Catholic Grandparents Association Looks to St. Joachim, St. Anne as Role Models

Maria R. Bastone
LIVING FAITH—Catherine and Stewart Wiley smile during World Marriage Day at St. Malachy’s Church in Manhattan. Mrs. Wiley is founder of the international Catholic Grandparents Association that now includes members from New York.

Most people rarely think about the fact that Jesus had grandparents. Yet by long tradition, Mary’s father and mother are known and honored as St. Joachim and St. Anne.

It is on these two figures that the Catholic Grandparents Association focuses for role models.

In a letter to the founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, Cardinal Dolan said, “I commend your diligence and work in fostering this program that strives to support grandparents in the spirit of St. Joachim and St. Anne.”

He goes on to say, “Passing on our faith to future generations is truly a responsibility that we all need to embrace, and grandparents are critical to this effort.”

On World Marriage Day Feb. 9, at St. Malachy’s Church in Manhattan, the longest-married couples in the archdiocese were honored. Among those in attendance were members of the Catholic Grandparents Association.

Catherine Wiley accompanied her husband Stewart. She told CNY, “Grandparents are the ones holding the families together, which is not easy in this day and age.”

The Wileys have been married for 46 years; they have four children and 10 grandchildren. Mrs. Wiley noted that even in her family, it is not always easy. She said, “Some of my own grandchildren are not baptized,” and some family members “are falling away from the faith.”

However, Mrs. Wiley is hopeful and optimistic about the future. She said, “The reason we set up the association was to help grandparents. There is a vital contribution they make to the Church, the family and society.”

She noted the importance of the vocation of grandparents. “They really need this,” she said, referring to the organization which supports the work of grandparents in passing on the faith and keeping prayer at the heart of the family.

The Catholic Grandparents Association is worldwide, with members from countries including Ireland, England, the Philippines and Australia, among others.

Members from New York first gathered together on World Marriage Day.