On Sunday, January 31, Pope Francis announced the establishment of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place annually on the fourth Sunday in July.
According to the Pope, he chose the day which is closest to the feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne to pay tribute to the grandparents of Jesus. (Read: Meet the parents of the Virgin Mary)
“The voice of the elderly is precious,” the Pope said. “They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between the different generations, to pass on to the young the experience of life.”
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Pope Francis created the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly to make the elderly feel valued and appreciated. “Grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on [what they have received],” he said. (Read: Vatican Launches Campaign to Promote Appreciation for the Elderly)
The Pope also emphasized the importance of building a good relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, because, “as the prophet Joel says, grandparents, seeing their grandchildren dream,” while “young people, drawing strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy.”
Bridging the Age Gap
Vittorio Scelzo, staff at the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, said that the Pope has always been an advocate for grandparents and the elderly. He added that bridging the gaps among generations has always been part of the Pope’s mission.
“In order to come out of the crisis better and not worse, every society needs to come to terms with its roots and develop a new synthesis of its values, starting also from dialogue with the elderly,” Scelzo said. (Read: A prayer for the elderly and frail)
The elderly “are trees that always bear fruit and people who continue to dream, so young people must be brought into dialogue with the dreams of the elderly,” he added.