Sunday, July 24, 2022, has been designated by Pope Francis as the 2nd World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly with this year’s theme: “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps 92:15).
In a message for this special Day, the Holy Father address the elderly, reminding them that those in old age have an important mission in life. They are called to be “artisans of the revolution of tenderness” and to “set the world free from the specter of loneliness and the demon of war”. Furthermore, the Pope invites them to rediscover this stage as “the gift of a long life.” In addition, the Vatican has announced that those who celebrate this special day are eligible for a plenary indulgence.
This Day was established in 2021 and is celebrated every year throughout the Church 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.
In his message, Pope Francis acknowledges the difficulties that old age entails in the lives of individuals and in society. However, he invites the elderly to “persevere in hope” and points out that a long life is also a gift for the whole of society: “Blessed is the house where an older person lives! Blessed is the family that honors the elderly!”
Bishop Frank J. Dewane echoes the words of the Holy Father, often speaking about how the older generation serves as an inspiration for others to follow.
“You are an example to others, not just to your children and grandchildren but to society that looks to you for guidance, inspiration and hope,” Bishop Dewane said during a Mass celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage on Feb. 19, 2022. “All of you represent love, joy and commitment to each other in a sacramental way, as a sign of hope.”
Speaking to grandparents at a special Mass at. St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Nov. 5, 2021, the Bishop said: “Grandparents sing the praises of God in the traditions they pass down and in how they live their life. Let the light of the Holy Spirit make it more… let it be the goodness that personifies who you are as more the man or woman of God you are called to be.”
Bishop Dewane urged the Neumann students to listen to their grandparents more often, adding “You might say they are old, how can they know… That is why they know. They have faced the same difficulties. Get the experience; get the wisdom they offer. We can all learn something from each other by looking for the goodness within yourselves and within your grandparents. Bring generations together.”
On July 24, Pope Francis invites grandparents and the elderly to continue to bear fruit and proposes to them to live in a particular way the dimension of prayer. This – Francis points out – is “the most valuable instrument at our disposal and, indeed, the one best suited to our age”.
Vatican offers indulgence for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Any Catholic who participates in the celebration July 24 of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly can receive a plenary indulgence, the Vatican announced.
“Grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, motivated by a true spirit of penance and charity,” attend Mass or other prayer services for the occasion can receive the indulgence, which “can also be applied as a suffrage for the souls in purgatory.”
Announcing the indulgence ahead of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Vatican said it also can apply to those who “devote adequate time to actually or virtually visiting their elderly brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty.”
To receive a plenary indulgence, which is a remission of the temporal punishment due for one’s sins, a person must show detachment from sin, go to confession, receive the Eucharist and pray for the intentions of Pope Francis.
The indulgence also is available to “the elderly sick and all those who, unable to leave their homes for a serious reason, spiritually join” the celebrations, particularly by watching on television or the internet or listening on the radio, and “offer to the merciful God their prayers, sorrows and sufferings,” the Vatican said.
The Diocese of Venice offers a TV Mass for the Homebound, which airs each Sunday for viewers in the northern portion of the Diocese (Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee, DeSoto and Highlands counties), at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network, and in the southern portions of the Diocese (Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, Glades and DeSoto counties), the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX (FOX-4). The TV Mass is also available online each week at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.