By Anthony Morales
Pope Francis, in his message to mark this day, acknowledges the effect of the pandemic on all people, but most especially the elderly who have been hit harder than most others by death and loneliness. On a positive note, however, and in contrast to an attitude that prevails among many, Pope Francis states that grandparents and the elderly do indeed have a purpose in life, even if they feel they are running low on energy and that their solitude is burden enough. Their vocation is “to preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the young and to care for the little ones.”
So often today, one sees grandparents acting as surrogate parents. Due to financial pressures, in many cases both parents are having to work and so call upon their own parents to care for their children. Of course, grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, but acting in loco parentis often puts a significant strain on them physically, emotionally and financially. Such pressures were less of a concern in the past when grandparents connected with their grandchildren simply to revel in the pleasure of being present to them and enjoying their company.
As we celebrate World Grandparents’ Day and the Elderly on July 24, let us remember the love and care that we have received from our grandparents. We would not be the kind of person we are today without them. Let us offer a prayer for them today as well.