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Vatican to celebrate "Blessing of a Long Life"

Pope Francis will hold a special day for grandparents and the elderly.
Pope Francis will hold a special day for grandparents and the elderly.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

At the insistence of Pope Francis, the Pontifical Council for the Family is organizing a special day dedicated to the elderly and to older people, Vatican officials released yesterday. The Pope will have a special audience with many older people in order to show and to discuss the important role the elderly can play in a society where people increasingly live much longer lives. “The day is based on the assumption that old age is not a shipwreck but a vocation,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said on the dicastery’s Vatican website. The event will officially be called “The Blessing of a Long Life.”

“Thanks to God the years of life have accumulated – society permits this – but, on the other hand, on this issue, an adequate reflection has not yet been developed,” Archbishop Paglia said, “there is none, neither in politics nor economics, nor in culture.” It is hoped, Vatican officials and the Pope have said, that the planned event will draw attention to the period of aging in life as more and more people live longer lives due to increased health. “It should be stressed that the elderly are not only the object of attention or care, but that they themselves also have a new perspective in life,” the Archbishop said in the statement, “that's the point. Therefore, their advanced age needs to be rethought, and their commitment to the world and in the Church must be reconsidered.” As an example, Archbishop Paglia said that older and retired people often have more time available to them than younger people, and they can take an increased role in the Church in terms of prayer and deeper evangelization, in “transmitting the Gospel."

Registration forms to participate in the day of reflection “The Blessing of a Long Life” can be found in the Pontifical Council for the Family’s website, linked in the text above.