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The Pope’s embrace of the elderly who "carry the cross"

The First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, scheduled for Sunday, July 25, promoted by the Holy Father and the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
Paolo Perego

"We have seen what happened with the elderly in certain places in our world as a result of the coronavirus. They did not have to die that way." These are the Pope’s words, in Fratelli tutti, to all the elderly, often left alone. These were circumstances that were evident even before the pandemic, Francis adds, where the elderly often found themselves “cruelly abandoned”. Due to this not-new concern for those who bear "one of the crosses of our time", the Holy Father and the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life have promoted a new World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, entitled: "I am with you always."


The date set is July 25, in the middle of the year that Pope Francis has dedicated to the family, on the fifth anniversary of Amoris Laetitia. As explained by the prefect of the Dicastery, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, dioceses and parishes are invited to celebrate one of their Sunday masses for this intention, or to organize ad hoc initiatives in hospitals and nursing homes, also remembering Covid victims.

Francis will grant a plenary indulgence (according to the usual conditions) to grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who attend the Mass celebrated by him on July 25 at the Vatican or during the various events dedicated to this Day around the world. In addition, the same indulgence will also be granted to those who dedicate some of their time that day to visiting, even virtually, elderly people in need.

At a time of crisis like the one we are experiencing, the elderly are an important resource, Farrell said: "Their experience can help young people to read their own lives in a more detached and realistic way, with the prudence needed to make good choices.”