Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 17 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Anthony of Egypt
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Remembering the dead at every meal


B Bernard | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/11/17

An important tradition that pays homage to the faithful departed.

Many families maintain a tradition of invoking God’s blessing upon their food before eating. It is a simple way of thanking God for the bounty he has provided, recognizing his providential hand in our daily care.

It is a Catholic tradition to add to this thanksgiving a short remembrance of the dead. This is traditionally prayed at the conclusion of the meal, though in practice many families recite it after saying the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

While often glossed over, it is an important tradition that recalls those who have gone before us in the sign of faith and who can no longer participate in our meals. This becomes especially powerful after the death of a close family member.

The short prayer recalls the presence of the departed family member and includes them in a spiritual way at the table. In this way, gathering for meals presents an opportunity to not only thank God for gifts given, but also to remember the dead and to make sure their memory survives. It is also a way to pray for the poor souls in purgatory, asking God to shorten their time so that they can embrace the joys of heaven.

In this way, each meal anticipates the heavenly banquet that the liturgy calls the “Wedding Feast of the Lamb,” where we will be united again with the faithful departed for all eternity.


Read more:
Driving home the loneliness of my Dad’s journey


Read more:
6 Other ways of saying grace besides “Bless us, O Lord…”

DeathPrayers for a Particular Need
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.