23 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Wiley (CGA), “The example, wisdom, and prayer of grandparents is essential for transmitting the faith to the grandchildren”

“As founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA), I firmly believe in the transmission of the faith at home and in the role of grandparents in this mission.” This is how Catherine Wiley began her intervention during this morning’s panel session on the role of grandparents in handing on the faith between the generations, at the Pastoral Congress of the Dublin World Meeting of Families. The mission of our association is “to keep prayer in the heart of the family and to transmit the faith,” she explained. This is the primary role of parents, “who transmit the faith with Christian traditions and symbols”—not to be confused with “decorative objects, but to be venerated as symbols of faith that speak to us of God’s love. “Yet, many grandparents are also people of Christian faith matured over many decades and, as Pope Benedict says in the prayer dedicated to them, they are “living treasuries of sound religious traditions,” who in turn transmit the faith. Pope Francis recalls the role of the saints Joachim and Anna. Grandparents, assures Wiley, “are for their grandchildren a moral, emotional, and spiritual references next to their parents. Their wisdom, their prayer, and the Christian traditions in the home are important for raising our children in the faith.” If our homes are not places where prayer is at the center of the family, the speaker warns, it will be difficult to transmit the faith in a social context of religious abandonment. “It is through family prayer—in the broadest sense of the word—that we can transmit the faith, because when we pray as a family or at home, what we say in prayer is actually a proclamation of what we believe.” Therefore, “it is essential” for children to see their parents and grandparents praying. Hence, she concluded with this exhortation: “Let us pray at home and transmit the faith and, to do so, bring Christian prayers, symbols, and traditions back into our homes.”