By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis recalled the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Ann, Jesus’s grandparents.
Acts of tenderness
The Pope invited them to reach out tenderly to the elderly by doing something concrete for those “who are most alone in their homes or retirement residences, and who have not seen their loved-ones for months”.
“Dear young people, the Pope continued, “each elderly person is your grandparent!” He then begged young people not to leave the elderly alone. “Use the fantasy of love”, he told them. Then he gave them some suggestions:
“Call them, videochat with them, send them messages, listen to them, go and visit them when it is possible while observing health precautions, send them a hug.”
Connecting with one’s roots
Pope Francis then picked up one of his favorite themes, reminding young people that the elderly are their “roots”.
“An uprooted tree does not grow or bear flowers or fruit”, he said. Being united and connected with the elderly is important because that is how we remain connected to our roots, he explained. He then quoted an Argentinian poet, who said that the flowers that we see on trees comes from what is underground.
After his words, the Pope asked for a round of applause for grandparents.