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Pope encourages "a new alliance between young and old".

Pope Francis said yesterday at the Angelus, and at the Mass celebrated by the Prefect of the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisiquella, that "grandparents need young people and young people need grandparents: they need to talk, they need to meet each other!"

Rafael Miner-July 26, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes
grandparents

Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring

The Church in Spain celebrates today the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary, the 26th anniversary of the birth of the Virgin Mary. World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. In the Angelus Yesterday in Rome, Pope Francis asked for "a round of applause for all grandparents, for everyone! Grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together have manifested one of the beautiful faces of the Church and have shown the covenant between generations. I invite you to celebrate this Day in every community and to visit grandparents and the elderly, those who are most alone, to give them my message, inspired by the promise of Jesus: 'I am with you every day.

"I ask the Lord that this feast may help us older people," the Holy Father added, "to respond to his call at this stage of life, and show society the value of the presence of grandparents and the elderly, especially in this throwaway culture."

The Pope synthesized at this point some of the arguments he had formulated in the homily of the Mass read two hours earlier by Msgr. Rino Fisiquella, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. "Grandparents have the sap of history that rises and gives strength to the tree that grows. It comes to mind - I think I have already quoted it - that passage from a poet: 'what the tree has of flowering, lives on what it has buried'."

"Without dialogue between young people and grandparents," Francis continued, "history does not go on, life does not go on: we must take this up again, it is a challenge for our culture. Grandparents have the right to dream while looking at young people, and young people have the right to the courage of prophecy by taking the sap of their grandparents. Please do this: meet grandparents and young people and talk, dialogue. And it will make everyone happy.

"Young and old, together".

Hours earlier, Archbishop Rino Fisiquella, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, who celebrated Holy Mass in St. Peter's on behalf of the Pope, read the homily prepared by the Holy Father for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

In it, Pope Francis referred to the "hunger" that grandparents have today for us, "for our attention, for our tenderness, for feeling close to us. Let us raise our eyes to them, as Jesus does with us". Then, commenting on the parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, he said: "Share. Having seen the hunger of those people, Jesus wants to satisfy them. And he does so thanks to the gift of a young boy, who offers his five loaves and two fish. It is very beautiful that a boy, a young man, who shares what he has, is at the center of this prodigy from which so many adult people - about five thousand people - benefited".

"Today we need a new alliance between the young and the old, to share the common treasure of life, to dream together, to overcome conflicts between generations in order to prepare the future for all," the Pope stressed. "Without this covenant of life, of dreams and of the future, we risk starvation, because broken bonds, loneliness, selfishness and disintegrating forces increase. Often, in our societies, we have given our lives to the idea that 'everyone should take care of himself'. But that kills.

"The Gospel exhorts us to share what we are and what we have; this is the only way in which we can be satisfied. I have often recalled what the Prophet Joel says in this regard (cf. Joel 3:1): young and old together," the Holy Father added. "The young, prophets of the future who do not forget the history from which they come; the elderly, never weary dreamers who pass on their experience to the young, without hindering them along the way. Young and old, the treasure of tradition and the freshness of the Spirit. Young and old together. In society and in the Church: together".

The Holy Father also referred to the memory of our elders and the risk of losing our roots. "Let us not lose the memory of which our elders are the bearers, because we are children of that history, and without roots we will wither," he said. "They have guarded us throughout the stages of our growth, now it is up to us to guard their lives, to lighten their difficulties, to be attentive to their needs, to create the conditions to facilitate their daily tasks and not to feel alone."

Benedict XVI and grandparents

Fifteen years ago, during the Fifth World Meeting of Families held in Valencia in 2006, then Pope Benedict XVI addressed grandparents in particular, after Italian actor Lino Banfi called him "the grandfather of the world".

During the festive meeting, according to numerous media, including Vatican Radio, he said: "I would now like to refer to grandparents, who are so important in families. They can be - and so often are - the guarantors of the affection and tenderness that every human being needs to give and receive. They give the little ones the perspective of time, they are the memory and richness of families. Let us hope that, under no circumstances, they are excluded from the family circle. They are a treasure that we cannot take away from the new generations, especially when they give testimony of faith in the face of the approaching death".

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