Sunday 25 July will see the celebration of the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. The theme chosen by the Holy Father for this World Day is “I am with you always” (cf. Mt 28:20) which is a way of expressing the closeness of the Lord and the Church to every older person, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic.
“I am with you always” is also a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share. Not only are grandchildren and young people called upon to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have a mission of evangelisation, proclamation and prayer, encouraging young people in their faith.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, explained that each Diocese and parish is being asked to dedicate one of its Sunday Masses to the celebration of the Day or, to organize Eucharistic celebrations or prayers in hospitals or residences for the elderly on the days before and after 25 July. Several initiatives have also been planned to assist those who have difficulty moving from their homes, including visits from young people, who will bring to them the Pope’s message to the elderly. Another suggestion is to dedicate a special memorial service to the elderly who have died from Covid-19. As Mr Vittorio Scelzo, head of the Dicastery’s section for the pastoral care of the elderly said, we all know many people who left us without the celebration of a proper funeral. Perhaps reading their names and lighting a candle during a memorial service, “could be a precious gesture of reconciliation for every small community”.