This weekend the Church throughout the world celebrates the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly recently instituted by our Holy Father Pope Francis. The annual World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will take place each year on the fourth Sunday of July which is near the Feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus.
In his Message on this occasion, Pope Francis tells us that the vocation of grandparents and the elderly is to “help us better understand that our vocation is to preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the young, and to care for the little ones.” As he writes, “It makes no difference how old you are, whether you still work or not, whether you are alone or have a family, whether you became a grandmother or grandfather at a young age or later, whether you are still independent or need assistance. Because there is no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to your grandchildren. You just need to set out and undertake something new.”
Pope Francis tells us that grandparents and the elderly can help build the world of tomorrow and invites them to set up the following three pillars to support this new edifice, namely, dreams, memory, and prayer. Regarding dreams, he tells them: “You need to show that it is possible to emerge renewed from an experience of hardship.” Regarding memory, he writes that “Keeping memory alive is a true mission for every elderly person: keeping memory alive and sharing it with others.” Regarding prayer, he tells them: “your intercession for the world and for the Church has great value: it inspires in everyone the serene trust that we will soon come to shore.”
This weekend let us pray for all grandparents and elderly, that Almighty God will bless them with long life, happiness, and health, and that they always will be living signs of His presence to their children and grandchildren.