Jun 24, 2021

“You are needed”: Pope provides comfort to grandparents and the elderly after pandemic

Man holding hands of senior man

“The pandemic swept down on us like an unexpected and furious storm; it has been a time of trial for everyone, but especially for us elderly persons,” Pope Francis shared.  

“Many of us fell ill, others died or experienced the death of spouses or loved ones, while others found themselves isolated and alone for long periods.”

Pope Francis said angels can appear “even at the darkest moments,” in the “face of our grandchildren … the face of family members, lifelong friends or those we have come to know during these trying times, when we have learned how important hugs and visits are for each of us.

“How sad it makes me that in some places these are still not possible!”

Older people might think “my energy is running out and I don’t think I can do much”. But he encouraged grandparents and the elderly to allow their hearts to remain open.

“I was called to become the Bishop of Rome when I had reached, so to speak, retirement age and thought I would not be doing anything new,” he shared.  

We must learn from the tragedies of the last year, Pope Francis added.

“This may prove not to be just another tragedy of history from which we learned nothing … If only we might keep in mind all those elderly persons who died for lack of respirators … If only this immense sorrow may not prove useless, but enable us to take a step forward towards a new style of life.”

He told older people “you are needed” to help build “the world of tomorrow”.

Dreams, memories and prayer will help elders to build a more robust and positive world after the pandemic.

Pope Francis said he was “well aware” his message was being given at a “difficult time”.

He quoted Pope Benedict who in 2012 said, “The prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps more effectively than the frenetic activity of many others.”

Pope Francis said the prayers of older people “in these difficult times”, while humanity sails “the stormy sea of the pandemic”, inspires hope “we will soon come to shore”.

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