Pope Francis reflects on Old Age at General Audiences

Pope Francis has been giving insightful reflections on OLD AGE in his catecheses during the weekly General Audiences since 23rd February 2022. He has spoken on many aspects of the meaning and value of old age in the light of God’s word.

Excerpt from Catechesis on Old Age: 18th May 2022

Looking at a range of aspects of old age such as ‘The grace of time’, ‘Longevity as a symbol and opportunity’ and ‘A resource for the youth’, he has also drawn lessons from characters in the bible such as Noah, Naomi, Eleazar, Judith and Job.

CLICK HERE to see a list of all these recent catecheses
at the weekly general audiences

‘When we are old, we lose some of our sight, but our inner gaze becomes more penetrating — one sees with the heart. We become capable of seeing things that had previously escaped us. The elderly know how to look, and they know how to see…’

‘It is true: the Lord does not entrust his talents only to the young and the strong. He has talents for everyone, made to fit each person, the elderly too. The life of our communities must know how to benefit from the talents and charisms of so many elderly people who are already retired, but who are a wealth to be treasured.’

‘On the part of the elderly themselves, this requires a creative attention, a new attention, a generous availability.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 11th May 2022

Among other things, Pope Francis has emphasized the need for more connection between the old and the young, encouraging families to ensure children have time with their grandparents, and all generations have respect for each other.

‘The elderly enter the promised land, which God desires for every generation, when they offer to the young the beautiful initiation of their witness and pass on the story of the faith, …in dialect, that familiar dialect, that dialect of the old to the young. Then, guided by the Lord Jesus, the old and the young together enter into his Kingdom of life and love.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age 23rd March 2022

‘Old age comes for everyone. And treat the elderly today as you would wish to be treated in your old age. They are the memory of the family, the memory of humanity, the memory of the country. Protect the elderly, who are wisdom. May the Lord grant the elderly who are part of the Church the generosity of this invocation and of this provocation.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 1st June 2022

He also speaks to all older people with many insights on the challenges, opportunities and increased depth of understanding in old age:

‘The rhythms of old age are an indispensable resource for grasping the meaning of life marked by time.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 2nd March 2022

‘The elderly who find the path of this testimony, who turn their resentment for their loss into a tenacity for awaiting God’s promises ….these elderly people are an irreplaceable garrison for the community in facing the excesses of evil.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 18th May 2022

‘Disenchantment comes in old age. And so the resistance of old age to the demoralising effects of this disenchantment is decisive: if the elderly, who have seen it all by now, keep intact their passion for justice, then there is hope for love, and also for faith.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 25th May 2022

The elderly man rediscovers prayer and bears witness to its strength. In the Gospels, Jesus never rejects the prayer of those who are in need of help. By virtue of their weakness, the elderly can teach those who are living in other ages of life that we all need to abandon ourselves to the Lord, to invoke his help. In this sense, we must all learn from old age: yes, there is a gift in being elderly, understood as abandoning oneself to the care of others, starting with God himself.’

Pope Francis Catechesis on Old Age: 1st June 2022

On 25th May, the Holy Father gave a rallying call to us all:

‘Take courage, all of us older people! Take courage and go forth! We have a very great mission in the world.’

25th May 2022

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly – message from Pope Francis

Earlier this year, it was announced that Sunday 25th July 2021 would be the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

Pope Francis decided to institute a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, held on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.

In January 2021 Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said the establishment of the Day of Grandparents and the Elderly “is the first fruits of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year, a gift to the whole Church that is destined to continue into the future.”

Here is a message from Pope Francis for the celebration of this first occasion:

You can see the English script of the message below:

More Resources

Catholic Grandparents Association

The Catholic Grandparents Association have a page of resources and suggestions for celebrating the 25th July, including a prayer for the occasion. See HERE.

Amoris Laetitia Family resources

The Dicastery for for Laity, Family and Life have a page with more resources you can use HERE.

We hope you and your parish can find some way of marking this important occasion of the first ‘World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly’ on Sunday 25th July this year, and we look forward to this becoming an annual day of celebration of later life and older people in the years to come.