Three-day Online Event July 22 to 24 will Feature Talks, Testimonies, Reflections, and Prayers
The bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) in the Philippines is hosting a virtual conference to mark the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly next week, reported CBCP News.
The conference will open Thursday at 2:00 p.m. with a talk on the celebration’s theme, “I am with you always”, by Catherine Wiley, the founder and international president of the Catholic Grandparents Association (GCA).
On Friday, participants will hear testimonies of grandparents “who are passing on the faith to their grandchildren in challenging times”.
The 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. session will end with prayers for healing.
On Saturday, ECFL chairman Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa will reflect on “The Dignity of the Elderly and their Mission in the Church” according to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”.
ECFL has partnered with the Episcopal Commissions on Youth and on Liturgy, and with GCA for the conference to complement the regional and diocesan programs.
Pope Francis in January announced the establishment of a World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, to take place every year on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents.
“I have decided to establish World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be held throughout the Church every year on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ ‘grandparents’,” the Holy Father said after praying the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on January 31, 2021. “It is important for grandparents to meet their grandchildren and for grandchildren to meet their grandparents, because — as the prophet Joel says — grandparents, before their grandchildren, will dream, and have illusions [great desires], and young people, taking strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy. And 2 February is indeed the feast of the encounter between grandparents and their grandchildren.”
In the Philippines, the dioceses launched a series of events to celebrate this year’s observance, which falls on July 25.
The bishops’ conference on June 4 also released a pastoral statement about the celebration to honor grandparents and the elderly.
“As a country blessed by 500 years of Christianity, let us make sure that grandparents remain – and feel – that elders are cherished members of our families, communities, and nation,” part of the statement read.