“There is something beautiful here. Your prayer is a very precious resource: a deep breath that the Church and the world urgently need,” he stated.
In his homily July 25, Francis said the Church needs “a new covenant between young and old.”
When Jesus fed the hungry crowd, he did so using loaves and fishes shared by a young man, he pointed out. “How touching it is, that at the heart of this miracle, by which some five thousand adults were fed, we find a young person willing to share what he had.”
“In our societies, we have frequently surrendered to the notion of ‘every man for himself.’ But this is deadly,” he said. “The Gospel bids us share what we are and what we possess, for only in this way will we find fulfillment.”
He urged young adults to visit their grandparents, their elderly relatives, and the older people in their neighborhood.
“They protected us as we grew, and now it is up to us to protect their lives, to alleviate their difficulties, to attend to their needs and to ensure that they are helped in daily life and not feel alone,” he said.
Pope Francis noted that for many of us, our grandparents “cared for us, ever since we were children. Despite lives of hard work and sacrifice, they were never too busy for us, or indifferent to us. They looked at us with care and tender love.”
“When we were growing up and felt misunderstood or fearful about life’s challenges, they kept an eye on us; they knew what we were feeling, our hidden tears and secret dreams,” he continued. “They held us in their arms and sat us on their knees. That love helped us grow into adulthood.”
“May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us and gave us life,” he stated.
As part of the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Vatican has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who participate, either by attending a related spiritual event or by physically or virtually visiting the elderly, sick, or disabled on July 25.
An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins that have already been forgiven.
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The usual conditions for a plenary indulgence, which must be met, are that the individual be in the state of grace by the completion of the acts, have complete detachment from sin, and pray for the pope’s intentions.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life released a prayer for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The full text of the prayer is below:
I thank You, Lord,
for the comfort of Your presence:
even in times of loneliness,
You are my hope and my confidence,