It’s no secret that Pope Francis loves the elderly. Perhaps it’s because the Pope was so close to his grandmother Rosa and he has firsthand experience in the lessons that grandparents impart to us.
This love was again evident when he invited young people around the world to perform “gestures of tenderness” toward the elderly. Older people are more vulnerable to the threats of COVID-19 so many of them are forced into isolation as per health guidelines around the world. (Read: Have You Seen These Rocking Chairs at Malls?)
In response to the Pope’s call, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life quickly answered that call and launched “The elderly are your grandparents” campaign. Through the phone, video call, or social media post, young Catholics are urged to send a hug to the older people of their parish or neighborhood who may be experiencing loneliness.
Kindness to the Elderly
In a communique, the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life formally invited young people “to do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely.”
“The pandemic has hit the elderly particularly hard and it has disconnected the already weak links between generations,” the statement says. “However, respecting social distancing rules does not mean accepting a destiny of loneliness and abandonment.” (Read: A prayer for the elderly and frail)
Caring Through the Distance
The social distancing measures need not hinder us to show care to the elderly in isolation. The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life cited examples of how one can contact these lolos and lolas: via phone and internet, some even performed serenades to residents of retirement homes.
“Young people have been doing this to help alleviate the loneliness being felt by many people who are obliged by the pandemic to stay at home or remain confined in residential care facilities.” (Read: What made Gazini Ganados choose elderly care as her advocacy?)
Share on Social Media
Young people are encouraged to share their outreach efforts on social media through the #sendyourhug hashtag in their posts. The best posts will be shared on the social media accounts of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.