The Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated this year on Sunday 23rd July, just days before the start of World Youth Day in Lisbon. The two celebrations bear a connecting theme from the first chapter of Luke: “Mary arose and went with haste” (WYD theme – vs 39) and “His mercy is from age to age” (vs 50).
In his message, Pope Francis speaks of the “haste” with which Mary set out to visit Elizabeth and invites us to reflect on the bond that unites young and old. Young people, through their relationships with the elderly, will realize that they are called to cultivate memory and recognize the beauty of being part of a much larger history. For the elderly, the presence of a young person in their lives can give them hope that their experience will not be lost and that their dreams can find fulfilment.
The verse from Mary’s Magnificat also reminds us that God’s mercy is manifested in history through the testimonies of those who have experienced it and passed it on to their children and grandchildren. Grandparents and the elderly are called to carry this mercy, to tell through words and life how God has been faithful to His promises and how He continues to love His people. They are also called to receive God’s mercy, and to allow themselves to be comforted by His fatherly love that never abandons them.
As in previous years, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has issued a Pastoral Kit to enable parishes to celebrate this day. The material includes prayers, liturgy notes, a message to grandparents and the elderly and resources for social media. View this here.