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Catholic Bishops in Kenya Call for Closeness with Grandparents ahead of Maiden Celebration

Credit: catholicgrandparentsassociation

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have expressed the need for younger members of society to build relationships with their grandparents and other elderly people who they describe as an “indispensable” gift to humanity.

In their message ahead of the first ever celebration of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which by Pope Francis instituted earlier this year, Catholic Bishops in Kenya acknowledge the role of grandparents and elderly people in educating younger church members in faith.

The Bishops say, in reference to Pope Francis’ message, “The Holy Father calls on the Church to care for the elderly, going to them with ‘a smile on your face and the Gospel in your hands.’ We are urged to create communities that strengthen intergenerational relationships between the older persons, the children, and youth in our communities.”

At the end of January this year, Pope Francis announced the establishment of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to be marked every fourth Sunday of July. This year, the newly instituted event is set to take place on July 25.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Thursday, July 15, KCCB members make reference to the day’s theme, “I am with you always” and underscore the need for closeness with the elderly people who the Holy Father says are often forgotten.

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“The purpose of this year’s World Day is to convey to every elderly person that God and the Church are close to them and also to emphasize intergenerational closeness between young and old,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say in the statement signed by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Martin Kivuva.

KCCB members acknowledge the blessings that come with old age, saying, “Old age is a blessing. Ageing brings wisdom, strategic thinking and social responsibility.”

They further recall the Holy Father’s message in which he highlights the important role that the elderly play in shaping the future of young people. In his January 31 message, Pope Francis says, “Old age is a precious treasure that takes shape in the journey of every man and woman's life, whatever their origins, background, economic or social conditions.”

According to the Holy Father, life is a gift. He says that when life is long, it is a privilege, for oneself and for others.

“Grandparents are the indispensable link in educating children and young people in the faith,” says Pope Francis.

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In their message, Catholic Bishops in Kenya observe that elderly people face numerous challenges including loneliness that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The older persons have unique challenges that are socio-economic, emotional and physical. They face the risk of isolation and loneliness,” KCCB members say, and add, “The COVID-19 pandemic has predisposed the elderly to more vulnerabilities.”

Catholic Bishops in Kenya call upon all Episcopal Sees in the East African country to devise various ways to mark the important day, saying that it will be “a great opportunity for coming together of grandparents, and grandchildren, the young and the old.”