The elderly will pray for the young people headed to Lisbon for World Youth day, while Catholics are offered plenary indulgences to visit the elderly who are alone.
The Vatican is preparing to celebrate the third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, with a special Mass on Sunday, July 23, 2023. The event will include a show of support and prayer from the elderly for the young people who are making their way to Lisbon for World Youth Day.
The Church is offering plenary indulgences to those who visit the elderly who are alone.
In Rome, the celebration will be centered around a special 10 a.m. Mass in St. Peter’s, presided over by Pope Francis. At the event, the Diocese of Rome will hand out the prayer for the Third World Day for Grandparents. It will also include Pope Francis’ message to grandparents and the elderly.
Some 6,000 elderly people from all over Italy and the world will be at the Vatican for the Mass, including grandparents with their families, elderly residents of retirement and residential nursing homes, as well as many elderly people who are active in their Catholic communities.
After the Mass, five elderly people who represent the five continents will take part in a symbolic gesture, handing over the WYD Pilgrim’s Cross to five young people who will attend WYD in Lisbon. With this gesture, the elderly symbolically pass the transmission of faith “from age to age,” as well as reaffirming their commitment to pray for the departing youth and accompany them with their blessing, as they were invited by the Holy Father.
The Church is encouraging every Catholic diocese in the world to join in the celebration of grandparents and the elderly by holding a Mass dedicated to them. Parishes and individuals are also encouraged to perform corporal works of mercy, visiting elderly people who are alone. See here about the plenary indulgences offered to those who perform these acts of charity.
In a press release from The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, they pointed out two examples of dioceses taking part in the world wide celebration. In Brazil, the Bishop’s Conference has organized a Mass for the Elderly to be held at the Aparecida Shrine. Meanwhile, in Canada, the Canadian Bishops’ Conference has released a video inviting young people to visit the elderly in nursing homes.
The Organizing Committee of the WYD in Lisbon has joined in Pope Francis’ invitation, launching two initiatives: the first is called Queridos Avós, which promotes a chain of prayer from grandparents and the elderly to accompany the young people leaving for Lisbon; and the second is a social media challenge inviting all young people to visit their grandparents before the WYD and take a photo or video with them.