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The fruitfulness of the aged reflected in theme for 2nd World Day for Grandparents and Elderly


By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis, on Tuesday, announced the theme for the Second World Day for Grandparents and Elderly with a tweet:

“In old age they will still bear fruit” (Psalms 92:15). I have chosen this theme for the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be held on 24 July 2022, to promote dialogue among the generations, especially between grandparents and grandchildren. @LaityFamilyLife

The Day

The explanation of the theme came shortly prior to the Pope's tweet, in a statement from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life that organises the day.

he World Day for Grandparents and the elderly was established by Pope Francis, one year ago, in 2021. Last year, during Holy Mass marking the day, the Pope reflected on three moments in the Gospel involving bread: “Jesus sees the crowd’s hunger; Jesus shares the bread; Jesus asks that the leftovers be collected.” He summed up these three passages with three verbs: to see, to share, to preserve, thus inaugurating the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly by describing them as "the bread that nourishes our life.” Now, preparations begin for the second World Day, celebrated annually on 24 July throughout the universal Church. 

The theme

In its statement, the Dicastery writes that the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the occasion "intends to emphasize how grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities".

"The theme is also an invitation to reconsider and value grandparents and the elderly who are too often kept on the margins of families, civil and ecclesial communities. Their experience of life and faith can contribute, in fact, to building societies that are aware of their roots and capable of dreaming of a future based on greater solidarity", continues the statement, adding that "the invitation to listen to the wisdom of the years is also particularly significant in the context of the synodal journey that the Church has undertaken".

Finally, the statement concludes stressing that the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life "invites parishes, dioceses, associations and ecclesial communities throughout the world to find ways to celebrate the Day in their own pastoral context, and for this purpose, it will later make available some appropriate pastoral tools".

The Pope and the elderly

Pope Francis has often expressed the importance of protecting and looking up to grandparents and the elderly.

Notably, as the world started suffering the first consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, of which the elderly were amongst the most affected, Pope Francis urged all young people to be close to them. He has also claimed, on the eve of his birthday two years ago, that "prayers of the elderly are powerful". Old age is a blessing, he has said, adding that the elderly "have a role in God's saving plan!"

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