Grandparents Faith Café July 2022

 

The Grandparents’ Faith Café will open again online on Tuesday 19 July.

The CGA is delighted to announce Archbishop Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam and Patron of the Catholic Grandparents Association as guest speaker. Archbishop Duffy will reflect on the World Day for Grandparents the Elderly.

Archbishop Francis Duffy was born on 21 April 1958 in the parish of Templeport, Co Cavan to parents Mary Catherine Dolan and Frank Duffy. He attended primary school at Munlough National School, Bawnboy, and completed his post-primary education at Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan.

Archbishop Francis studied for the priesthood at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Kilmore on 20 June 1982 in Saint Mogue’s Church, Bawnboy, Co Cavan by Bishop Francis MacKiernan. After completing the Higher Diploma in Education, he taught in St. Patrick’s College, Cavan, for eleven years. Then, after two years of postgraduate studies, he was appointed principal of Fatima and Felim’s Secondary School, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim in 1996.

After twelve years as principal, Archbishop Francis was appointed Diocesan Secretary and Financial Administrator and Chancellor of the Diocese of Kilmore. During that time he was resident priest in the parish of Laragh, Co Cavan. On 17 July 2013 he was appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois with his episcopal ordination taking place on 6 October 2013 at Saint Mary’s Church, Athlone. He served as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois for eight years until his appointment as Archbishop of Tuam on 10 November 2021. Archbishop Francis was installed as Archbishop of Tuam in the Cathedral of the Assumption on Sunday, 9 January 2022.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming our Patron, Archbishop Duffy to our July Faith Café as our guest speaker. Archbishop Francis has been a tremendous support to the CGA since he took over very recently as patron and we hope that he will be inspired by all the wonderful people he will connect with on the Faith Café.

Please come along on 19 July and invite someone who has not attended before to come along too.”

Registration is open now

Please click on the link below to register in advance of the meeting. After you register you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link and information to join the meeting on 19 July. Please check your spam folder as well as your inbox. Please also check the exact time difference.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwud-uorzgvGtIwaAj9HQtnB2vFYIE2sWao

If you have any queries about the Faith Café please email us on info@catholicgrandparentsassociation.com

With love and prayers,

Catherine Wiley – Founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association

 

 

Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

With the celebration of its second edition, the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly enters the ordinariness of the pastoral practice of our ecclesial communities and is set to become a tradition.

Attention to grandparents and the elderly, in fact, cannot be something extraordinary since their presence is not exceptional but an established fact of our societies. The Holy Father invites us to become aware of their relevance in the life of our countries and communities and to do so in a way that is not episodic but structural. That is, it is not a matter of chasing after an emergency, but of laying the foundations for long-term pastoral work that will involve us for decades to come. After all, in some places in the world-especially in Europe and North America-they represent 20 percent or more of the population. Within our communities, therefore, a change of perspective is required, putting aside those arguments that make the elderly appear as distant and extraneous people to be taken care of and getting used to a pastoral focus marked by ordinariness and long-term planning.

In the perspective of a commitment destined to develop over long periods of time, the catecheses that the Holy Father is dedicating to old age are of particular relevance. They offer an articulate and innovative reflection on this age of life and can be both the basis for immediate pastoral work in preparation for this year’s Day and for long-term planning.

The catecheses and the Holy Father’s message for the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly are at the heart of this pastoral kit and contain a rich range of indications that can be used, if necessary, adapting them to one’s own context.

Both the catechesis and the message can be found at this link http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en/eventi/2022/ii-giornata-mondiale-dei-nonni-e-degli-anziani.html

This year’s Day comes at a particular time, unexpectedly marked by war. In the message, the Holy Father recognizes a link between the fading testimony of those who lived through World War II and the resurgence of conflict in Europe. This is the reason why he calls on grandparents and the elderly to be “creators of the revolution of tenderness” and to live especially intense prayer for peace, in Ukraine and beyond.

The mission that the Holy Father entrusts to the elderly at this particular juncture manifests how he believes that grandparents and the elderly have their own particular vocation that makes them a relevant part of God’s holy faithful People. This is the real alternative to the culture of discarding: it is not about making a gesture of charity or begging for a little better treatment, but about the affirmation of the centrality of the elderly in society and grandparents in the family.

Below we list some simple indications that, we hope, will be of help in organizing the next Day, but we are sure that each of you will be able to find with creativity the most appropriate way to celebrate it starting from your own pastoral context.

