July 12, 2023


'His mercy is from age to age" (Lk 1:50)

Sunday 23 July 2023 is the date designated for the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. This is really a wonderful commemoration initiated by Pope Francis in 2021. It is a day to turn our hearts and toward our grandparents and to all the elderly in our parishes, neighbourhoods and in local society around us. The Holy Father established this day as the pandemic was still upon the world as well as the confusion as to how best care for people and the many restrictions the fear. Among those who suffered the most were the elderly who were locked in nursing homes or otherwise cut off from their families. Many died or suffered in ways that have left lasting impressions. Besides that, in our present world we would do well to take full advantage of this World Day to give our attention to our babas and didos and the elderly that we see all around us and ask if they are alright. Are they cared for? Do they have what they need? Are we personally or as a community giving them the attention that they need or rather deserve?

The elderly can and should be such a blessing of wisdom and kindness and assurance and we will make it through. They - as people who have "been there, done that" - may even be witnesses of enough of life to help us make a reality check about the things that upset us or anger us or create anxiety in our hearts. They can remind us about what is really important and lasting in life. They can remind us that even the most stressing concerns will pass.

The elderly can teach us to be as patient with them as they need to be with us. Sometimes the elderly are given the unfair rap of being cranky and complaining. It's only because they have seen and dealt with all these problems their whole lives and now don't want to have to do so any longer. And yet, they have to bear with things... until we learn what they've learned and are able to see what they see. One of the most irksome things to some teenagers or young adults is to be told by their parents or older people, "when you get older, you will understand better, you will understand what its all about". That's true, of course, and yet the elderly are forced sometimes to see the younger generation repeat their same mistakes... they are required to patiently and lovingly accompany the young who are convinced that they have a new way that no one as so much as even dreamed of before and they will change the world.

Of course, many of the elderly do have a world-changing power to pass on to their children and grandchildren... the gift of a true and tested faith. They have a faith that they received at Baptism and through the untold grace of Chrismation and nourished through a constant love of the Holy Eucharist.

God bless our elderly and do not allow us to squander one drop of the grace and insight and wisdom and love that they make available to us!

Sunday the 23rd of July will be a special day where all eparchies and all parishes are invited to celebrate the elderly in their own way. The day was chosen as it is a Sunday that is near the feast on the Latin (Roman Catholic) Calendar of Jesus' Baba and Dido (grandparents) Saints Joachim and Anna on July 26th. Well as these feasts and commemorations developed over the ages, it turns out that on the Eastern (including Ukrainian Catholic) Calendar July 25 is the feast of the Dormition (i.e., death) of Saint Anne, again, Mary's mother and, therefore, Jesus' grandmother according to the flesh.

So let us celebrate our Grandparents - whether they continue this earthly journey with us or if they have gone before us to prepare a place in the heavenly kingdom. Let us also celebrate all the elderly in our parishes - not just for one fun day, but let us make the commitment that all the elderly will be welcome and acknowledged in our parish communities... always.



See the materials issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to help understand and prepare a special event at YOUR PARISH. Just Click [HERE]

A Plenary Indulgence...

To make the day really special, the Vatican has declared a special plenary indulgence of grace for all those who make an effort to celebrate this day - especially in one's parish church where a special commemoration of some kind is being made of this World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

On Wednesday July 5, the Holy See (aka the Vatican) announced the Decree for the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of Plenary Indulgence on the occasion of the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, (Decreto della Penitenzieria Apostolica circa la concessione dell'Indulgenza Plenaria in occasione della III Giornata Mondiale dei Nonni e degli Anziani) which was officially published by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

The decree, signed on 15 June 2023, grants a Plenary Indulgence to the faithful who attend one of the various liturgical celebrations and initiatives, which will be held throughout the world (like in your parish church if your pastor is on the ball), on the occasion of the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. However, it can also be obtained by making the effort to visit the elderly and sick in nursing homes, hospitals or at their home. Those who really can't leave their home to make it to church or visit someone, may watch a service on line if they can or at the very least have the intention to offer some prayer as best they can. Besides that, the basic requirements remain the same, because they are minimal and logical - offer a prayer for Pope Francis, and make a good sincere confession and received the Lord in Holy Communion within a few days of that Sunday.

So, what's the big deal about a "plenary (total) indulgence"? What does that mean? Done with right mindset and intention and done so sincerely... to receive a plenary indulgence means a clean slate, a new beginning as we had at the moment of our baptism. Well, perhaps the "scars" and "memory" of sin may remain as a reminder to us to be truly humble, but "the temporal punishment due to sin is removed" (CCC n. 1471). It might be compared to a criminal who is released from prison. His debt has been paid and he is now free to go and live the remainder of his life hopefully doing some good. Now that's if you want to apply that plenary indulgence for yourself. You can also do everything that you need to do to obtain it, but not apply it for yourself, but to some loved one (or not so loved) who has passed from this life. A family member, a friend, a relative, someone that you knew or heard of or simply for "a soul in purgatory" it will be directed to one who truly needs and deserves such a grace.

To read more about the concept of an indulgence and a plenary indulgence, try these sites:

Read the actual abovementioned decree itself [HERE]

Read a 2020 article that gives a pretty good explanation about what an indulgence is all about [HERE]

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