‘His mercy is from age to age’

Bishop O'Connell's message for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
July 21, 2023 at 10:25 a.m.
Bishop O'Connell celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Grandparents and the Elderly in St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson. Mike Ehrmann photo
Bishop O'Connell celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Grandparents and the Elderly in St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson. Mike Ehrmann photo


With a call to honor and never abandon grandparents, 86-year-old Pope Francis issued his third annual message for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to be celebrated on the weekend of July 22-23, close to the feast of Jesus' own grandparents, Saints Joachim and Anne.

Taking as his theme “His mercy is from age to age (Luke 1:15),” the Holy Father wrote:

… let us remember that our life is meant to be lived to the full, and that our greatest hopes and dreams are not achieved instantly but through a process of growth and maturation, in dialogue and in relationship with others. Those who focus only on the here and now, on money and possessions, on “having it all now”, are blind to the way God works. His loving plan spans past, present and future; it embraces and connects the generations. It is greater than we are, yet includes each of us and calls us at every moment to keep pressing forward.

… I would invite you to make a concrete gesture that would include grandparents and the elderly. Let us not abandon them. Their presence in families and communities is a precious one, for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots. From the elderly we received the gift of belonging to God’s holy people. The Church, as well as society, needs them, for they entrust to the present the past that is needed to build the future. Let us honor them, neither depriving ourselves of their company nor depriving them of ours. May we never allow the elderly to be cast aside!

His words are profoundly beautiful and thoughtful. He speaks to all grandparents and elderly people from his own experience of a wise old age that continues to bear courageously with the challenges to his health posed by the passing of time. So many Catholics and people of faith and good will see in him a “spiritual grandfather” who lovingly embraces the whole world as his family in God.

As time marches on for me, I encourage all the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to reach out in special ways to their own grandparents or to elderly neighbors who may simply need to know they are not forgotten. Show some extra love. Make a call. Send a card. Best of all, pay a visit. Hold a hand as well as a heart. And give them a prominent place in your prayers.

On the weekend of July 22-23, as we celebrate the feast of the grandparents of Jesus, I am also mindful of the 85 priests of the Diocese of Trenton who have “born the heat of the day” in our parishes and institutions, serving and ministering to us and who are now retired. They are truly our “spiritual grandparents.” Many continue to offer Masses and share the Sacraments in our parishes. How can we thank them for the witness of their lives of faith? How can we help take care of and provide for them?

As Bishop, I invite all the clergy and faithful of the Diocese, once again, to show the generosity for which I have come to know you so well by contributing to the annual collection for the retired, elderly and infirm priests of the Diocese. They, too, deserve our love and gratitude in their twilight years!

May God bless your kindness and shower his abundant graces upon all our beloved grandparents, “spiritual grandparents” and elderly.

Read the Holy Father's message in full HERE.



 



With a call to honor and never abandon grandparents, 86-year-old Pope Francis issued his third annual message for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to be celebrated on the weekend of July 22-23, close to the feast of Jesus' own grandparents, Saints Joachim and Anne.

Taking as his theme “His mercy is from age to age (Luke 1:15),” the Holy Father wrote:

… let us remember that our life is meant to be lived to the full, and that our greatest hopes and dreams are not achieved instantly but through a process of growth and maturation, in dialogue and in relationship with others. Those who focus only on the here and now, on money and possessions, on “having it all now”, are blind to the way God works. His loving plan spans past, present and future; it embraces and connects the generations. It is greater than we are, yet includes each of us and calls us at every moment to keep pressing forward.

… I would invite you to make a concrete gesture that would include grandparents and the elderly. Let us not abandon them. Their presence in families and communities is a precious one, for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots. From the elderly we received the gift of belonging to God’s holy people. The Church, as well as society, needs them, for they entrust to the present the past that is needed to build the future. Let us honor them, neither depriving ourselves of their company nor depriving them of ours. May we never allow the elderly to be cast aside!

His words are profoundly beautiful and thoughtful. He speaks to all grandparents and elderly people from his own experience of a wise old age that continues to bear courageously with the challenges to his health posed by the passing of time. So many Catholics and people of faith and good will see in him a “spiritual grandfather” who lovingly embraces the whole world as his family in God.

As time marches on for me, I encourage all the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to reach out in special ways to their own grandparents or to elderly neighbors who may simply need to know they are not forgotten. Show some extra love. Make a call. Send a card. Best of all, pay a visit. Hold a hand as well as a heart. And give them a prominent place in your prayers.

On the weekend of July 22-23, as we celebrate the feast of the grandparents of Jesus, I am also mindful of the 85 priests of the Diocese of Trenton who have “born the heat of the day” in our parishes and institutions, serving and ministering to us and who are now retired. They are truly our “spiritual grandparents.” Many continue to offer Masses and share the Sacraments in our parishes. How can we thank them for the witness of their lives of faith? How can we help take care of and provide for them?

As Bishop, I invite all the clergy and faithful of the Diocese, once again, to show the generosity for which I have come to know you so well by contributing to the annual collection for the retired, elderly and infirm priests of the Diocese. They, too, deserve our love and gratitude in their twilight years!

May God bless your kindness and shower his abundant graces upon all our beloved grandparents, “spiritual grandparents” and elderly.

Read the Holy Father's message in full HERE.



 


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