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Charlene Rack helps you plan ahead to celebrate the Second Annual World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

I was blessed to have parents who nurtured in me a strong attachment to my grandparents. My Grandma Casey lived with us (Grandpa Casey died long before I was born). I also visited my paternal grandparents, often spending the night with them. I loved them all very much, and that special link with the elderly has stayed with me all my life. My mom came to live with us for more than a year before she passed away, and then I was hired by an agency to provide in-home care for the elderly, which I still do now. I’ve found great joy, wisdom, love, and other buried treasure in the hearts of my many clients and other senior friends over the years. I’ve even had articles published in Celebrate Life magazine, sharing some of my experiences.

Because of my blessed encounters, I was happy to learn that the results of Pope Francis’s family synod (which took place in 2014) brought about a renewed recognition and appreciation of the elders in our lives with an official day for Catholic grandparents and the elderly.

The inaugural event (which I somehow missed) took place last year. Luckily I caught wind of it this year, just in time! I found the website of the Catholic Grandparents’ Association, the organization in charge of promoting awareness of this new celebration. The day will always fall on the Sunday closest to the feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. This year it’s July 24th. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for 2022 is “In old age, they will still bear fruit.” (Psalm, 92:15). I love that theme, because I have been witness to and enriched by that fruit!




Pope Francis had this to say in a homily for the promotion of a Catholic Grandparent’s Day:

There are times when generations of young people… feel a deeper need to be independent from their parents, breaking free from the legacy of the older generation. It’s a kind of adolescent rebellion. But unless the encounter, the meeting of the generations, is reestablished, unless a new and fruitful intergenerational equilibrium is restored, what results is a serious impoverishment for everyone, and the freedom which prevails in society is actually a false freedom, which almost always becomes a form of authoritarianism.


What strong words the Pope uses to convey the seriousness of lost relationships with our grandparents and other elderly family members!


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How can we help to foster more interaction with grandparents, elderly relatives, and other elders in our sphere of life? #catholicmom


How can we, in our own families, help to foster more interaction with grandparents, elderly relatives, and other elders in our sphere of life? Well, obviously we do our best to be in the presence of our elders as much as we possibly can, nurturing strong relationships within our extended families, and especially with grandparents. We are very blessed these days with video-chatting apps, so even with families separated by many miles (and kids old enough to understand the concept), we can still interact and laugh and catch up on all the latest news on a regular basis.

If you have no opportunities within your own family for such communication, I highly recommend volunteering to visit residents in a local retirement home. We did this with our children, often visiting our local Little Sisters of the Poor. We met some wonderful people that way. If you don’t have any specifically Catholic nursing homes nearby, you can always call any facility, and ask if there are Catholics in residence who would enjoy some visits with your Catholic family (because there is likely to be someone there just yearning for visitors!).




Check out the Catholic Grandparent’s Association website for a wealth of information on this upcoming celebration, including the opportunity of gaining a plenary indulgence! You can also read about the history of this special day and find ways to spread the news in your own parish, helping to build a better ministry for serving the elders of your congregation and guiding families in fostering strong relationships between their children and their grandparents (great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, and so on).

Embrace your family and celebrate together the second annual World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly!

Copyright 2022 Charlene Rack
Images: flowerpot photo copyright 2022 Ron Rack, all rights reserved, used with permission; tractor photo copyright 2022 Katie Lind, all rights reserved, used with permission.