29 November 2018
Local Churches

The Vocation of Older People

What is the mission of older people in the Church?  Starting from this question – which took form in the reality of about 40 countries in which it is present –  Life Ascending International (Vie Montante Internationale - VMI), an association of the faithful recognised by our Dicastery, convened its IX International Conference which took place in Santo Domingo from 19 to 24 November.

The substantial increase in the number of pensioners, persons potentially still active and free from working commitments, is changing the demographic panorama in many countries but has not yet brought about an adequate reflection within Society and the Church. During an audience in March 2015, Pope Francis said: “There is no doubt that this period of life is different from that which preceded it.  We must even “invent it” a little, because our society is not yet ready, spiritually and morally, to give full value to it, to this moment of life.  In fact, once it was not so usual to have time at our disposal.  Today it is much more usual. And even Christian spirituality has been taken a little by surprise. We need to outline a spirituality for older people.”

The pensioners of Vie Montante Internationale tried to answer this question as protagonists, during the meeting days in Santo Domingo aware – this is the way it was said – that “the Church of the Future will be a Church of older people, but it cannot become an old Church.  For this reason it is necessary that older people, as Jesus asked Nicodemus, “be reborn”.

The Meeting was attended by Vittorio Scelzo, Head of Pastoral Care for Older People at our Dicastery.