Pope Francis on Sunday instituted a “World day for Grandparents and the Elderly” in the Roman Catholic Church to be marked once a year to honor them and to underscore their importance to society.
Francis, making the surprise announcement at his Sunday noon address, said it would be marked on the fourth Sunday of July each year in Catholic communities around the world.
The Catholic Church already has a World Day of Peace, which Pope Paul instituted in 1967, a World Day of Youth, which Pope John Paul II established in 1984, and a World Day of the Poor, which Francis started in 2017.
Vatican News adds:
Recalling the upcoming feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple – when the elderly Simeon and Anna encountered the child Jesus and recognized Him as the Messiah – Pope Francis said, “the Holy Spirit even today stirs up thoughts and words of wisdom in the elderly.” The voice of the elderly “is precious,” he said, “because it sings the praises of God and preserves the roots of the peoples.”
The elderly, he continued, “remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between the different generation, to pass on to the young the experience of life.”
The Holy Father said he instituted the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly because “grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on” what the elderly have received.
He emphasized the importance of grandparents and grandchildren getting to know one another, because “as the prophet Joel says, grandparents seeing their grandchildren dream,” while “young people, drawing strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy.”