On the 3rd June, Pope Francis addressed 52 thousand faithful at the Charismatic Renewal gathering at Rome’s Olympic Stadium: “The elderly are the Church’s wisdom and yet they are cast aside”
“At first I thought Renewal was a samba school,” the Pope joked and the whole stadium roared with laughter. Then he warned: “When someone thinks they are important, that’s when the plague hits.” Finally, he kneeled down as faithful prayed at the end of his speech, asking the Lord to bless him, just as Francis had asked of them to do straight after his election on 13 March 2013, from the central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica.
“Someone is missing here, possibly the most important people: grandparents. They are the guarantors of our faith.” Francis’ words totally threw the organisers of the Charismatic Renewal Convocation (Renewal in the Spirit – RNS), who only expected four people to speak at today’s meeting at the Olympic stadium: a priest, a young boy, a married couple and a disabled person.
“Like good wine, the elderly have freedom given to them by the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said, recalling the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, where he met two elderly people, Simeon and the prophetess Anna. “The elderly are the Church’s wisdom and yet we cast them aside,” the Pope said. That elderly lady, Anna, canonized “gossip” because instead of gossiping, she went around saying that the Saviour had come. Grandmothers and grandfathers are our wisdom and strength.” “May the Lord always give us elderly people who pass onto us the memory and wisdom of the Church and the sense of joy with which Simeon and Anna greeted promises from afar,” Francis said.
He asked the thousands of priests gathered to “be close to the people and to God.” “Lord, look at your people who await the Holy Spirit; look at the young; look at the families; look at children; look at the sick; look at priests; at the consecrated men and women; look at us bishops. Look at everyone and grant us that holy inebriation, the inebriation of the Spirit, which allows us to speak in all languages, the languages of charity, always standing by the side of those brothers and sisters who need us. Teach us not to fight over power, teach us to be humble, to love the Church more than our party, to receive the Spirit, Lord send your Spirit upon us.”