World Day of Grandparents and Elderly

Written by Mary Fay, RCDA: "The Church has added the World Day of Grandparents and Elderly beginning in 2021 on the fourth Sunday of July, near the liturgical memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. Pope Francis has chosen the theme for this first year to be “I am with you always” from the Gospel of Matthew. The resource page from the United States Bishop’s currently includes links to a collection of documents that have been published by the church on the importance of grandparents and the older members of our faith communities. The original announcement from Vatican News included this beautiful reflection on why we should honor our older family members like this: The dreams of the elderly: “The opposite of the culture of discarding is precisely pastoral care for the elderly: putting the elderly at the centre of the life of our communities every day. Not only in emergencies, not only when it is too late to realise this.” The elderly “are trees that always bear fruit and people who continue to dream.” So young people must be “brought into dialogue with the dreams of the elderly.” … this is a message often repeated by Pope Francis. “The dreams of the elderly have built our society; for example, I am thinking of Europe, of a world without war anymore.” The encyclical Tutti fratelli is full of “this dream of a world without war.” It is the dream that “our elders, our grandparents had after the Second World War.”

“Perhaps,” Vittorio Scelzo concludes, “we need to enter into dialogue with these dreams” in order “to understand what the dreams for the future of our society should be.”

Some ways to encourage this celebration in your parishes:

--Promote it with posters in your churches and through social media so that families know about this new celebration

--Encourage families to invite their older members to share their dreams

--Have older members of the congregation recognized and blessed at Masses the weekend of July 24/25

Looking for some information on St Anne and St Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus? One of my favorite places is our National Shrine in Washington, D.C. They have a great page about the mosaic of St. Anne."