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Grandparents a treasure to cherish


The valuable role older members of the Church play in their families and forming the faith of the younger generation will be honoured in parishes around the Archdiocese later this month.

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The second World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated on Sunday July 24, just before the Feast of St Anne and St Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus, two days later.

Pope Francis has chosen the theme ‘In old age they will still bear fruit’ (Psalm 92:15) to emphasise how grandparents and the elderly are of value and a gift for society and Church communities. He said their task was to ‘keep memories alive and transmit the faith to younger generations’, adding they were a significant component of the Catholic laity and ‘companions on the journey’.

Seacombe Gardens parishioner and grandmother of four, Cathy Tilley, said she felt privileged to be able to share her faith and spend time with her grandchildren Mabel, 5, twins Daphne and
Edith, 3, and Fletcher, 2 months.

“Now Mabel is at school I love hearing her read after school and talking about religion as she is learning so much and is fascinated with it,” Mrs Tilley said.

“We were lucky that our daughter and her husband and three granddaughters relocated to Adelaide from Sydney just before COVID hit. We felt blessed to have them live with us for a while and become so much a part of their lives.

“Watching them grow from little babies into toddlers and school kids with their unique personalities, it gives you so much pleasure and certainly keeps you busy!

“I think it is also beneficial for the grandkids to have lots to do with their grandparents as they have so much to offer.”

Mrs Tilley added that with the recent arrival of Fletcher, it was lovely to live close to his parents and “be such a big part of his life from early on”.

“It’s wonderful seeing your children become parents and asking for advice – even if not always listening to it,” she laughed.

In his message to the faithful in the lead up to this month’s celebration, Pope Francis said old age was no time to “give up and lower the sails”, but a season of “enduring fruitfulness”.

“A new mission awaits us and bids us look to the future,” he said.

“Our world is passing through a time of trial and testing; beginning with the sudden, violent outbreak of the pandemic, and then by a war that is harming peace and development on a global scale. Nor is it a coincidence that war is returning to Europe at a time when the generation that experienced it in the last century is dying out.

“These great crises risk anaesthetising us to the reality of other ‘epidemics’ and other widespread forms of violence that menace the human family and our common home.

“We grandparents and elderly people have a responsibility: to teach the women and men of our time to regard others with the same understanding and loving gaze with which we regard our own grandchildren. We ourselves have grown in humanity by caring for others and now we can be teachers of a way of life that is peaceful and attentive to those in greatest need.

“The World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is an opportunity to proclaim once more, with joy, that the Church wants to celebrate together with all those whom the Lord – in the words of the Bible – has ‘filled with days’.”

Pope Francis went on to urge all parishes and communities to “seek out those elderly persons who feel most alone, at home or in residences where they live”.

“Let us make sure that no one feels alone on this day,” he said.

In the Year of the Family in 2021, Pope Francis made the decision to hold an annual World Day for Grandparents and Elderly, responding to a time marked by a pandemic and the suffering of the older generations who could not be with their families due to illness or restrictions.

Parishes are being encouraged to say a special prayer for grandparents and the elderly at Masses on July 24.

For more information and resources go to

To read Pope Francis’ message go to:


I give thanks to you, Lord,
For the blessing of a long life
For, to those who take
refuge in You,
Grant always to bear fruit.

Forgive, O Lord,
Resignation and disillusionment,
But forsake me not
When my strength declines.

Teach me to look with hope
To the future you give me,
To the mission you entrust
to me
And to sing your praises
without end.

Make me a tender craftsman
Of Your revolution,
To guard with love my grandchildren
And all the little ones who
seek shelter in You.

Protect, O Lord,
Pope Francis
And grant Thy Church
To deliver the world
from loneliness.
Direct our steps in the
way of peace. Amen.


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