Long life is a blessing in the Bible. “It confronts us with our vulnerability, our interconnectedness, the bonds of our family and community, and most importantly our childhood.”
Pope Francis asserts that “old age is not a disease, it is a privilege! Loneliness can be a disease, but it can be cured by love of neighbourhood, closeness, and sharing of spiritual thoughts.”
In recent decades, pastors have spoken several times on behalf of the elderly, urging a sense of responsibility and pastoral care.
Having the elderly is a great resource. It suffices to think of the critical role they played in preserving and transmitting faith to the youth in countries plagued by authoritarian and atheistic regimes. And how many grandparents do to transmit the faith to their grandchildren.
Pope Francis points out that “present generations of parents mostly in secular society in many countries do not have a living Christian education and faith, which grandparents can pass on to their grandchildren. They are the primary link in raising children and young people in the faith. It must become our custom to make them part of our pastoral prospects and we see them as vital members of our communities, not just sometimes. They are not only individuals that we need to look after and protect in order to sustain their lives, but who can be active in evangelical pastoralism, and bear witness to God’s true love.”
Undoubtedly, the elderly, for their part, should strive to live old age wisely: “These years of the last phase of our lives carry a gift and a message: a true calling from our Lord.” Therefore, “the pastoral care of the elderly, like any other pastoral care, was undertaken by Pope Francis gospel of joy In the era of the new mission he announced and also meant to preach the presence of Christ among the elderly. Evangelism should promote spiritual growth at all ages, because the call to the holiness of life is for everyone, including grandparents. Not all elderly people have met Christ yet, and even if they did, it is necessary to help him rediscover the meaning of his baptism at this particular stage of his life, […]: to be able to marvel once more at the mystery of God’s love and eternality; […] To discover the relationship with a merciful loving God; To ask the elderly in our community to be active in the new gospel and to pass on the good news themselves. They are called to be messengers, ”as in any other stage of life.
In this sense, “the church is a place [lehet], where generations are called to participate in the plan of God’s love, a relationship based on mutual sharing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
The full document is available in Hungarian at the link below in PDF format.
Pope Francis announced in January that he would introduce the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, which the Church will celebrate on the fourth Sunday in July, close to the liturgical day of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. On this occasion, on July 25, the first World Day of Grandparents and Old Age, Andras Ferris, Bishop of Gyr and Sölt Marton, Bishop of Vák, will give a Mass at the Matraverbele-Zantkot National Shrine.
Source: MKPK Family Committee
Photo: Tamás Ács / Gyr Parish