At Christmas, let’s listen to grandparents

“Dear young people,” wrote Pope Francis on the occasion of the 32nd World Youth Day, “you need the wisdom and the vision of the elderly. […] They will speak to you of things that can thrill your minds and fill your hearts”.

We are approaching Christmas, when Jesus is born within our families. This year, in the particular climate in which we are living, there is an opportunity for young people to receive a special gift. Because of the pandemic, there are more elderly people who live alone. We can create bonds with each of them – this is a treasure waiting to be discovered!

Following the success of our campaign: The elderly are your grandparents”, in which we collected virtual hugs sent by many young people to both their own grandparents and to “adopted grandparents,” the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life now invites boys and girls from all over the world to send a message to the elderly and to receive in return the gift of their wisdom, #aGiftOfWisdom.

Today, in the difficult circumstances of a Christmas still overshadowed by the pandemic, we are proposing that young people post on social media a memory, a piece of advice, or a “gift of wisdom” they have received from one of the elderly people with whom they have formed a bond in recent months.

Unfortunately, in many cases, because of the health regulations in force, visiting can only take place remotely, via telephone, videocalls, and messaging. But it is possible to participate in this campaign by posting the wise words of grandparents and the elderly on social media using the hashtag #aGiftOfWisdom.

Some of the best posts will be shared on the Twitter account of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life @laityfamilylife.

This article is from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

The art of being a grandparent in troubled times

Catherine Wiley is on a mission. She wants to combat the isolation and frustration felt by many grandparents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So the founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association is inviting those in our Archdiocese to her online Zoom talk on Wednesday (04 November).

"I want to give them confidence and remove some of the fear and anxieties that they may be feeling, particularly now when they may be isolated in their homes."

Covid-19 has amplified the usual challenges faced by grandparents. "Before we had Covid, the recent problems for grandparents was the complexity of different marriage and partner arrangements, child caring arrangements and trying to face the challenges peaceably and with integrity.

"A lot of grandparents sit to one side and can be afraid to open their mouths. Being afraid to speak affects their faith. So this event is to give them the courage and confidence to face the challenges of family life we find ourselves thrust into. We are always there to support our grandchildren."

Faith

She added: "We’re all praying for a vaccine, and please God we’ll get one soon, but we’ve already been baptised against despair. Our baptism ‘vaccine’ is against that despair and floundering, and we can forget that.

"Of course the recent eucharistic 'famine' has come at a terrible cost to many grandparents; it’s usually the grey-haired brigade who go to daily Mass.

"Sometimes they have lonely lives, so people need to know they are not on their own. People can be too proud or ashamed to reach out, so we have to reach in, and the only way to do that is through communication."

She added: "It’s about refining the art of being a grandparent in these troubled times. It’s using every gift that God ever gave you."

Grandparents: Our Mission with Catherine Wylie takes place on Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday 04 November. Register here

Grandparents: Zoom event on YOUR ministry

Grandparents form probably the largest and most active contingent serving the life of our parishes.

They are our sacristans, passkeepers, readers, extraordinary ministers, catechists and more. Serving parishes like this is fulfilling, but what is often closest to the hearts of grandparents in the Church today is what they can do to keep their families connected to the Church and Catholic faith.

We've invited Catherine Wiley of the Catholic Grandparents Association to host Grandparents: Our Mission on Zoom to discuss this issue and more to give grandparents encouragement and clarity.

She will present a vision of their ministry and point the way towards organising grandparents in our Archdiocese to connect, support each other, share ideas and experience and build their sense of mission in today’s Church.

Grandparents: Our Mission with Catherine Wylie takes place on Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday 04 November. Register here