Catholic Grandparents Association praised by Cardinal Sean Brady

Cardinal Brady comments for the Irish Catholic Newspaper on the Catholic Grandparents Association: 

I had the pleasure of launching the Catholic Grandparents Association in Knock on the occasion of the National Grandparents Pilgrimage there in September 2009. I welcome the work that the Catholic Grandparents Association is doing for grandparents – supporting them, encouraging them in their efforts to help to pass on the faith to their grandchildren.  The Catholic Grandparents Association is recognising the wisdom that grandparents have to offer to everybody and the fact that grandparents are so often the critical link between the promise of the future and the wisdom of the past.  They often provide invaluable support to the parents in the task of educating their children in the faith.

I attended the talk entitled Will Our Grandchildren be Catholic given by Mrs Wiley, Mrs Printer and Father Benny McHale at the Congress in the RDS on 12 June.  The talk was enthusiastically received because it struck a chord with so many of the audience. It was brilliantly delivered by people who care passionately about the authentic well-being of young people in the country today.

On the importance of Grandparents to the Irish Church today

The role of grandparents in Irish families has always been cherished in a particular way. It is one of the things which made our society strong, especially in the most challenging economic times in our history. It has to be acknowledged that today’s generation of grandparents laid the foundation for the society of today.  Over the years they have probably contributed more in working hours and the percentage of their wages paid in tax than ever before. It also has to be acknowledged that it is their time and money which is now holding many families in this country together as they struggle with the consequences of the global economic crisis. The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – or more accurately of ‘Grandma and Grandad’ – were critical to the success of the Celtic Tiger.

As for their contribution to the Irish Church. I salute with gratitude the Christian vocation of grandparents. Being a grandparent is how many are living out the call of their baptism. Grandparents, by their many acts of support and kindness towards their children and grandchildren, are exercising their royal priesthood.

By their example of being faithful to God and to his Church grandparents are a witness, a prophetic witness, in the lives of their children and grandchildren. By their willingness to so often put their own needs and financial security aside for the sake of the needs of their children and grandchildren, grandparents are a witness to the selfless love of Christ.

By teaching their children and grandchildren to pray – as grandparents so often do– they give them the most precious lesson they will ever learn.  By teaching them to hope in a higher power and a greater love, grandparents protect them from the deadly danger of despair.

I believe Mary our Mother will help grandparents in their task. I believe Jesus her Son will help them.  I believe that Jesus and his Mother rejoice in every effort that grandparents make to love and care for their children and grandchildren. I believe they look to grandparents in a particular way to pass the light of their faith and love to the next generation of young Irish men and women.

I would like to see a branch of the Catholic Grandparents Association in every parish in Ireland.  The Association came to Ireland from the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk in England.  The National Grandparents Pilgrimage to a shrine of Our lady is now a feature of the life in a large number of countries.  The Association is rightly linked to the lives of St. Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary and grandparents of the Lord Jesus.

I believe that the Association has great potential to play an important role in the New Evangelisation, that is, in the New Announcing of the Good News in our day.  Grandparents have the experience, the love and the interest. They have a lot to offer.  Of course they must always respect the primary role of parents in all that concerns their children.