15 November 2019
Elderly

The elderly are precious for the family, and family is precious for the elderly

Message of Undersecretary Gambino to the pastoral care of families conference of Guatemala

“If we want to protect and defend life, we must protect the elderly and work together to create networks of presence and human and Christian solidarity around them. Caring for the elderly is caring for Christ the poor.” With these words, Undersecretary Gabriella Gambino addressed the participants in the twenty-fourth National Conference of Pastoral Workers in the Care of Families of Guatemala, conveying a message in the name of the Dicastery. 

The meeting, in which several hundred people representing all of the dioceses in the country participated, has as its theme the defense of life, particularly that of the elderly. It set as its goal the inclusion, in a more organic way, of attention to this “third age” within pastoral ministry to families. In this regard, the message continues: “The choice to place this attention within the broader field of the pastoral care of families is the result of an awareness of how the elderly are precious to the family, and family is precious to the elderly.” 

The defense of life for the elderly is a responsibility of the Church. In fact, “Where the families of origin are not able to care for them,” added Professor Gambino, “our communities are called to present a merciful face and to become family for those who remain alone in their time of old age.” 

This message was also an occasion to invite representatives of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala to participate in the first International Congress for the Pastoral Care of the Elderly, “The Richness of Many Years of Life,” which the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life is organizing for the following month of January.