Elderly, you are not alone! The Church is close to you! Distancing does not have the last word.” In an interview with Exaudi, these strong words were voiced by Dr. Gabriella Gambino, Under-Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, as she reflected on the upcoming World Day for the Elderly and Grandparents.
The day to be commemorated on July 25th was instituted by Pope Francis and its theme, just announced, will be “I am with you.”
In this interview, Gambino not only explains why the Holy Father chose this theme, and why Francis seems to have a personal sensitivity toward the elderly and toward grandparents, but also how the elderly have been particularly affected by the pandemic and why they are all the more deserving and needing of closeness.
In fact, the married mother of five, and accomplished academic and writer, appeals on behalf of the Church “to go out.”
“We are conscious that this summer very many elderly will still not be able to go to Church; therefore, we will ask all Christians, in particular the youngest, to go to meet them. We want it to become an expression of the “Church “going forth”: to have many children going to visit grandparents or the elderly that are most alone in their neighborhood, with a gift, a flower, and the promise to them: “I am with you every day.”
She also underscores the elderly will no longer be discarded “when our societies learn to recognize the values, spirituality and charism in them.”