World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

This Sunday we celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  Established by Pope Francis in 2021 to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday in July (the Sunday closest to the feasts of Saints Joachim & Anne), the theme for this year’s celebration is “In old age they will still bear fruit.” (Psalm 92: 15). Pope Francis’ message emphasizes how grandparents, and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities.

In his message for the second World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis writes:

“Old age is no time to give up and lower the sails, but a season of enduring fruitfulness: a new mission awaits us and bids us look to the future. ‘The special sensibility that those of us who are elderly have for the concerns, thoughts and the affections that make us human should once again become the vocation of many. It would be a sign of our love for the younger generations’.  This would be our own contribution to the revolution of tenderness, a spiritual and non-violent revolution in which I encourage you, dear grandparents and elderly persons, to take an active role.”

He tells us that “Many people are afraid of old age.  They consider it a disease with which any contact is best avoided… 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 honors the elderly!

Let us take time today to celebrate the elders among us.  May we remember them with affection and love not only today but every day!