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Pope pays tribute to grandparents’ role in passing on faith

By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 July, 2013

On the feast day of Sts Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, Pope Francis paid tribute to the vital role grandparents play in passing on the faith in their families.

Speaking at the Angelus to crowds gathered outside the archdiocesan house in Rio de Janeiro on 26 July, the Pontiff spoke about the importance of a loving home in building up the faith.

Sts Joachim and Anne, he said, were “part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us.”

Reminding his audience that the feast day is celebrated as Grandparents Day in Brazil and other countries, the Pope went on to speak about the wisdom that elderly people can share with the young.

He quoted from the Aparecida document, in which the Latin American bishops called for a new burst of evangelisation on the continent: “Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their live.”

Separately, the Westport-based Catholic Grandparents Association launched its first branch at the invitation of Bishop Gilbert Garcera in Daet in the Philippines to coincide with the Feast of Sts Joachim and Anne.

The launch took place as the Philippines celebrated its first Grandparents Pilgrimage and as the Catholic Grandparents Association marked the tenth anniversary of the very first Grandparents Pilgrimage in Walsingham in the UK in 2003.

Founder of the Association, Catherine Wiley, is also due to visit South Korea and Japan over the coming weeks to introduce the CGA there.

The Catholic Grandparents Association was founded by Ms Wiley to offer support to grandparents in the transmission of the faith from one generation to the next.

Up to 10,000 people attended the Grandparents Pilgrimage at Knock last September. Thousands of other grandparents attend other pilgrimages across the globe.

On Pentecost Sunday this year, Ms Wiley was presented to Pope Francis by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, and during his homily, the Pontiff spoke of the great effect his grandmother Rosa had on his life and his vocation to the priesthood.

The first Pilgrimage for Families in Rome will take place with Pope Francis on the 26th/27th of October 2013. Grandparents and their families will attend from a number of different countries.

Meanwhile, this year’s pilgrimage to Knock by the Catholic Grandparents Association will take place on Sunday 8th September, Our Lady’s Birthday.

This will be the seventh Grandparents’ pilgrimage to Knock and the guest speaker will be Sr Briege McKenna.

Monsignor Carlos Simon Vasquez and Fr Victor Ghio, two representatives from the Vatican, will also be taking part in the ceremonies.  

By Sarah Mac Donald

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