On the occasion of the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which the Church celebrates this Sunday, July 24, a Mass was celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The theme of this II World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is “In old age they will continue to bear fruit” (Ps 92.15).
According to the organizers of this World Day, with the chosen theme the Pope wanted to “emphasize that grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities.”
Since Pope Francis is making his apostolic journey to Canada, the Eucharist in the Vatican was celebrated by the Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis.
In his homily, the Cardinal invited to approach the elderly so that “no one lives in solitude”.
From Donatis: #giovani, Dio attende che bussiate alla porta degli #anziani. Facciamo in modo che nessuno viva nella solitudine. Bussate and insist! An anziano walks piano… ma insistete, come nella preghiera, perché vi offrano i doni della loro #vecchiaia.#NonnieAnziani pic.twitter.com/RvXHSGuEV0
– Laity Family Life (@LaityFamilyLife) July 24, 2022
Pope Francis instituted the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in January 2021 and defined that it be celebrated throughout the Church on the fourth Sunday of July, “close to the commemoration of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.” which is July 26.
On that occasion, the Holy Father explained that the objective of this World Day is to promote the meeting between generations, of grandchildren with grandparents and grandparents with grandchildren, to “guard the roots and pass them on.”
For its part, the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life prepared a pastoral kit with instructions for the celebration of the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in each diocese, parish and ecclesial community.
This pastoral subsidy is made up of the message that the Holy Father published for the occasion, the official prayer and the Pope’s Wednesday catecheses on old age. These texts are accompanied by some pastoral and liturgical suggestions.
Also, the Apostolic Penitentiary has granted the Plenary Indulgence to all the elderly who participate in the liturgies celebrated on the occasion of the Day, and to all those who in the days immediately before or after the Day visit an elderly person who is alone. The visit, in fact, writes Pope Francis in the message for the Day, “is a work of mercy for our time!”
This pastoral kit was sent to all Episcopal Conferences to help put into practice the Holy Father’s invitation to celebrate the Day in all dioceses, parishes and ecclesial communities, but also to offer pastoral tools to lay the foundations for attention to the seniors who look to the future.
Along these lines, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, said that “attention to grandparents and the elderly cannot be something extraordinary, because their presence is not exceptional, but a fact established in our societies. The Holy Father invites us to become aware of its relevance in the life of our countries and communities and to do so not in an episodic way, but structurally. In other words, it is not about pursuing an emergency, but about laying the foundations for a long-term ministry that commits us for decades”.