Why do Catholics recite the phrase "Thanks be to God" during Mass?

They say this many times too. After the priest speaks, the congregation follows in unison, "Thanks be to God."

  • Episcopalians do the same, FYI Oct 1, 2013 at 1:08
  • Methodists too but its usually in response to a bible reading. The reader says "The Word of God for the people of God" and the congregation responds "Thanks be to God" Oct 1, 2013 at 11:58
  • I wish someone would provide an historical reference to the etymology of this phrase. I use TBTG (acronym for Thanks be to God) often in social media and correspondence. Why? Because back in the 1970s I got REALLY SICK of "PTL" and all it's annoying extensions and variations! It's just been in the past few months that I've been using TBTG. I have avoided PTL for decades!
    – G-Hag.56
    Mar 18, 2017 at 18:16
  • @G-Hag.56: It is a set phrase within the context of Latin liturgy, as MetaEd mentions below. In the context of the liturgy of Apostolic Churches, both the sayings of the priest and the responses from the congregation are fixed from ancient custom, lost in the mists of antiquity. Note that Gratias is also the source of "Grace" in "saying Grace," as well as being a counterpart of εὐχαριστία "thanksgiving," which is used for the name of the Sacrament celebrated in Mass.
    – Wtrmute
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


It is the English translation of Deo Gratias, which is repeated “in thanksgiving for the graces received at Mass” (Catholic Encyclopedia).


"Thanks be to God" is the congregational response given after a reading from the Bible in the Catholic mass. Christians give thanks to God for revealing Himself to us through His Word.

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