July is our usual month for focusing on Grandparents. The reason for choosing this theme is because of the feastday of St Joachim and St Ann on 26th July. However a special day will be celebrated on 25th July. Focusing on grandparents in famiies underpins the other resources for the month, the THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY, the WEEKLY NEWSLETTER, articles, prayers and other occasional publications,
POPE FRANCIS INSTITUTES THE FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY on 25th JULY. with the theme “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS” The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has produced a whole package of resource material, including liturgy notes and pastoral guidelines, for this special day. The Prayer for Grandparents and the Elderly is printed below and can be used throughout the month. The whole package can be downloaded from http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en/amoris-laetitia/pastoral-resources-world-day-for-grandparents-and-the-elderly21.html.
DAILY THOUGHTS JULY
OVERVIEW. Having reflected around Youth in June, in July we reflect on the opposite extreme, old age. In a forest the eldest tree, in an animal troupe the oldest and wisest members, are respected and guarded by their offspring and the community. Humanly speaking grandparents belong in families and are its historical memory. Not all grandparents are elderly, many are active in their own lives, many others play a great role in the lives of their children and grandchildren. A potential joy to each one. In the great circle of life there is a time for everything, for birth and death, for coming and going, for remaining and leaving. All should be done with patience, consideration and acceptance. Violence and neglect of the elderly does happen in human families but also in other realms of nature.
Pope Francis: Very often it is grandparents who ensure that the most important values are passed down to their grandchildren and many people testify that they owe their initiation into the Christian life to their grandparents. AL 192. Our contemporary experience of being orphans as a result of cultural discontinuity, uprootedness and the collapse of the certainties that shape our lives, challenges us to make our families places where children can sink roots in the rich soil of a collective history. AL 193. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planted might be what he desired when he created it. LS53
JULY. THE SETTING. The setting for the reflections is a group of elderly members of the community who have learned to manage a whatsapp group, athough they call themselves the BBT (Born Before Technology) club. Sharing and commenting on a daily thought has become a source of joy and community supporting their faith and alleviating the loneliness experienced by many during these COVID times. Each daily reflection consists of a short life situation, a short passage from the daily scripture reading and a quotation from one of the documents of Pope Francis. Reading the scripture passages in full, especially those from the Old Testament, is recommended. After reading, reflecting and sharing, spending a moment praying for grandchildren can end the session.
PRAYING FOR GRANDCHILDREN.
This can be done individually or in a small sharing group of grandparents. Bring to mind each of your grandchildren and their special qualities and needs.
Heavenly Father, I worship you, and give you praise for the great gift of life you have given to me.
With gratitude, wonder and awe I acknowledge that it is through my life that you granted life to my children;
They are mine, ours and yours.
They in turn have become the parents of our grandchildren, and some of us are already blessed with greatgrandchildren in your wonderful chain of life.
It is for all these young ones that I thank you and I pray for them today.
Some of them are strong in faith, others strong in body,
Some are beautiful in looks, others beautiful in spirit and others destroy their own beauty.
The world in which they live is different from ours.
Sometimes we do not understand their world and their ways and we need your gift of forgiveness to bring us peace.
You have given them to us to love and to hold in prayer.
I ask that through my intercession no evil will befall them and that the hopes and dreams we have built up over the years will be theirs too. May your kingdom come, in their lives and in ours. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pope Francis speaks about grandparents: Not only have they given life, but they contribute by their actions to building up their family (cf. Tit 2:2-5), and by their prayer and their life of faith, they spiritually enrich every member of their family and community.