World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
‘His mercy is from age to age’ (Luke 1:50)
This year we will celebrate the third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Pope Francis in 2021 declared that this special day celebrating Grandparents and the Elderly is to be held on the fourth Sunday of July. This is close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
The theme this year coincides with that of World Youth Day taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, 'His mercy is from age to age' (Lk 1:50). This is taken from the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56), and links with the World Youth Day theme where Mary sets out to visit Elizabeth 'Mary arose and went with haste' (Lk 1:39). Pope Francis in his message to people for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly asks young people who are travelling to Lisbon, before they leave, to visit an elderly person stating that "their prayers will protect you and you will carry in your heart the blessing of that encounter. I ask you, the elderly among us, to accompany by your prayers the young people about to celebrate World Youth Day".
This year the third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly falls on Sunday 23rd July. There are many ways we can celebrate this special day in our homes and parishes. We will give you some ideas to get you started on our Grandparents and the Elderly page.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the very first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly encouraged young people, in a short video message, to talk to their grandparents if they want to be a sign of hope for the world.
I would invite you to make a concrete gesture that would include grandparents and the elderly. Let us not abandon them. Their presence in families and communities is a precious one, for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots.
Ways we can celebrate:
Sunday Mass: Invite your grandchildren and family to attend with you, a wonderful way to start the day's celebration.
Prayer: Take time to pray as a family and individually, giving thanks for our grandparents and elderly that we know of. Find some prayer resources below.
Family Dinner: Make time for a family dinner over the weekend where every member and generation of the family are invited.
Parish Picnic: After the Mass on the Sunday, bring the families and elderly parishioners together for a picnic in the parish garden or in the local park if there is one close by. Maybe the young people can help serve.
Visit the elderly: Visit one of your elderly relatives or someone in the parish who doesn't have family nearby. You could encourage children to make cards for the elderly on your street.
I renew my invitation to everyone – dioceses, parishes, associations and communities – to celebrate this Day and to make it the occasion of a joyful and renewed encounter between young and old.
To find out what events and resources are being organised in your own diocese, please check their website or contact a diocesan Marriage and Family Life Coordinator.
Catholic Grandparents Association
To be a grandparent is a very special role in the Church.
As you love your Grandchildren, love them enough to give them the gift of faith, by sharing your faith with them.
For more information on the Catholic Grandparents Association
of England & Wales, please visit their website here:
To you, the young who are preparing to meet in Lisbon or to celebrate World Youth Day in your own countries, I would ask: before you set out on your journey, visit your grandparents or an elderly person who lives alone! Their prayers will protect you and you will carry in your heart the blessing of that encounter.
Pope Benedict XVI Prayer for Grandparents
you were born of the Virgin Mary.
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them as they grow older.
May they continue to be for their families strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals, living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience.
help families and society to value the presence and role of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded, but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care, accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity for the great embrace of life without end.
Reflection on Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, the Grandparents of Jesus
For our young people
If you are travelling to World Youth Day, the National Office for Vocation, alongside Pope Francis encourage you to visit and elderly person or relative to ask for their prayers.
If you are not on pilgrimage to World Youth Day, go and visit someone elderly anyway. Learn from their wisdom, ask for advice, and ask for them to pray for you.
For Grandparents and the Elderly
You have a very unique vocation, where you can influence the lives of young people. Share your wisdom, encourage them, pray with them and bring each one closer to Christ.