cards for everyone to use (available at your parish). Before the words of grace, the card offers the Scripture verse at the heart of this Year of Mercy, “Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful,” and gives a prayer in response that we be merciful toward one another. That Scripture verse and prayer can be used throughout the year.

“In addition, I shall tweet out each week (@archbsmith) an alternative Scripture verse for the week's meal prayers, a verse that will be taken from the Sunday Gospel. For those not on Twitter, the verse and prayer will also be sent to parishes for inclusion in the weekly Sunday bulletin.”

The Prayers

Before the meal, begin with a brief excerpt from Scripture:

Leader: “Lord, Jesus we thank you for your Word. You call us to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful” (cf. Luke 6:36).

All: “Help us, Jesus, to share your love and mercy with those in need.”

Together: “Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty.
Through Christ our Lord.

After the meal:

“We give you thanks, Almighty God,
for all your gifts,
who live and reign now and forever.
Amen ”

This Week's Scripture Suggestions

From the Readings for April 23

Leader: Lord Jesus, we thank you for your Word. You said to St. Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29)

All: Open within our hearts, Lord, the eyes of faith, that we may recognize your presence with us.


Leader: Lord Jesus, we thank you for your Word. By his great mercy, our heavenly Father has given birth in us to living hope through your resurrection from the dead. (1Peter 1:3)

All: May that same hope, Lord, protect us from despair and keep us in your peace.