Media Release: Tuesday 10 May 2022 – Immediate
Catholic Grandparents Association welcomes the Message of Pope Francis for the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
The Vatican has today released Pope Francis’ message for the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated on 24 July on the theme ‘In old age they will still bear fruit’ (Ps 92:15).
Welcoming the message, Catherine Wiley, Founder of the Catholic Grandparents’ Association said, “We are overjoyed to read the wonderful message that the Holy Father has offered to us for this year’s World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in which he is reminding us of the importance of us persevering in hope and of our great power to transform the world through prayer and a revolution of tenderness.
“I have always believed that Pope Francis really gets us Grandparents! He had a really close bond with his own Grandparents and he speaks of them often in his catechesis. He understands the importance of us Grandparents carving out a role for ourselves that is meaningful for us and for those around us.
I am so encouraged to read his message for this year’s great celebration for the World Day. It will strike at the heart of Grandparents across the world especially his comments about the ageing process when he said,
‘Many people are afraid of old age. They consider it a sort of disease with which any contact is best avoided. The elderly, they think, are none of their concern and should be set apart, perhaps in homes or places where they can be cared for, lest we have to deal with their problems. This is the mindset of the “throw-away culture”, which leads us to think that we are somehow different from the poor and vulnerable in our midst, untouched by their frailties and separated from “them” and their troubles. The Scriptures see things differently. A long life – so the Bible teaches – is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance. Blessed is the house where an older person lives! Blessed is the family that honours the elderly!’
“Blessed indeed is the home and the family that welcomes Grandparents and Elders! Blessed also is the home where elderly Grandparents and family members care for each other at all ages and stages of life.
Ms Wiley continued, “It is especially moving to read the concern Pope Francis has for those caught up in war and conflict. He said,
‘Our grandparents held us in their arms and carried us on their knees; now is the time for us to carry on our own knees – with practical assistance or with prayer alone – not only our own grandchildren but also the many frightened grandchildren whom we have not yet met and who may be fleeing from war or suffering its effects. Let us hold in our hearts – like Saint Joseph, who was a loving and attentive father – the little ones of Ukraine, of Afghanistan, of South Sudan.’
Ms Wiley concluded, “I always believe that when Pope Francis speaks to us Grandparents and Elders he does so with great love and respect. Gifting us this World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is an act of love as it has enshrined the role of Grandparents and Elders in our Church for generations to come. We are truly blessed!”
“If the Holy Father ‘gets us’ Grandparents then we certainly understand where he is coming from when he sets us challenges and we will respond as poets of prayer, as sentinels of spirituality and wisdom and as agents of peace in our very troubled world. We will also continue to pray for Pope Francis, through the intercession of Saint Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary and Grandparents of Jesus.”
Notes to editors:
- The Catholic Grandparents Association was founded by Catherine Wiley, a grandmother of 10 from the West of Ireland, in 2001.
- The Mission of the CGA is to help Grandparents to pass on the faith and to keep prayer at the heart of family life.
- The CGA is a private institute of the faithful and a registered charity with ministries in more than 60 countries.
- The CGA was instrumental in the institution by Pope Francis of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
- See www.catholicgrandparentsassociation.org for more information and resources for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
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