Pope Francis “In old age they will still bear fruit”
July 24 World Grandparents and Older Persons Day
The second edition of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022 will be celebrated worldwide on July 24. All dioceses, parishes and ecclesial communities are called to celebrate this Day, whose theme, indicated by Pope Francis, is “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps. 92:15). In this way, as he suggests in the message prepared for the occasion, the Holy Father wants to offer the elderly an existential project: to be “artisans of the revolution of tenderness.”
On Sunday 24, at 10 a.m., in St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis will preside over the Eucharistic celebration by mandate of the Holy Father.
But all dioceses around the world are invited to celebrate the Day with a liturgy dedicated to the elderly. There are two main ways to participate in the Day, suggested by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life: by celebrating a Mass or by visiting the elderly alone. The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has provided the various dioceses with a series of pastoral and liturgical materials and suggestions, which are available on the Dicastery’s website. Among the recommendations, it is worth highlighting that of visiting or accompanying the elderly who are alone. In fact, the Church grants plenary indulgence for this action when carried out in the days close to July 24. In this sense, the Holy Father states in this year’s message that “visiting the elderly who live alone is a work of mercy in our time.”
Ahead of the World Day, Cardinal De Donatis wrote to the parish priests of the diocese and to all people ahead of their years who reside in Rome. “In the summertime many activities are interrupted, but many elderly people do not go on vacation. They stay in the city, in our
neighborhoods, and sometimes they feel even more abandoned. So it would be nice, on the occasion of this day, to think of a simple and meaningful moment for the elderly. Several parishes, last year, proposed an outdoor evening Mass (on Saturday or Sunday), with the
blessing of the elderly followed by musical entertainment and the sharing of dinner. On this occasion, I urge you to visit the elderly at home or in nursing homes. Simple gestures of care done with love and pastoral charity will give courage and light to many lonely people.”
Speaking on the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022, Card. Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, noted that “With the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, the Holy Father invites us to become aware of the relevance of the elderly in the life of societies and our communities and to do so in a way that is not episodic, but structural, and the Day helps to lay the foundations for an ordinary pastoral care of this season of life.”
Pope Francis established in 2021 that this Day will be celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of July, around the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the “grandparents” of Jesus. This year it will take place on July 24. On the same day, the Pope begins an apostolic journey
to Canada, during which he is scheduled to visit the Shrine of St. Anne and meet with youth and the elderly at an elementary school in Iqaluit. Caring for the elderly and their dialogue with the younger generation is a constant concern of the Holy Father, who has devoted much of this year’s Wednesday audiences to a catechesis on old age. Moreover, the prayer intention Francis entrusts to the whole Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network for this month of July is for the elderly.