This Sunday, July 25, we will be marking the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The celebration comes after Pope Francis declared the fourth Sunday of July as an international day to honor grandparents and the elderly last January 31.
“Grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on,” the pope said about the establishment of the celebration.
And as the observance nears, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is preparing for a three-day virtual event to celebrate it. The Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) is responsible for the organization of the events. (Read: Pope to Grant Plenary Indulgences on World Day of Grandparents, Elderly)
‘I am with you always.’
The theme of the first National Virtual Conference for Grandparents and the Elderly is, ‘I am with you always.’ The phrase, which comes from Matthew 28:20, is also the opening statement of Pope Francis in his message for the celebration. “They are the words that he repeats to you today, dear grandfathers and grandmothers, dear elderly friends,” Pope Francis said in his letter.
“[These] are also the words that I, as Bishop of Rome and an elderly person like yourselves, would like to address to you on this first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The whole Church is close to you–to us– and cares about you, loves you, and does not want to leave you alone!”
And for the CBCP’s celebration, this is also what they want these elderlies to feel. The three-day conference will start on July 22 (Thursday), 2 PM, with a talk about the theme by Catherine Wiley, the founder and international president of the Catholic Grandparents Association (GCA).
Schedule of events
According to the CBCP, “the three-day online event from July 22 to 24 will feature talks, testimonies, reflections, and prayers.”
For Thursday, the talk will end with a healing prayer for grandparents and the elderly. On Friday, grandparents “who are passing on the faith to their grandchildren in challenging times” will make their testimonies. Prayers for healing will also finish the session.
ECFL chairman Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa will grace the event on Saturday to reflect on The Dignity of the Elderly and their Mission in the Church” according to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”