More than 300 pilgrims attended the inaugural Grandparents Pilgrimage in Carfin Grotto in Scotland on Sunday (Aug 21st).  The Chief Celebrant, recently retired Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Peter Moran, spoke about the vocation of Grandparents and their value in society and the church. Bishop Moran said that Grandparents are like Eliakim in the first reading from Isaiah: “a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honour for his family.”

The founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, Catherine Wiley, urged people to join the association.  Speaking in the wake of the recent riots in England, Ms Wiley urged people to support the faith system.  “When the Church is weakened, society is weakened.  We have a duty to build up the Church.  Grandparents have no agenda.  They were never as important as they are today.  The CGA is a unifying force for Grandparents with Pilgrimages in Ireland, England, Scotland, America, Germany, Australia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Cambodia.  When we pray as Grandparents we can never lose.  Faith can never be lost as long as we pray.  We need to pray more than ever to ensure that moral values are kept at the centre of society.”    

Among the Children’s Prayers for Grandparents brought to the altar during the Offertory were prayers from St Joseph’s Primary School, Queen’s Cross, Aberdeen.

CGA President, Máire Printer, a native of Glasgow and sister of Bishop Moran, said she was delighted with the turn-out.  “It was a wonderful day.  We all really enjoyed the prayerful atmosphere.  The music from the Motherwell Diocesan Choir and Mr John Pitcathley was simply divine!”

Mrs Printer paid tribute to the Carfin Grotto Parish Priest, Fr Francis McGachey, local organisers Una and John Delaney, Cathy McCrossan and John Bain.  She said that plans are underway to organise another Grandparents Pilgrimage for next year and to make the date permanent in the pilgrimage calendar.    

Bishop Moran was joined by Deacon Jim Aitken and Fr Benny MacHale from Ireland, who will be the homilist at the Grandparents Pilgrimage in Knock on September 11th, where upwards of 15,000 pilgrims are expected.  Fr McGachey acted as Master of Ceremonies.