Pope Francis meets with elderly people at a General Audience Pope Francis meets with elderly people at a General Audience  (Vatican Media)

Elderly people symbolize the transmission of faith from age to age

As the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly approaches on Sunday, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life renews its invitation for Christians to celebrate the event by attending Mass or visiting those who are alone.

By Edoardo Giribaldi

Sunday, 23 July, marks the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. The theme chosen for this year is “His mercy is from age to age,” recalling a passage from Luke’s Gospel.

Sunday's Mass

Ahead of the celebration, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has released a statement reminding the faithful that Holy Mass that will be presided over by Pope Francis at 10 a.m. local time inside St. Peter’s Basilica, and it will see the participation of over 6,000 people, including “many elderly people from all over Italy.”

Specifically, “grandparents accompanied by their grandchildren and families, elderly residents living in retirement and residential nursing homes, as well as many elderly people who are active in parish, diocesan and associational life.”

From age to age

The statement highlighted how at the end of the celebration, five elderly people - one representative from each continent - “will symbolically hand over the World Youth Day Pilgrim's Cross to five young people leaving for Lisbon.”

The gesture symbolizes the “transmission of faith from age to age” but also “the commitment that the elderly and grandparents have accepted, at the invitation of the Holy Father, to pray for the departing youth and accompany them with their blessing.”

All those who will attend the event at St. Peter’s will receive a specific prayer to offer for the Day, along with a copy of the Pope’s message to grandparents and the elderly.

Celebrations worldwide

In the statement, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life indicated two ways to celebrate the event in every diocese of the world: with a Mass dedicated to grandparents and the elderly or with a visit to those who are alone. “A Plenary indulgence,” according to the statement, “is granted to those who perform these deeds.”

The Dicastery also highlighted the initiatives of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, “which will celebrate a Mass with the elderly at the Aparecida Shrine,” and that of the Canadian Bishops' Conference, “which released a video inviting young people to visit the elderly in nursing homes.”

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20 July 2023, 11:10