26 July 2022
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Celebrating the II World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly
A celebration as vast as the world
Now in its second year, the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is beginning to characterize many dioceses all over the world.
In addition to the Vatican celebration, presided over in St. Peter's Basilica by Card. Angelo De Donatis at the request of Pope Francis, news of events, liturgies and initiatives from the four corners of the planet reached the Dicastery. We are mentioning just a few of them, to give an overview of what has been done and what can be done in the coming editions.
In Latin America there were a great number of associations, dioceses and bishops' conferences that celebrated July 24 in various ways. In Mexico, for example, visits were made to the more isolated lonely elderly in the Diocese of Monterrey; in Chile, Caritas organized numerous meetings. In Uruguay, a podcast was made available on Spotify with the texts of the Holy Father's message and catechesis on the elderly. In Argentina, the bishop in charge of the pastoral care of the elderly made a video message for the occasion while a number of soccer teams- upon the initiative of Scholas Occurrentes and the local soccer federation- took the field with a banner inviting people to visit the elderly. In Brazil, tens of thousands of volunteers from Pastoral da Pessoa Idosa visited the more isolated and lonely elderly and delivered the Pope's message to them. In Paraguay, for the event, the activity of the pastoral care of the elderly was inaugurated. Numerous initiatives were also carried out in all the other countries of the subcontinent.
From Asia, we received news particularly from India where young people with ties to the bishops' conference made visits to the most isolated and lonely elderly and shared numerous videos on social media. Then, in the weeks leading up to the Day, some dioceses in Myanmar celebrated grandparents and the elderly with various initiatives.
In Europe - where the liturgy was celebrated in many cathedrals to mark the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly - in many countries the celebration coincided with an exceptional heat wave. For the elderly, such high temperatures, along with the loneliness that many experience are a serious risk and, for this reason, many chose to celebrate July 24 by visiting those who were most alone. In Spain, the Day was an opportunity to reflect on the bishops' conference's recent document on the pastoral care of the elderly. In Ireland, the Catholic Grandparents Association organized a special pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Knock.
In Africa, the Day was an opportunity to put the elderly at the center of the pastoral concern of many dioceses. For example, in the Diocese of Gulu in northern Uganda, several days of reflection were organized by Ascending Life culminating in the July 24 celebration. In Kenya, bishops invited people to attend the masses celebrated for the occasion and to make the elderly a constant concern in the life of Christian communities.
As Card. De Donatis, Vicar of the Holy Father for the Diocese of Rome, said in his homily during the Vatican celebration, " Our first thought is for Pope Francis - on his way to Canada - who wanted this day for you, elderly men and women, so that, with your families and with the Church, you may feel the love and support of everyone." The support and love came and, together, there was a huge, worldwide celebration.