First-ever World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly – 25th July 2021

“I am with you always” (Mt 28: 30) is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the inaugural commemoration. This is the promise made by Jesus to his apostles prior to his Ascension. “The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about us, loves us and does not want to leave us alone!” Pope Francis said, identifying with the elderly as one of them.

“The Lord sends Angels to comfort us.” The angels may be family, friends, carers…… The Lord also “sends us messengers through his words, which are always at hand,” the Pope said as he invited the elderly to “to pray with the Gospels and the psalms, and to read the prophets.”

The vocation of the elderly. Pope Francis reminds all that there is no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to the next generations. He insists that the elderly “are needed in order to help build, in fraternity and social friendship, the world of tomorrow.”

Dreams, memory and prayer. “Our dreams of justice, of peace, of solidarity, can make it possible for our young people to have new visions.” The Pope said that “dreams are intertwined with memory.” “Without memory, however, we will never be able to build; without a foundation, we can never build a house.” Pope Francis recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s words: “The prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps more effectively than the frenetic activity of many others.” He reminded the elderly that their prayer is “a very precious resource; a deep breath that the Church and the world urgently need.”

Concluding, the Holy Father said “May each of us learn to repeat to all, and especially to the young, the words of consolation “I am with you always”!

Our Way of Life Par. 44 speaks of the role of the elderly while our 1932 Constitutions had a complete chapter on the elderly. Our current numbers show that we have 23 Sisters who are over 90 years old and a further 53 who are between 80 and 90. We have four wonderful caring facilities who minister exclusively to the elderly, Pennybryn Maryfield in USA, Maryfield Chapelizod, Dublin, Maryville in London and Taylorville in Liverpool. In addition many of our Care facilities have a large number of senior residents and Sisters who engage in pastoral work and are ministering angels to the elderly in their homes.

Let us celebrate this day with thanksgiving, and with hope.

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