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Pope Francis has set an annual date to honor grandparents and other elders, lamenting that they are often forgotten despite the wisdom they have to offer society.
Francis announced on Sunday that each year, on the fourth Sunday in July, the Roman Catholic Church will honor seniors who have “thoughts and words of wisdom” to offer.
This year, Francis will celebrate a special Mass in their honor on the evening of July 25, pandemic restrictions permitting, the Vatican has said. In the usual Sunday noon remarks, Francis noted that each year on July 26, the church honors Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
Grandparents, says Francis, pass on experiences of “life and faith” to young people.
The 84-year-old Pope, who is familiar with grandparents in his remarks on their value to society, cited the “thoughts and words of wisdom” of older people.
“Their voice is precious because they sing the praises of God and preserve the roots of the peoples,” Francis said from the library of the Apostolic Palace instead of a window facing St. Peter’s Square to discourage crowds from gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They remind us that old age is a gift, and that grandparents are the link that connects the generations, to pass on to young people the experience of life and of faith,” said the Pope.
“Grandparents, so often, are forgotten, and we forget this wealth of safeguarding and transmitting roots,” said Francis.
“It’s important that grandparents meet their grandchildren and grandchildren meet their grandparents,” Francis said. He added that “the grandparents will dream, have great desires, as far as the grandchildren are concerned, and the young, taking the strength of the grandparents, will move forward.”