~ by Vatican News Staff Reporter
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis announced the institution of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place each year on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
Recalling the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple [which we observed on Tuesday of this week] when the elderly Simeon and Anna encountered the child Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah – Pope Francis said, “the Holy Spirit even today stirs up thoughts and words of wisdom in the elderly. The voice of the elderly “is precious,” he said, “because it sings the praises of God and preserves the roots of the peoples.”
The elderly, he continued, “remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between the different generation to pass onto the young, the experience of life.”
The Holy Father said he instituted the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly because “grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on” what the elderly have received.
He emphasized the importance of grandparents and grandchildren getting to know one another, because, “as the prophet Joel says, grandparents seeing their grandchildren dream,” while “young people, drawing strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy.”
It is necessary to bridge the gap between the elderly and younger generations, said Vittorio Scelzo who is involved with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, adding. “The elderly are not saved by themselves.” Pope Francis wants to remind us that similarly, “young people, adults and our society cannot save themselves without the elderly.” Intergenerational dialogue is essential.
Scelzo said, “In order to come out of a crisis better and not worse, every society needs to come to terms with its roots and develop a new synthesis of its values, starting also from dialogue with the elderly.”
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