23 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

O’Brien (Focolari), “We grandparents can pass on the faith to our grandchildren, even if their parents do not educate them in it”

“The parents of our 4 grandchildren have chosen not to educate their children in the faith. We respect their decisions, while trying to discover new ways to do this, with creativity, fun, and love.” This was said by Declan O’Brien, delegate of the Focolare Movement, who took the floor this morning with his wife Sarah during the panel session on Handing on the Faith between the Generations: The Role of Grandparents, at the World Meeting of Families being held in Dublin. The Irish spouses indicated three ways of doing this. “One is spending time with our grandchildren. Our 4 grandchildren live abroad, and the time we spend with them is even more important.” When they are all together, the spouses let them know that “they are loved, and we feel loved by them.” “Jesus’ commandment is ‘Love one another as I have loved you;’ and so we try to love our grandchildren with patience, tenderness, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.” Sarah, then, indicated “another way in which we can transmit our faith”, that is by “sharing important things with our grandchildren.” “We must try to have the courage to understand what really counts for our grandchildren. And they can talk to us if we listen to them.” Finally, the third way, indicated by Declan, is prayer. “We are not in a position to pray with our grandchildren, but we can, of course, pray for them. With them, we have experienced the silence in church. They know that we go to Mass and they have occasionally asked to come to Mass with us.” “In a certain sense,” Sara concluded, “the only Bible they can read is us.”