Aware of the variety of initiatives that were taken on the occasion of the first edition and those that, we hope, will mark the second one as well, we have developed a logo that can be used freely and that will allow them to be identified with the Day. The logo represents an embrace, and a detailed explanation is attached.

In the hope that the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will contribute to countering the culture of discarding and making grandparents and the elderly protagonists in the life of our communities, we send cordial greetings in the Lord.

Last year Pope Francis decided to institute a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. He declared it will be held on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. This year the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly falls on Sunday 24th July, with the theme; “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Psalm 92:15). There are many ways we can celebrate this special day, in our homes and parishes. We have dedicated a page on our website to the celebration of this lovely day. There are downloadable prayer cards which you can use to help the family, friends and parish pray. 

Grandparents and the Elderly can be a great witness into living out their vocation and what God’s call is for them, but also advise our younger people discerning theirs. It’s also important to think of and pray in thanksgiving to those who have inspired us in our lives, who may not be us anymore.  

To find all our resources head to: https://www.ukvocation.org/grandparentsday

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

24 July 2022

“In old age they will still bear fruit” (Psalm 92:15)

Dear Friends,

“In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps 92:15). These words of the Psalmist are glad tidings, a true “gospel” that we can proclaim to all on this second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  They run counter to what the world thinks about this stage of life, but also to the attitude of grim resignation shown by some of us elderly people, who harbour few expectations for the future.

Many people are afraid of old age.  They consider it a sort of disease with which any contact is best avoided.  The elderly, they think, are none of their concern and should be set apart, perhaps in homes or places where they can be cared for, lest we have to deal with their problems.  This is the mindset of the “throw-away culture”, which leads us to think that we are somehow different from the poor and vulnerable in our midst, untouched by their frailties and separated from “them” and their troubles.  The Scriptures see things differently.  A long life – so the Bible teaches – is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance.  Blessed is the house where an older person lives!  Blessed is the family that honours the elderly!

Old age is not a time of life easily understood even by those of us who are already experiencing it.  Even though it eventually comes with the passage of time, no one prepares us for old age, and at times it seems to take us by surprise.  The more developed societies expend large sums on this stage of life without really helping people to understand and appreciate it; they offer healthcare plans to the elderly but not plans for living this age to the full.[1]  This makes it hard to look to the future and discern what direction to take.  On the one hand, we are tempted to ward off old age by hiding our wrinkles and pretending to be forever young, while on the other, we imagine that the only thing we can do is bide our time, thinking glumly that we cannot “still bring forth fruit”.

Retirement and grown children make many of the things that used to occupy our time and energy no longer so pressing.  The recognition that our strength is ebbing or the onset of sickness can undermine our certainties.  The fast pace of the world – with which we struggle to keep up – seems to leave us no alternative but to implicitly accept the idea that we are useless.  We can resonate with the heartfelt prayer of the Psalmist: “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (71:9).

Yet that same psalm – which meditates on how the Lord has been present at every stage of our lives – urges us to persevere in hope.  Along with old age and white hairs, God continues to give us the gift of life and to keep us from being overcome by evil.  If we trust in him, we will find the strength to praise him still (cf. vv. 14-20).  We will come to see that growing old is more than the natural decline of the body or the inevitable passage of time, but the gift of a long life.  Aging is not a condemnation, but a blessing!

For this reason, we ought to take care of ourselves and remain active in our later years.  This is also true from a spiritual standpoint: we ought to cultivate our interior life through the assiduous reading of the word of God, daily prayer, reception of the sacraments and participation in the liturgy.  In addition to our relationship with God, we should also cultivate our relationships with others: first of all by showing affectionate concern for our families, our children and grandchildren, but also for the poor and those who suffer, by drawing near to them with practical assistance and our prayers.  These things will help us not to feel like mere bystanders, sitting on our porches or looking out from our windows, as life goes on all around us.  Instead, we should learn to discern everywhere the presence of the Lord.[2]  Like “green olive trees in the house of God” (cf. Ps 52:10), we can become a blessing for those who live next to us.

Old age is no time to give up and lower the sails, but a season of enduring fruitfulness: a new mission awaits us and bids us look to the future.  “The special sensibility that those of us who are elderly have for the concerns, thoughts and the affections that make us human should once again become the vocation of many.  It would be a sign of our love for the younger generations”.[3]  This would be our own contribution to the revolution of tenderness,[4] a spiritual and non-violent revolution in which I encourage you, dear grandparents and elderly persons, to take an active role.

