Religious Education and Social Justice

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

By Carol Glatz


Pope Francis has dedicated Sunday 24th July to World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly with the emphasis on the importance of inviting older people to contribute to building a better world.  


The pope has chosen “They shall bear fruit even in old age” from the Book of Psalms (92:15) as the theme for the second world day, being celebrated July 24, 2022.


The theme “intends to emphasize how grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities,” said a Feb. 15 communique from the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, which was promoting the world day.


The same day, the pope tweeted that elderly “should be cared for like a treasure of humanity: they are our wisdom, our memory. It is crucial that grandchildren remain close to their grandparents, who are like roots from which they draw the sap of human and spiritual values.”


In its communique, the dicastery said this year’s theme “is also an invitation to reconsider and value grandparents and the elderly who are too often kept on the margins of families, civil and ecclesial communities. Their experience of life and faith can contribute, in fact, to building societies that are aware of their roots and capable of dreaming of a future based on greater solidarity.”

“The invitation to listen to the wisdom of the years is also particularly significant in the context of the synodal journey that the church has undertaken,” it added.


The dicastery invited parishes, dioceses, associations and other church communities throughout the world to find ways to celebrate the day. It said it also would make some pastoral resources available soon.


Pope Francis established the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday of July to coincide with the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, to emphasize the pastoral care of the elderly as a priority. Not only are grandchildren and young people called upon to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have a mission of evangelization, proclamation and prayer, and of encouraging young people in their faith, the dicastery has said.






Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Grandparents

Lord Jesus, 

you were born of the Virgin Mary,

the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.

Look with love on grandparents 

the world over.

Protect them! 

They are a source of enrichment for families, 

for the Church and for all of society.

Support them!  

As they grow older,

may they continue to be for their families 

strong pillars of Gospel faith,

guardians of noble domestic ideals,

living treasuries of sound religious traditions.

Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,

that they may pass on to future generations 

the fruits of their mature human 

and spiritual experience.

Lord Jesus,help families and society to

 value the presence 

and role of grandparents.

May they never be ignored or excluded,

but always encounter respect and love.

Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed in all the years of life 

which you give them.

Mary, Mother of all the living,

keep grandparents constantly in your care,

accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,

and by your prayers, 

grant that all families 

may one day be reunited 

in our heavenly homeland,

where you await all humanity

 for the great embrace of life without end.  Amen!


Jane Wilkinson

Religious Education Leader