Urging people everywhere to reach out to older generations, Pope Francis celebrated the Roman Catholic Church’s first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly July 25.
On January 31, Pope Francis announced World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly as an annual day to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July, on or near the yearly July 26 feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
In declaring the day, he said that the elderly “remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between the different generation, to pass on to the young the experience of life.”
This was also the theme of the homily Pope Francis prepared for the occasion, which was read July 25 by H.E. Msgr. Rino Fisichella.
“I invite you to celebrate this Day in every community and to visit grandparents and the elderly, those who are most alone, to take to them my message, inspired by Jesus’ promise: ‘I am with you every day’.”
He affirmed the value of the elderly and the mutual need of the elderly and the young for each other: “I ask the Lord that this feast may help those of us who are older to respond to His call in this season of life, and show society the value of the presence of grandparents and the elderly, especially in this throwaway culture… Grandparents have the right to dream by looking at young people, and young people have the right to the courage of prophecy, drawing on their lifeblood from their grandparents.”
The Pope, who had planned to lead the Mass of the two Saints, was unable to do so because of major surgery just three weeks earlier, but waved to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square from the window of his studio.
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