(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.19.2023).- Sunday, July 23, marks the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which this year has as its theme ” His mercy is from age to age ” (Lk 1:50).
In Rome, the heart of the Day will be the Holy Mass, presided over by Pope Francis at 10 a.m. inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
More than 6,000 people will attend the Mass, including many elderly people from all over Italy: grandparents accompanied by their grandchildren and families, elderly residents living in retirement and residential nursing homes, as well as many elderly people who are active in parish, diocesan and associational life.
At the end of the celebration, five elderly people – representing the five continents – will symbolically hand over the WYD Pilgrim’s Cross to five young people leaving for Lisbon, symbolizing the transmission of faith from age to age. The gesture of handing over is also meant to represent the commitment that the elderly and grandparents have accepted, at the invitation of the Holy Father, to pray for the departing youth and accompany them with their blessing.
To all those participating in the celebration at St. Peter’s, the Diocese of Rome will present the prayer for the Third World Day and Pope Francis’ message to grandparents and the elderly.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life renews its invitation to celebrate the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in every diocese in the world with a Mass dedicated to them and by visiting the elderly people who are alone. Plenary indulgence is granted to those who perform these deeds.
In this regard, two examples of celebrations, amongst the many that will take place around the world, are that of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, which will celebrate a Mass with the elderly at the Aparecida Shrine (https://www.cnbb.org.br/3a-jornada-mundial-dos-avos-e-dos-idosos/) and that of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, which released a video inviting young people to visit the elderly in nursing homes (https://youtu.be/XZTn7V-tkbk).
The Local Organizing Committee of the WYD in Lisbon has joined in Pope Francis’ invitation, launching two initiatives: queridosavos.pt https://queridosavos.pt/ – to promote a chain of prayer of grandparents and the elderly to accompany the young people leaving for Lisbon – and a social media challenge inviting all young people to visit their grandparents before the day and take a photo or video with them.