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Rome Reports

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Global experts meet in Vatican to discuss challenges elderly people face

The Vatican will spend three days looking at the richness of aging. It's the first international conference dedicated to pastoral care of the elderly. It gathers around 500 experts from 60 countries.

The pope has often mentioned the challenges the elderly face.

The elderly, at a social level, should not be seen as a burden, but as what they really are, a resource and a richness. They are the memory of a people! This is evident in their volunteer activities, precious occasions to live the dimension of gratitude.

The conference aims to reflect on the throwaway culture, care for the elderly, their role in the Church and the responsibility of families.

The Ascent Movement (Spain)
“I think there are two fundamental dimensions to keep in mind. The first is to evaluate their situation, including situations of limitation, abandonment and being discarded, which are common with a large part of the elderly population. We also have to remember that the elderly aren't just beneficiaries of the Church's pastoral care, but protagonists in that same work.”

Pastoral Care for Elderly Persons, CNBB (Brazil)
“For us, it's an opportunity to better understand what other countries do. We know what we do in Brazil, but we have no idea what other countries are doing for the elderly at the Church and pastoral levels.”

The conference is organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. It will take place in Rome from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, 2020. The pope will hold a special encounter with them on the final day.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: Claudia Torres