Karen Turn-bull of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish believes her grandchildren are blessings from God, and she is serious and conscientious about her grandparenting vocation.
“They are the light of our lives,” said Turnbull about her two grand-children Noelle Turnbull, 7, and Brooke Turnbull, 17 months.
When asked what she hopes to pass along to her grandchildren, Turnbull quickly responded, “The gift of my faith. I want to be a good role model for them.”
The Diocese of Palm Beach will pay tribute to grandparents like Karen Turnbull and her husband, Deacon Bruce Turnbull, Oct. 20 during the annual “Grandparents Pilgrimage Mass” at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito is main celebrant for the Mass that will include special mu-sic and prayer, and a procession with children. Children are asked to write prayers for their grandparents, which will be placed on the altar during celebrations. A reception will follow Mass.
“We celebrate the role of grand-parents. Grandparents take children to Mass. They teach grand-children prayers and read them Bible stories. They are role models,” said Janice Petersen-Minshew, event coordinator, who heads up the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.
Petersen-Minshew said grand-parents pass along religious and human values through involvement, relationships and friend-ships. She explained the diocesan Grandparents Pilgrimage Mass is a time for families to come together in prayer, celebration and love. The celebration can also be a time when parents help children become aware of the value of grandparents and the deep wisdom and guidance they can offer. Grandparents also have the opportunity to show love for their children’s children by joining them in prayer and a day of companionship.
“My grandchildren are a blessing from God,” said Jim Berry of St. Mark Parish in Boynton Beach, who has four aged 5, 12, 14 and 17. “They love you unconditionally and you don’t have to pay their allowance,” he said with a laugh. “They cheer you up. There is nothing like a grandchild.”
Catherine Wiley, founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, which is dedicated to recognizing grandparents and the valuable vocation of grandparenting, will offer a presentation. Wiley, who lives most of the year in Europe, is a part-time resident of Florida who attends Ascension and St. Joan of Arc parishes in Boca Raton. She brought the idea of an event to recognize grandparents to the Diocese of Palm Beach four years ago after establishing similar events in Ireland and England that continue today. The Grandparents Pilgrimage Mass is the first American pilgrimage Mass, setting the stage for other gatherings around the country.
“I think it is wonderful that our diocese chooses to celebrate grandparents,” said Berry. “We love our children, but there is nothing like grandchildren. The influence of a grandparent in the life of a child is nothing short of amazing.”