Pope Francis to elderly: As war breaks out, be teachers of peace

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“In old age they will still bear fruit.”
This passage from the book of psalms will be the theme for the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated on July 24. 

In his message to the elderly for the special day, Pope Francis notes the significance of a new war breaking out in Europe just as the generation who lived through World War II is dying out, and calls on the elderly “be teachers of a way of life that is peaceful and attentive to those in greatest need.”

The Vatican also revealed this year's logo of an embrace, symbolizing encounter and dialogue between generations.

At a press conference presenting the Pope's message, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the dicastery responsible for organizing the World Day, says this year's theme is embodied by Pope Francis, who in recent weeks has begun using a wheelchair during his daily audiences.

Prefect, Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

He shows us also, that with the limitations he has, physically, and with age, that he's not going to stop.

The Cardinal also addressed the war in Ukraine, noting how the elderly who are often unable to leave their homes bear the brunt of the conflict.

Prefect, Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life
There are no words to describe the horror and the suffering of what goes on. Elderly people, and young children, are the ones who suffer more than anybody, and they're the ones that are suffering the consequences.

Also participating in the press conference was an elderly woman who shared how she worked to welcome Ukrainian refugees into her town in northern Italy, and a woman from India who recounted how she organized visits by by young people to elderly persons for last year's celebration. 

The Pope first instituted World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021, to be celebrated each fourth Sunday of July near the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Jesus' grandparents.


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