This month, Pope Francis is praying “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.”
The Pope Video illustrating the Pope’s prayer intention 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 intention coincides with the celebration of the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated on Sunday, July 24, in Rome as well as in all the dioceses around the world.
For the elderly, “there are many plans for assistance, but few projects for existence.”
A large generation
Speaking in the first person about the elderly, Pope Francis says:
“There have never been so many of us in the history of humanity, but we don’t quite know how to live this new stage of life.”
In recent decades, the number of persons over the age of 65 has grown. This phenomenon of population aging particularly affects the most developed countries, where 25% of the elderly live alone. For the elderly, “there are many plans for assistance, but few projects for existence,” the Pope laments in this video, which was made in collaboration with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and the Fondazione Alberto Sordi.
A life mission for the elderly
In the context of a world with many wounds, the Holy Father points to a fundamental role for the elderly generation.
“We elderly people often have a special sensitivity for care, for reflection, and affection. We are, or we can become, teachers of tenderness,” the Pope says. “In this world accustomed to war, we need a true revolution of tenderness. We have a great responsibility towards new generations about this.”
The Church is near
Regarding the mission of the elderly in the world and in the Church, Cardinal Kevin Farrell,Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said the following:
“The Holy Father invites us to become aware of the relevance of the elderly in the life of society and of our communities, and to do so not sporadically, but structurally, with a regular pastoral outreach. That is to say, it’s not about rushing to deal with an emergency, but laying the foundations for long-term pastoral work that will require our involvement for decades to come. Beyond reaffirming the importance of fighting the throwaway culture, the Pope also seems to want to offer reference points for those who are experiencing the bewilderment of finding themselves getting along in years. For this reason, he has chosen to institute a World Day to be celebrated every year and which will mark the liturgical season: to say that the Church is near to the elderly.”
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