July 25.  Sunday 17B.  Today, 25 July, will see the celebration of the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly initiated by Pope Francis. The theme chosen by him for this World Day is “I am with you always” (cf. Mt 28:20) which is a way of expressing the closeness of the Lord and the Church to every older person, especially in these challenging pandemic times.  “I am with you always” is also a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share. Not only are grandchildren and young people called upon to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have a mission of evangelisation, proclamation and prayer, and of encouraging young people in their faith.  For more google, go to www.amorislaetitia.va  or www.marfam.org.za

The elderly: a precious resource for the Holy Faithful People of God.  from Address of Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello on the institution of the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly by Pope Francis.  “Recognizing the ecclesial value of the faith of those who are simple is one of the features of this pontificate which is destined to shape the future of the Church.” And so therefore, “The decisions to establish the World Day of the Poor and the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly are in profound harmony with each other, since this shows that the poor and the elderly are not merely ‘clients’ of the Church, but are rather a significant part of the Catholic laity.” Taking the great worth the Pope attributes to the elderly Fr Mello concludes, “We can better understand the Holy Father’s insistence on opposing the “throw-away” culture.” 

At a special Mass, if necessary a virtual celebration to include as many housebound elderly as possible, a special blessing can be given to the Grandparents.  (See prayer at the beginning of the reflections for the month. See also a Grandparents Blessing and Prayer from www.marfam.org.za    

BLESSING OF GRANDPARENTS:  We pray for God’s blessing on the grandparents of our families and community:   Bless with eternal rest those grandparents who have died. Bless all grandparents with peace and contentment and an acceptance that their lives were well spent in your service. We ask St Joachim and St Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, to pray with us. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.