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Pope Francis: World Grandparents Day “an encounter between young and old”

Pope Francis blesses an elderly lady in November 2022. (Photo: AFP or Lincesors, Vatican News)

Pope Francis underlined the importance of fruitful encounters between young and old people for the Church to “keep pressing forward” in the modern world.

“[God’s loving plan] is greater than we are, yet includes each of us and calls us at every moment to keep pressing forward,” writes the pontiff in his message for the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

Advising the two generations, he said: “For the young, this means being ready to break free from the fleeting present in which virtual reality can entrap us, preventing us from doing something productive. For the elderly, it means not dwelling on losing physical strength and thinking with regret about missed opportunities.”

“Let us all look ahead! And allow ourselves to be shaped by God’s grace, which frees us from inertia and dwelling on the past from generation to generation!” he added.

Reflecting on the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, a biblical encounter between young and old, the pontiff said that this exact moment is God’s way of “opening our eyes to the dawn of salvation.”

“Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and their shared awareness that the Lord’s mercy is from generation to generation remind us that, alone, we cannot move forward, much less save ourselves, and that God’s presence and activity are always part of something greater, the history of a people,” he explained.

The pope said that young people would realize their calling to cultivate memory and recognize the beauty of being part of a much larger history by building relationships with older people. He invited them to “make a concrete gesture including grandparents and the elderly.”

The pope said: “Let us not abandon them. Their presence in families and communities is precious, for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots. From the elderly, we received the gift of belonging to God’s holy people.”

“The Church, as well as society, needs them, for they entrust to the present the past that is needed to build the future. Let us honor them, neither depriving ourselves of their company nor depriving them of ours. May we never allow the elderly to be cast aside!” he said.

On the other hand, Pope Francis emphasized the hope the elderly can gain from their relationships with the youth, enlightening them that “their experience will not be lost and that their dreams can find fulfillment.”

This year’s World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on July 23 will occur close to the World Youth Day in Lisbon, set on August 1-6. Taking note of these two events, Pope Francis encourages the youth to visit their grandparents or an elderly person living alone first before leaving for the WYD.

“Their prayers will protect you, and you will carry in your heart the blessing of that encounter. I ask you, the elderly among us, to accompany by your prayers the young people about to celebrate World Youth Day,” said the pope.

Read the pope’s message for the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly here. Luke Godoy


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.