Our world is passing through a time of trial and testing, beginning with the sudden, violent outbreak of the pandemic, and then by a war that is harming peace and development on a global scale.  Nor is it a coincidence that war is returning to Europe at a time when the generation that experienced it in the last century is dying out.  These great crises risk anaesthetizing us to the reality of other “epidemics” and other widespread forms of violence that menace the human family and our common home.

All this points to the need for a profound change, a conversion, that disarms hearts and leads us to see others as our brothers or sisters.  We grandparents and elderly people have a great responsibility: to teach the women and men of our time to regard others with the same understanding and loving gaze with which we regard our own grandchildren.  We ourselves have grown in humanity by caring for others, and now we can be teachers of a way of life that is peaceful and attentive to those in greatest need.  This attitude may be mistaken for weakness or resignation, yet it will be the meek, not the aggressive and the abusive, who will inherit the earth (cf. Mt 5:5).

One fruit that we are called to bring forth is protecting the world.  “Our grandparents held us in their arms and carried us on their knees”;[5] now is the time for us to carry on our own knees – with practical assistance or with prayer alone – not only our own grandchildren but also the many frightened grandchildren whom we have not yet met and who may be fleeing from war or suffering its effects.  Let us hold in our hearts – like Saint Joseph, who was a loving and attentive father – the little ones of Ukraine, of Afghanistan, of South Sudan…

Many of us have come to a sage and humble realization of what our world very much needs: the recognition that we are not saved alone, and that happiness is a bread we break together.  Let us bear witness to this before those who wrongly think that they can find personal fulfilment and success in conflict.  Everyone, even the weakest among us, can do this.  The very fact that we allow ourselves to be cared for – often by people who come from other countries – is itself a way of saying that living together in peace is not only possible, but necessary.

Dear grandparents, dear elderly persons, we are called to be artisans of the revolution of tenderness in our world!  Let us do so by learning to make ever more frequent and better use of the most valuable instrument at our disposal and, indeed, the one best suited to our age: prayer.  “Let us too become, as it were, poets of prayer: let us develop a taste for finding our own words, let us once again take up those taught by the word of God”.[6]  Our trustful prayer can do a great deal: it can accompany the cry of pain of those who suffer, and it can help change hearts.  We can be “the enduring ‘chorus’ of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise sustain the community that toils and struggles in the field of life”.[7]

The World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is an opportunity to proclaim once more, with joy, that the Church wants to celebrate together with all those whom the Lord – in the words of the Bible – has “filled with days”.  Let us celebrate it together!  I ask you to make this Day known in your parishes and communities; to seek out those elderly persons who feel most alone, at home or in residences where they live.  Let us make sure that no one feels alone on this day.  Expecting a visit can transform those days when we think we have nothing to look forward to; from an initial encounter, a new friendship can emerge.  Visiting the elderly who live alone is a work of mercy in our time!

Let us ask Our Lady, Mother of Tender Love, to make all of us artisans of the revolution of tenderness, so that together we can set the world free from the spectre of loneliness and the demon of war.

To all of you, and to your loved ones, I send my blessing and the assurance of my closeness and affection.  And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me!

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 3 May 2022, Feast of the Apostles Philip and James

 

[1] Catechesis on Old Age – 1. The Grace of Time and the Covenant of the Ages of Life (23 February 2022).

[2] Catechesis on Old Age – 5. Fidelity to God’s Visitation for the Next Generation (30 March 2022).

[3] Catechesis on Old Age – 3. Old Age, A Resource for Lighthearted Youth (16 March 2022).

[4] Catechesis on Saint Joseph – 8. Saint Joseph, Father of Tenderness (19 January 2022).

[5] Homily at the Mass for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly (25 July 2021).

[6] Catechesis on the Family – 7. Grandparents (11 March 2015).

[7] Ibid.

