Isn’t Grandparents Day in September?
Yes, in the United States the Sunday after Labor Day was designated by President Carter as Grandparents’ Day. Some other countries also have a national Grandparents’ Day, but they are celebrated on other dates. In Spain and Brazil, Grandparents’ Day is July 26, the Feast of Jesus’ grandparents, Ss. Joachim and Ann.
What is World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly?
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly (WDGE) is a day set aside by Pope Francis for people the world over to reach out to grandparents and the elderly among them. It is a day to bring our grandparents or elderly neighbor to mass with us, to spend time with them, to recognize their importance in the family, their faith and their wisdom. Most of all, it is a day for prayer and works of mercy.
Why this date and why this year?
The Holy Father attributes his own faith to the example and teaching of his grandmother and speaks often of the significant role grandparents have in handing down the faith. He chose this year for the first WDGE because he is concerned for the elderly who have been so isolated during the pandemic, particularly those in nursing homes. Through his words and through our action and words, he wants them to know that God remembers them and cares for them. They are not alone. He chose the fourth Sunday of July for what will be an annual celebration because it is the Sunday that is closest to the Feast of Ss. Joachim and Ann.
Will the parish do anything special for this day?
Yes, the Saturday evening and all Sunday Holy Masses will acknowledge and honor the grandparents and elderly of the parish and our visitors. A copy of Pope Francis’ message to Grandparents and the Elderly, as well as a prayer he has written for them, will be given to them after Mass.
What can we do as a family to celebrate World Day for Grandparents and Elderly?
Start now by helping your children think of special things they can do for their grandparents or a neighbor. Talk with your children about memories of your own grandparents and parents, particularly things they taught you about faith and loving God. Call your parents now and invite them to come to Mass with you on July 25. If they are not able to come to Mass, and if they struggle with technology, offer to help them join the 9:30AM Holy Mass by livestreaming (www.saintcyrils.church).
What if our grandparents are deceased?
Although they are no longer present in our daily life, our bond with our grandparents and other family continues on as we pray for them and we trust they pray for us. We can remember to pray especially for them on WDGE and, perhaps, make a visit to the cemetery.
Also, just as there are children who do not have grandparents, so there are elderly who have no grandchildren. Make a point of visiting an older neighbor or a relative who might be lonely.
My parents and I don’t get along/My child and I aren’t speaking to each other.
This is a very painful situation for many. Sometimes the injuries of the past are so deep and so painful that we don’t want to risk further pain. Or we are so angry that it is impossible to control our temper. WDGE is not something we can look forward to or think about celebrating. Pope Francis realizes ruptures exist in families, and the feelings of hurt and anger are real. He encourages those of us in such situations to reflect on the story of the Prodigal Son/The Forgiving Father. Can we ask ourselves in prayer, “Is there some aspect of this situation where I can acknowledge my fault and apologize? Can I forgive the person who has hurt me so deeply if they can take at least some responsibility, or even if they take none at all?” Forgiving injuries may be the most difficult of the spiritual works of mercy; but, because it is in imitation of Jesus’ greatest act of love, it can also be the most rewarding.
Prayers for grandchildren to their grandparents: