Bishop Denis Nulty, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and the Family, is inviting parishes to reach out to grandparents and the elderly on this the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated around the world next Sunday 24 July.
Bishop Nulty said, “Grandparents and the elderly need to know they are valued and cherished by us – in our families, in our parishes and by the wider society. The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly offers us a new opportunity to celebrate them and to let them know how much they mean to us. We need them. They have much to offer us and we have much to learn from them.
“Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly very much makes this point. He encourages the elderly to persevere in hope, to embrace the power they have to transform the world through prayer and a revolution of tenderness.
“The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year’s celebration is from the Psalms ‘In old age they still bring forth fruit’ (Ps 92:14). Pope Francis says that old age is no time to give up and lower the sails, but a season of enduring fruitfulness in which a new mission awaits us.”
Bishop Nulty continued, “I am very encouraged by Pope Francis’ words as I look around our Church and see the long and faithful service offered by our older priests and religious and the decades long commitment of so many lay faithful to our parishes. Grandparents and the elderly are at the heart of our parishes.
“My favourite line from the Pope’s message is when he invites us to be poets of prayer:
‘Let us too become, as it were, poets of prayer: let us develop a taste for finding our own words, let us once again take up those taught by the word of God. Our trustful prayer can do a great deal: it can accompany the cry of pain of those who suffer, and it can help change hearts. We can be “the enduring ‘chorus’ of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise sustain the community that toils and struggles in the field of life.’
“What a wonderfully uplifting challenge to all of us to become poets of prayer!
“I invite parishes across the country to celebrate grandparents and
elders, not forgetting our more senior priests and religious. I would
also encourage parishes to ensure that their local nursing care home is
included in this important annual celebration.”