 

Pastoral directions

Visiting the lonely elderly

  • The second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated in a situation in which in many countries the health emergency has ended, which will allow initiatives to be taken with greater freedom and to put personal encounter and embrace at the center of each one.
  • In order for the message of closeness and consolation that the Day wants to express to reach everyone – even those who are most isolated – we ask people to make a visit to their grandparents and the lonely elderly in their community and to deliver the Holy Father’s message to them.
  • The visit, a tangible sign of the outgoing Church, is a way to reaffirm that the elderly, even the loneliest, are at the center of our communities.
  • The visit shows the personal choice to get up and go quickly to others (cf. Lk. 1:39), just as Mary did to visit the elderly Elizabeth.
  • The visit can be an opportunity to bring a gift, such as a flower, and to read the Day’s prayer together.
  • Visiting a lonely elderly person is one of the possibilities for obtaining the Plenary Indulgence granted on the occasion of the Day.
  • The encounter between young and old, the friendship that can result, is one of the signs that “In old age they will still bear fruit.”
  • To spread the message of the day, pictures of the visits can be posted on social media with the hashtag #ElderlyAndGrandparents

The preparation of the day with the elderly

  • The elderly are the main recipients of the Day’s activities. The Holy Father’s message is addressed to them.
  • It is important to make sure that as many elderly people as possible participate in person in the Sunday liturgy celebrated on the occasion of the Day.
  • Since the pandemic, in many contexts, the participation of the elderly in Sunday Mass has declined. Influencing this is the persistent fear of contagion, but also the habit, acquired during the various lock downs, of attending celebrations on television or online. The Day can be an opportunity to help the elderly regain the habit of attending Mass in presence.
  • Elders from the parish or from one’s own ecclesial reality can be invited for a time of reflection on the Pope’s message for the Day, which can be distributed to all participants.
  • Through visits to the elderly who are alone, the text of the message can also be delivered to those unable to attend the meetings.
  • The Holy Father’s prayer intentions accompanied by the special intentions of one’s own community can be entrusted to all grandparents and elders reached on the occasion of the Day.

Preparing for the day with young people

  • You can convene the youth of your community a few weeks before the Day to explain it and be sure that they reach as many elders as possible with their visits.
  • Similarly, one can meet with the youth after the celebration to share the fruits of the meetings.
  • Young people can organize social campaigns to spread the contents of the Day using the hashtag #ElderlyAndGrandparents

Plenary Indulgence

  • The Apostolic Penitentiary promulgated a decree granting Plenary Indulgence on the occasion of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
  • For the elderly, it is possible to obtain the Indulgence by attending one of the Masses celebrated on the occasion of the Day.
  • Considering that some elderly people are unable to attend Mass in person for health reasons, the Indulgence is extended to those who take part through television, radio or the web.
  • The Indulgence is also granted to all those who, on the occasion of the Day, perform a ‘work of mercy through visiting a lonely elderly person.

Liturgy Notes.

  • Let one of the Masses on Sunday July 24, be dedicated to celebrating the Day with grandparents and the elderly of the parish or community.
  • To encourage the presence of the elderly at the Mass, community members can be involved to arrange transportation for those who are unable to move on their own.
  • During the celebration, young people from the parish or community can deliver the Holy Father’s message to grandparents and the elderly.
  • Liturgical celebrations of the Day on July 24 and the days immediately preceding and following can be planned within hospitals and residences for the elderly involving, where possible and in compliance with health regulations, members of the parish so that the masses are appropriately animated.
  • The collection from the Day’s Masses can be dedicated to support projects in favor of poor elderly people in one’s community.

Suggestions for the prayers of the faithful

  • For all of us elders, that we may become creators of the revolution of tenderness and that we may teach everyone to look at their brothers and sisters with the same gaze that we look at our dear grandchildren. Let us pray.
  • For young people, that they may go with joy to meet the elderly and show them God’s tenderness. For the world to be filled with the overflowing joy of a new embrace between the young and the old! Let us pray.
  • For all of us grandfathers and grandmothers, that even in old age we may bear fruits of wisdom for our families and that we may learn to pass on the treasure of faith to our grandchildren and to the new generations. Let us pray.
  • That all of us, grandparents and elders, will not be afraid to intercede for the salvation of the world, just as Abraham did, that peace will come everywhere and especially in Ukraine. Let us pray.
  • For the Church, which everywhere today celebrates the World Day dedicated to them, to be more and more a welcoming home for grandparents and the elderly. For Pope Francis that the Lord will bless and protect his ministry. Let us pray.

Final Blessing

Blessing on a long life

God of mercy,

You have given your children the gift of long life,

And they ask for your blessing.

Let them feel the tenderness and strength of your presence.

As they look back to the past,

let them rejoice in your mercy.

As they look to the future,

May they persevere in hope that does not fade.

To you be praise and glory for ever.