Vatican encourages young people to reach out to the elderly

July 26 was the Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. On that day, our Holy Father spoke about the need to reach out in care for the elderly who are especially lonely, isolated, and afraid during the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.

Pope Francis implored young Catholics, “I would like to invite the young to perform a gesture of tenderness towards the elderly, especially the loneliest, in their homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months. Dear young people, each one of these elderly people is your grandparent! Do not leave them by themselves.”

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life heeded the words of Pope Francis and this week launched a campaign called, “The elderly are your grandparents.” In the first phase of the campaign, the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life encourages young people to reach out in ways that respect the health regulations of their various countries. Find the elderly in your family, neighborhood, and parish, and call them on the phone, video chat, or send them a smiling photo.

Grandpa waves to family on laptop

“Use the inventiveness of love, make telephone calls, video calls, send messages, listen to them and, where possible, in compliance with the healthcare rules, go to visit them too. Send them a hug,” encouraged the Holy Father.

He spoke of the need to care for and respect our aged brothers and sisters in Christ, saying that it’s vitally important for the young to connect to their roots.

“They are your roots. An uprooted tree cannot grow, it does not blossom or bear fruit. This is why the bond and connection with your roots is important. ‘The blossom of a tree comes from what it has underground’, says a poet from my homeland. Therefore I invite you to give a big round of applause for our grandparents, everyone!” he said.

The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life asked young Catholics to help spread the word by using #sendyourhug and sharing their outreach efforts on social media.