The 25th July 2021 is the day set aside for celebrating the First World Day for Grandparents and the elderly. In his message on the 22nd June 2021 to the elderly His Holiness Pope Francis said, “I am well aware that this Message comes to you at a difficult time: the pandemic swept down on us like an unexpected and furious storm; it has been a time of trial for everyone, but especially for us elderly persons. Many of us fell ill, others died or experienced the death of spouses or loved ones, while others found themselves isolated and alone for long periods.” Despite this the Holy Father wanted to the elderly to know that “The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about you, loves you and does not want to leave you alone!”
In this message the Holy Father speaks about Saint Joachim, the grandfather of Jesus, on how felt estranged from those around him because he had no children; his life, like that of his wife Anne, was considered useless. Pope Francis reminds that the Lord sent an angel to console him saying, “Joachim, Joachim! The Lord has heard your insistent prayer”. He goes on to say even at the darkest moments, as in these months of pandemic, the Lord continues to send angels to console our loneliness and to remind us: “I am with you always”.
Towards the end of the message he talks about prayer, quoting his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, a saintly elderly man, as he calls him, saying, ““the prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps more effectively than the frenetic activity of many others.”
“I ask the Lord that, also through his example, all of us may open our hearts in sensitivity to the sufferings of the poor and intercede for their needs,” said the Pope Francis.
PRAYER FOR THE FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY
I thank You, Lord,
for the comfort of Your presence:
even in times of loneliness,
You are my hope and my confidence,
You have been my rock and my fortress since my youth!
I thank You for having given me a family
and for having blessed me with a long life.
I thank You for moments of joy and difficulty,
for the dreams that have already come true in my life and for
those that are still ahead of me.
I thank You for this time of renewed fruitfulness to which You
Increase, O Lord, my faith,
make me a channel of your peace,
teach me to embrace those who suffer more than me,
to never stop dreaming
and to tell of your wonders to new generations.
Protect and guide Pope Francis and the Church,
that the light of the Gospel might reach the ends of the earth.
Send Your Spirit, O Lord, to renew the world,
that the storm of the pandemic might be calmed,
the poor consoled and wars ended.
Sustain me in weakness
and help me to live life to the full
in each moment that You give me,
in the certainty that you are with me every day,
even until the end of the age.