Celebrating the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

Celebrating our grandparents and the elderly is a way to honour their contributions, cherish their wisdom, and strengthen family and societal bonds. It provides us with an opportunity for mutual understanding, appreciation, and love between generations, fostering a more inclusive and caring community for all. By celebrating grandparents and the elderly, society promotes a positive perspective on aging. It challenges ageist attitudes and encourages people to recognise that growing older is a natural part of life that should be embraced and respected.

Older individuals have accumulated a lifetime of experiences, wisdom, and knowledge. Their experiences can provide valuable life lessons and guidance for younger family members and society as a whole. Celebrations that involve multiple generations coming together can strengthen family bonds. These events provide an opportunity for family members to interact, share experiences, and create lasting memories together.

Grandparents often serve as keepers of family traditions and cultural heritage. Celebrating them allows younger generations to connect with their roots and understand their cultural identity better. This helps in preserving important customs, stories, and practices that may otherwise be lost over time.

Calling for a new bond between the young and old, Pope Francis marked the third annual World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly with an intergenerational Mass last Sunday in St Peter’s Basilica. The celebration is now held on the fourth Sunday of July, the Sunday closest to July 26, the feast of Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.

The theme chosen for this year is ‘His mercy is from age to age,’ recalling a passage from Luke’s Gospel. This verse reminds us that God’s mercy is manifested in history through the testimonies of those who have experienced it and passed it on to their children and grandchildren. Grandparents and the elderly are called to carry this mercy, to tell through words and life how God has been faithful to His promises and how He continues to love His people. They are also called to “receive God’s mercy, and to allow themselves to be comforted by His fatherly love that never abandons them” (Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, 2023).

Old age is a “blessed time,” the Pope declared in his homily, “for it is the season to be reconciled, a time for looking tenderly at the light that has shone despite the shadows, confident in the hope that the good wheat sown by God will prevail over the weeds with which the devil has wanted to plague our hearts.”

Parishes, schools, agencies, aged care facilities and other ministries have been encouraged to find creative ways to celebrate the contribution of older people to their families and communities.

At Santa Maria College, we will celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly with our annual Grandparents Liturgy for our Year 6 families on the morning of 25 August.

Melissa Trolio , Director of Mission

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