By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY — Celebrate Grandparents’ Day with Pope Francis at the Vatican!
The Vatican is inviting the world’s older generation to a special day and Mass with the pope in St. Peter’s Square.
All you have to do is “apply” to request attendance by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a fax to +39.06.698.87272.
“The Blessing of Long Life” event will be held Sunday Sept. 28 — the world day of prayer for the synod of bishops on the family — and a few weeks after National Grandparents’ Day in the U.S. (a number of countries celebrate Grandparents’ Day sometime in September or October).
The Pontifical Council for the Family, which is organizing the event, has chosen verse 18 from Psalm 71 as the theme for the day:
“Now that I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, God,
That I may proclaim your might
to all generations yet to come…”
Pope Francis very forcefully reminds people of the untapped riches our elders have to offer with their life experiences, faith and wisdom. He has said communities that do not care for and respect the elderly don’t have a future because they’ll be rootless without their memories.
Pope Francis greets an elderly woman in a wheelchair during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square March 5, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The pope once said that, when he is feeling blue, he loves to read chapter 26 of Deuteronomy, which talks about God’s plan of letting new generations reap the fruits of their elders.
“To look at the elderly is to recognize that that man made his life’s path toward me…to realize that I am just one more link, that I have to honor those who have preceded me and that I have to allow myself to be honored by those who are going to follow.
…The wisdom of the elderly has helped me a lot and that’s why, time and again, I tend to venerate them.”
– then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in the book, “On Heaven and Earth”
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