The plight of the elderly has been an issue close to the Pope's heart. On various occasions throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has highlighted the important role the elderly, particularly grandparents, play in society.
July 26, 2013
"How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family.”
He has also noted the part they play in transmitting faith to the younger generations.
November 19, 2013
"Let's pray for our grandfathers and grandmothers, who so very often have played a heroic role in transmitting the faith, even in times of persecution. When mom and dad weren't home, or when they had a strange belief system that reflected the politics of that time, grandparents were the ones who passed on the faith.”
Now leading up to the Synod of the Family and next year's World Meeting of Families, the Pope will call attention to this important aspect of the family on September 28th when he meets with grandparents and elderly from around the world.
The meeting, entitled "The Blessing of a Long Life”, will include the witness of several elderly people who will speak on their experience in this final stage in life. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family noted the significance of the event.
ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
"It is the first time the Pope will meet with a significant number of elderly people. It is not just any audience. It's meant to underline that the Church, the politicians, administrators, and the economical system need to reflect on the importance of these advanced years in our life.”
Archbishop Paglia said that a notable moment at the event will be the participation of two elderly refugees from Iraq who will give witness to "the absurdity of war”.