Pope Francis has established a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place for the second time on Sunday 24 July 2022 on the theme ‘In old age they will still bear fruit (Ps 92:15)’. The World Day was established to be celebrated on the Sunday closest to the Feast Day of Saints Joachim and Anne on 26 July.
Click below for resources for use in dioceses and parishes which have been collated by the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and the Family.
A warm welcome for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022
Bishop Denis Nulty, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and the Family has welcomed Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022 on the theme ‘In old age they still bring forth fruit’ (Ps 92:14).
Bishop Nulty said, “In his message, Pope Francis says that old age is no time to give up and lower the sails, but a season of enduring fruitfulness: a new mission awaits us and bids us look to the future. I am very encouraged by Pope Francis’ words as I look around our Church and see the long and faithful service offered by our elderly priests and religious and the decades long commitment of so many lay faithful to our parishes.
“The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is taking place this year against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and conflict in many other parts of the world. Pope Francis addresses this in his text and invites Grandparents in particular ‘to teach the women and men of our time to regard others with the same understanding and loving gaze with which we regard our own grandchildren. Our grandparents held us in their arms and carried us on their knees; now is the time for us to carry on our own knees – with practical assistance or with prayer alone – not only our own grandchildren but also the many frightened grandchildren whom we have not yet met and who may be fleeing from war or suffering its effects.
“My favourite line from the Pope’s message is when he invites us to be poets of prayer:
‘Let us too become, as it were, poets of prayer: let us develop a taste for finding our own words, let us once again take up those taught by the word of God. Our trustful prayer can do a great deal: it can accompany the cry of pain of those who suffer, and it can help change hearts. We can be “the enduring ‘chorus’ of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise sustain the community that toils and struggles in the field of life.’
“What a wonderfully uplifting challenge to all of us to become poets of prayer!
“Pope Francis concludes his message by asking us all to make this World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly known in our parishes and communities. I echo his words and I invite parishes across the country to celebrate grandparents and elders – not forgetting our older priests and religious – on the second last Sunday of July. I would also encourage parishes to ensure that their local nursing care home is included in this annual celebration.”
Pope Francis’ Message for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Many people are afraid of old age. They consider it a sort of disease with which any contact is best avoided. The elderly, they think, are none of their concern and should be set apart, perhaps in homes or places where they can be cared for, lest we have to deal with their problems. This is the mindset of the “throw-away culture”, which leads us to think that we are somehow different from the poor and vulnerable in our midst, untouched by their frailties and separated from “them” and their troubles. The Scriptures see things differently. A long life – so the Bible teaches – is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance. Blessed is the house where an older person lives! Blessed is the family that honours the elderly!
Old age is not a time of life easily understood even by those of us who are already experiencing it. Even though it eventually comes with the passage of time, no one prepares us for old age, and at times it seems to take us by surprise. The more developed societies expend large sums on this stage of life without really helping people to understand and appreciate it; they offer healthcare plans to the elderly but not plans for living this age to the full.  This makes it hard to look to the future and discern what direction to take. On the one hand, we are tempted to ward off old age by hiding our wrinkles and pretending to be forever young, while on the other, we imagine that the only thing we can do is bide our time, thinking glumly that we cannot “still bring forth fruit”.
Click here to read the full text of Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
Video – Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network
The Pope Video for July has been released with the prayer intention that Francis is entrusting to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. This month, the Holy Father prays “for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people; may their experience and wisdom help young people to look towards the future with hope and responsibility.” This intention coincides with the celebration of the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
Click here to watch the video and please pray for all Grandparents and Elders this month.
I give thanks to you, Lord,
For the blessing of a long life
For, to those who take refuge in You, Grant always to bear fruit.
Forgive, O Lord,
Resignation and disillusionment, But forsake me not
When my strength declines.
Teach me to look with hope
To the future you give me,
To the mission you entrust to me And to sing your praises without end.
Make me a tender craftsman
Of Your revolution,
To guard with love my grandchildren
And all the little ones who seek shelter in You.
Protect, O Lord, Pope Francis
And grant Thy Church
To deliver the world from loneliness. Direct our steps in the way of peace.
you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits
of their mature human and spiritual experience.
help families and society
to value the presence and role of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity
for the great embrace of life without end. Amen!
Plant a Tree in their memory
By planting this tree, families and parishes have a chance to remember all those grandparents and elders, including elderly priests and religious, who have passed away after a lifetime of dedication, love and service to their families and parishes.
The tree planting could be a small private and prayerful event in the garden of a family home or it could be something that takes place in the grounds of the local parish church.
The planting ceremony could take place after Mass for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
A well known quote reminds us that ‘Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago’.
Not only is this a wonderful way for families and parishes to honour grandparents and elders, it is also a wonderful way to give something to future generations.
A short prayer service resource for the Plant a Tree in their Memory initiative in available from the Catholic Grandparents Association. You can find out more on www.catholicgrandparentsassociation.org
Plenary Indulgence for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022
In a decree published on Monday 30 May, the Apostolic Penitentiary – the Vatican tribunal responsible for issues relating to mercy and the forgiveness of sins in the Church – announced several grants of indulgences for those taking part in the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which this year falls on Sunday 24 July.
A plenary indulgence, which may also be obtained in suffrage for the souls in Purgatory, is granted:
– to grandparents, the elderly, and the faithful who, motivated by a true spirit of penance and charity, will participate on July 24th in the solemn celebration that Pope Francis will preside over in the Vatican, or in the various functions that take place throughout the world;
– to the faithful who, on the same day, devote adequate time to visit, in person or virtually through the media, their disabled brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty (such as the sick, the abandoned, or the disabled
– to the sick elderly and to all those who, unable to leave their homes for a serious reason, will unite spiritually with the sacred services of the World Day, offering to the Merciful God their prayers, the pains and sufferings of their lives, especially while the words of the Supreme Pontiff and the various celebrations are broadcast through the media
The grants of indulgence, “from the heavenly treasures of the Church,” are made under the usual conditions of sacramental Confession, Eucharistic confession, and prayers for the intentions of the Pope.
In the decree announcing the indulgences, the Apostolic Penitentiary also “firmly requests” priests to make themselves available, “with a ready and generous spirit,” to hear confessions so that “this opportunity to attain divine grace through the power of the Keys of the Church may be more easily realised through pastoral charity.”
Social Media Visuals
The following social media visuals are offered for use to promote the central theme of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on social media. Please also follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@catholicbishops) for more up to date visuals as we get closer to the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.