Pope to explore with the senior their vocation as they live longer according to a report in the Catholic News Agency
Entitled “The Blessing of a Long Life,” the Pope’s audience with seniors on September 28 will explore the vocation of seniors.
“We have(added) 20 years of life to old people now (in Western countries), but 20 years to do what? This is the big question that this meeting wants to share with everyone,” Fr. Andrea Ciucci of the Pontifical Council for the Family told CNA July 11.
The idea to hold an audience with elderly and grandparents “came from the Pope himself,” who has spoken “many times about elderly and grandparent.
Observing how the encounter will be the first-recorded of its kind, Fr. Ciucci of the explained that the family council, who is organizing the event, anticipates “many thousands of elderly and grandparents from Italy, from Europe and probably some representatives from the other nations of the world.”
But he affirmed that there will also be thousands more who are not able to come physically, but who will participate through the television and Internet.
“It’s very important for us and for the families of the world, to present, to put a light on this age of life,” the priest continued, stating that “the elderly and grandparents are not only an object of pastoral care,” but have a “particular vocation.”
“This meeting is very important to promote the reflection of the role of elderly and grandparents in society and in the Church,” he went on, quoting President of the Pontifical Council for the Family Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia in saying that “even the Church must have this respect and reconsider the vocation of elderly.”
“For example, besides the traditional task of transmitting the faith and helping parents, there are other equally important areas to be considered, such as prayer, the prayer of the elderly and the prayer of grandparents, and the transmitting of the Gospel.”
In a July 13 video message addressing the elderly and patients of Antonio Gemelli hospital in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged them to cultivate in prayer “the flavor of the things of God,” and to “bear witness that your strength lies in God alone.”
He apologized for canceling his June 27 visit at the last minute, explaining that he had suffered from a severe headache and nausea, which is why he was unable to come.
The Pope told the sick that as patients who “experience the frailty of the body,” they are able to offer “a powerful testimony to those who are near you of how the Gospel and the
Quoting a recent speech the pontiff made, Fr. Ciucci stated that “the care given to the elderly, like that of children, is an indicator of the quality of a community. When the elderly are tossed outside, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes fade away due to a lack of care, it is an awful sign.”
This meeting, he said, “is necessary to proclaim to the world that elderly are inside the Church, are inside society,” and to go against the “awful signs” visible in today’s culture that tell us they are burdensome.
For a Vincentian perspective on aging see the following articles.
- Sr Maria Angeles Infante DC excellent article Perspectives on aging in the Vincentian Family
- Robert Maloney’s reflection on aging (which contains a section on Vincent’s own experience of aging)