Catholics/Meal prayer (grace)


QUESTION: I have very easy question (that my stupid brain just can't figure out on its own): Whenever I'm eating alone I say the usual Catholic meal prayer (grace). To me it is a bit strange to say this prayer when I'm eating alone due to the fact that the prayer uses the plural (it mentions us and we). Please explain why I should be using  plural instead of singular even if I'm eating alone. What does Catholic Theology say about this?

Here is the prayer: Bless us Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

ANSWER: First: I am so sorry I have taken so long to answer this question.  I am always on top of questions people ask me.  I never received the email informing me a question was asked.

Second: When you pray as an individual or even with people present, if you are doing so outside of some kind of formal worship service or public formal Liturgy of the Church, you are free to adapt the prayers to your situation.

If you are eating along therefore you do not have to use the plural if you are not comfortable doing so.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: is it more theological sound to say it with the plural?

I don't see why it would be more theologically sound to say it in the plural if you are praying as a single person.  Changing "Bless us O Lord" to "Bless me O Lord" or "Lord I ask you to bless this food that I am about to eat" etc, is not the same thing as changing the "Our Father" to "Our Mother" or making the sign of the cross as "In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, Amen."  

Again--when one prays as an individual or collection of individuals apart from the public worship of the Church one is free to change the words of the prayer to meet the specific situation or circumstances because one is praying as an individual apart from the communal and public official worship of the Church.  

When we are praying simple prayers or private devotions as long as we are not changing the parts of the prayer that hand on the belief or theology of the Church the prayers are theologically sound.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

©2017 All rights reserved.