The Bishop reminds us that the Holy Father had announced a world day for grandparents and the elderly in general, in one of his addresses at the end of January. Such an event has always been informally associated with the feast day of Holy Grandparents, Saint Joachim and Saint Anna, the parents of the Blessed Virgin.
Nevertheless, the Holy Fathers has now formalised it and attached it to the nearby fourth Sunday of July (this year, the 25th of July). Here’s the address from the Holy Father, begun with the usual Buongiorno! (Good morning!). The Roman dicastery for laity, family and life has thought to provide us with resources for this new anniversary. Here is the prayer they have composed:
I thank You, Lord,I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, Prayer for the world day for Grandparents and the Elderly
for the comfort of Your presence:
even in times of loneliness,
You are my hope and my confidence,
You have been my rock and my fortress since my youth!
I thank You for having given me a family
and for having blessed me with a long life.
I thank You for moments of joy and difficulty,
for the dreams that have already come true in my life and for
those that are still ahead of me.
I thank You for this time of renewed fruitfulness to which You
Increase, O Lord, my faith,
make me a channel of your peace,
teach me to embrace those who suffer more than me,
to never stop dreaming
and to tell of your wonders to new generations.
Protect and guide Pope Francis and the Church,
that the light of the Gospel might reach the ends of the earth.
Send Your Spirit, O Lord, to renew the world,
that the storm of the pandemic might be calmed,
the poor consoled and wars ended.
Sustain me in weakness
and help me to live life to the full
in each moment that You give me,
in the certainty that you are with me every day,
even until the end of the age.
Additionally, there was a special message on the 13th of May from the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, which administers some of the spiritual riches of the Church on behalf of the Holy Father. They wished to promulgate a decree granting a plenary indulgence on the occasion of this new celebration of Grandparents and the Elderly. This plenary indulgence can be gained by those among the elderly who attend Mass on the 25th of July, or who join in with Mass on that day through television, radio or the internet. This indulgence may also be acquired by those who perform a work of mercy on that day, by visiting an elderly person who is alone, either in person or (failing that) through a virtual meeting of some type.
Please do note that plenary indulgences are associated with a personal detachment from sin, and with a short list of other devotions. These include a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, and reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and of Holy Communion as soon as possible.