The Te Deum is an ancient (fourth century) hymn of praise traditionally sung during Easter. During your family prayer time or before a meal, try praying it slowly and meditatively with your older kids and teens.
This is an expanded version of the entry in The Catholic Family Book of Prayers.
You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.
Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name for ever.
Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
for we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope:
and we shall never hope in vain.
Ways to Pray
Try this: Print out enough copies for each person in your family of reading age, and have each person read one line in turn.
If your family is musical, try singing the Te Deum. Here’s one musical option:
And here’s another:
About the prayer
Here’s a little background on the Te Deum, courtesy of Wikipedia:
The Te Deum (also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church) is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered as “Thee, O God, we praise.”
Authorship is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387. It has also been ascribed to Saint Hilary, but The Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient and Modern says “it is now accredited to Nicetas, bishop of Remesiana; (4th century).”
The petitions at the end of the hymn (beginning Salvum fac populum tuum) are a selection of verses from the book of Psalms, appended subsequently to the original hymn.
The hymn follows the outline of the Apostles’ Creed, mixing a poetic vision of the heavenly liturgy with its declaration of faith. Calling on the name of God immediately, the hymn proceeds to name all those who praise and venerate God, from the hierarchy of heavenly creatures to those Christian faithful already in heaven to the Church spread throughout the world. The hymn then returns to its credal formula, naming Christ and recalling his birth, suffering and death, his resurrection and glorification. At this point the hymn turns to the subjects declaiming the praise, both the universal Church and the singer in particular, asking for mercy on past sins, protection from future sin, and the hoped-for reunification with the elect.
The hymn was chanted jubilantly by the people of Orléans after the successful Siege of Orléans, during the Hundred Years’ War, when St. Joan of Arc and the French army entered the town.
Read a version of the Te Deum with a responsorial ending at EWTN