Rome (Italy). On 24 July 2022, the 2nd World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is celebrated, wanted by Pope Francis in close proximity to the anniversary of Saints Joachim and Anna, the grandparents of Jesus. During the year, the Holy Father by dedicating good number of Catecheses during the Wednesday Audiences to the elderly, frequently expressed his sensitivity towards the care of the elderly, and dialogue between the generations.
“ In old age they will still bear fruit “ (Ps 92:15) is the theme chosen for this year by the Pope, who in the Message for Day underlines how grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift, both for society and for ecclesial communities. In the first few lines, he describes old age as “a season that is not easy to understand,” from which the ‘throwaway culture’ tends to distance itself, while more developed societies invest a lot in economic terms, but do not help to interpret it. “They offer plans of assistance, but not projects of existence.”
Psalm 92 instead invites us to continue to hope, to trust in the Lord to find strength and multiply praise. “Aging is not a condemnation, but a blessing!” Pope Francis therefore encourages us to look at old age not as a useless time “in which to step aside by pulling the oars in the boat, but a season in which to still bear fruit” and encourages the elderly to become protagonists of the revolution of tenderness, a spiritual and disarmed revolution.
“So, the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is an opportunity to say once again with joy, that the Church wants to celebrate together with those whom the Lord, as the Bible says, has ‘sated with days’. Let’s celebrate it together!”
The Pope does not only address the elderly, but all Dioceses and Communities, proposing concrete gestures:
“I invite you to announce this Day in your parishes and communities; to visit the loneliest elderly people at home or in the residences where they are guests. Let’s make sure that no one lives this day in solitude. Having someone to wait for can change the orientation of the days of those who no longer expect anything good from the future; and from a first meeting a new friendship can be born. Visiting the elderly who are alone is a work of mercy of our time!”
In this regard, the Apostolic Penitentiary grants the Plenary Indulgence to all those who, in the days immediately preceding or following July 24, will visit an elderly person who is alone and to all the elderly who will participate in the liturgies celebrated on the occasion of the Day.
Precisely on 24 July, the Pope will begin the apostolico journey in Canada, during which a visit to the Saint Anne Sanctuary is scheduled on 26 July, the day of the Feast, and a meeting with young and elderly in an elementary school in Iqaluit, on 29 July.
In the Pope’s Video of the month of July, the Holy Father invites us to pray “for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people, so that their experience and wisdom will help the youngest to look to the future with hope and responsibility”.