International Vice President Antonio Gianfico and Vice President General Sebastian Gramajo were at the Vatican to celebrate World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly on Sunday 24 July 2022.
For many people, old age is frightening. Some consider it almost a disease, something to run away from and put out of our thoughts. Not so Pope Francis, who has called for World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly to be celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday in July, around the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. For the Pope, old age “is not a useless time in which we have to pull back the oars of the boat, but a season in which we must return to bear fruit” (cf. Ps 92:15). “The special sensitivity of old age – Francis continues in his message for the Day – for attention, thought and affection, must once again become a vocation for many. And it will be a choice of love from the elderly towards the new generations”. This is the contribution of the elderly to the revolution of tenderness so dear to the Pope: “a spiritual and unarmed revolution in which they become protagonists”.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul took part in the celebration presided over in St Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis (while Pope Francis, in Canada for an Apostolic Journey, will visit a Shrine dedicated to Saints Anne and Joachim). Representing the International General Council at the Vatican were: Vice-President General Sebastian Gramajo, who arrived in Rome from Kenya, where the second All Afria Assembly (which brings together the Presidents of the 42 African countries where the Society of St Vincent de Paul is present) was held; International Vice-President Antonio Gianfico; and the President of the Conference of St Peter the Apostle in the Vatican Sergio D’Alessandro.
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul”, underlines the International Vice-President Antonio Gianfico, “is enriched by the contribution of the wisdom of grandparents, both for those who are cared for and for the presence of so many volunteer grandmothers and grandfathers. The life and faith experience of the elderly can contribute to making society more aware of its roots and capable of dreaming of a more caring tomorrow”.
On the occasion of the World Day, a Plenary Indulgence is granted, not only to those who participate in the Eucharist, but also to those who will dedicate part of their time to visiting the elderly, especially if they are alone, sick or disabled.
At the end of the celebration, Sebastian Gramajo, Antonio Gianfico and Sergio D’Alessandro were invited to lunch at the Leonian Apostolic College by Father Giuseppe Guerra CM, postulator of the Cause of Canonisation of Blessed A. Frederick Ozanam.