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Pope Francis blesses a woman in St Peter’s Basilica in this undated photo (Vatican Media)

“Do not cast me off in my old age” is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the fourth World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Vatican has announced. Source: CNA.

In a media statement yesterday, the Vatican noted that in choosing this verse from Psalm 71, the Pope desired to “call attention to the fact that, sadly, loneliness is the bitter lot in life of many elderly persons, so often the victims of the throwaway culture”.

The press release said that “by cherishing the charisms of grandparents and the elderly, and the contribution they make to the life of the Church, the World Day seeks to support the efforts of every ecclesial community to forge bonds between the generations and to combat loneliness.”

It also noted that the day, to be marked on July 28, will also be an opportunity for the Church to prepare for the upcoming jubilee year of 2025. 

Reflecting on the theme chosen by the Pope, Cardinal Kevin Farrell — the prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life — stressed the Holy Father’s call to bring awareness to the isolation that many elderly people face, saying that it is “a widespread reality” and that “many elderly people [are] often victims of the throwaway culture and considered a burden to society.” 

Cardinal Farrell also noted that while “loneliness, certainly, is also an unavoidable condition of human existence,” it is incumbent upon “families and the ecclesial community … to be at the forefront in promoting a culture of encounter, to create spaces for sharing, listening, to offer support and affection: thus the love of Gospel becomes concrete.” 

Pope Francis established the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021. It is held on the fourth Sunday of July, which falls near the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.


World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly highlights ‘loneliness,’ ‘throwaway culture’ (By Matthew Santucci, CNA)


‘Loneliness’ at heart of Pope’s theme for 4th Grandparents Day (Vatican News)