Fr Eamonn's Blog

Diocesan Grandparents Week 2021

Pope Francis on Grandparents

I had the great blessing of growing up in a family in which faith was lived in a simple, practical way. However it was my paternal grandmother in particular who influenced my journey of faith. She was a woman who explained to us, who talked to us about Jesus, who taught us the Catechism. I always remember that on the evening of Good Friday she would take us to the candle-light procession, and at the end of this procession “the dead Christ” would arrive and our grandmother would make us — the children — kneel down and she would say to us: “Look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will rise”. This was how I received my first Christian proclamation, from this very woman, from my grandmother! This is really beautiful! The first proclamation at home, in the family! And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and grandmothers in the transmission of faith. They are the ones who pass on the faith.2013

The future – and this is not an exaggeration – will be in the dialogue between young and old. If grandparents do not dialogue with grandchildren, there will be no future. 2019

“Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives” (Aparaceida No. 447)

Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, every family is part of the history of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it. Therefore, today we have grandparents and children. The children learn from their grandparents, from the previous generation 2013

In a special way, old age is a time of grace, in which the Lord renews his call to us: he calls us to safeguard and transmit the faith, he calls us to pray, especially to intercede; he calls us to be close to those in need…. The elderly, grandparents have the ability to understand the most difficult of situations: a great ability! And when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong; it is powerful! ( Meeting with the elderly 2014)

“Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (Ps 71,9). This is the plea of the elderly, who fear being forgotten and rejected. Just as God asks us to be his means of hearing the cry of the poor, so too he wants us to hear the cry of the elderly. This represents a challenge to families and communities, since “the Church cannot and does not want to conform to a mentality of impatience, and much less of indifference and contempt, towards old age. We must reawaken the collective sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which makes the elderly feel like a living part of the community. Our elderly are men and women, fathers and mothers, who came before us on our own road, in our own house, in our daily battle for a worthy life”. Indeed, “how I would like a Church that challenges the throw-away culture by the overflowing joy of a new embrace between young and old!” Amoris Laetitia 191

If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands.Christus Vivit 199

“The Holy Spirit … arouses thoughts and words of wisdom in the elderly today: their voice is precious because it sings the praises of God and guards the roots of peoples. They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations, to transmit to young people an experience of life and faith,” Pope Francis said in the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace Jan. 31.

Diocesan Prayer for Grandparents

Loving father, we pray for all grandparents

Help them to reflect your unconditional love in their relationship with their families.

Grant them the gifts of wisdom and patience to enable them to  support their families and be there to encourage, advise and inspire, in their turn, their children’s children.

May they be for their Grandchildren a safe refuge of consistency, offering witness to all of a life  which is inspired  by Gospel values, enriched by prayer and fuelled by  the hope of the  eternal kingdom.

Grandparents’ Groups: 

Within the Diocese we have several active grandparent groups who gather to pray for their grandchildren and to share the highs and lows of this stage of life. Remember when you joined toddler groups when your children were young, to find likeminded people and unlimited support ? It’s a bit like that, chat over issues such as how to help your Grandchildren without upsetting your own children…or their spouse !! How to pass on your faith and find strength in praying about it all together.

If you are interested in joining or creating a group in you parish please do contact Katherine Bergin at Katherine.bergin@abdiocese.org.uk

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