The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will meet with the elderly at the Vatican on Sunday, September 28th — a day dedicated to those with old age.
“The Blessing of a Long Life” will begin in the morning with a Mass celebrated by the Pope in St. Peter’s Square. During the day, which is organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pope will meet participants, reported Vatican Radio.
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, explained the thought behind the initiative. He said the day is “based on the assumption that old age is not a shipwreck, but a vocation.
“Thanks to God the years of life have accumulated – society allows this – but, on the other hand, on this issue, an adequate reflection has not yet been developed. There is none, neither in politics nor economics, nor in culture.”
Archbishop Paglia said he hopes that the event will draw public attention to the importance of old age. He added: “It should be stressed that the elderly are not only the object of attention or care, but that they themselves also have a new perspective in life. That’s the point.”
“Therefore,” he continued, “their advanced age needs to be rethought, and their commitment to the world and in the Church must be reconsidered.” He stressed that the Church must pay more attention to the elderly.
Turning to the role of the elderly and grandparents, the prelate added that in addition to the traditional tasks of transmitting the faith and helping parents, they also are be engaged in other equally important areas, such as prayer and evangelization.
Reflecting on all that elderly people contribute culturally and through experience, Archbishop Paglia called upon civil society to relate to old age with particular care, and to conceive the weakening of life not as a final tragedy, but rather as a testimony of hope in the hereafter. (D.C.L.)