Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: June 10, 2021 08:46 AM GMT
A Filipino priest gives communion to an elderly couple in Borongan in Eastern Samar province in this April 22, 2020, file photo. (Photo: AFP)
The Philippine Church has launched a series of events to mark the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on July 25.
Pope Francis declared early this year that the event will take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July to coincide with the feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus Christ.
Parishioners in Manila’s Quezon City said they have launched a drive to give toiletries and groceries to the elderly and sick in their community.
“Here in Sacred Heart Parish, we will visit the elderly and give them groceries and toiletries. We have a list provided by social workers of the poorest in the parish. I think we can help at least 100 of them,” parishioner Maria Fabros told UCA News.
Another group of parishioners in the Bicol region, south of Manila, are to accompany a priest on visits to the elderly to give them the sacraments of healing such as confession and anointing of the sick.
“Not everything that we need is material. We should also help the sick and the elderly by giving them the sacraments they need,” Albay parishioner Megan Coronel told UCA News.
They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations
She said their group would observe pandemic protocols by undergoing Covid-19 tests before making visits.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has released a pastoral statement about the special day.
The prelates reminded Catholics they should listen to older people because they were “full of wisdom.”
“The Holy Spirit still stirs up thoughts and words of wisdom in the elderly today: their voice is precious because it sings the praises of God and safeguards the roots of peoples. They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations, passing on the experience of life and faith to the young,” the bishops said, quoting Pope Francis.
The bishops also reiterated the pope’s warning that grandparents are often forgotten and overlooked.
“As a country blessed by 500 years of Christianity, let us make sure that grandparents remain and feel they are cherished members of our families, communities and nation,” they said.