Rome Newsroom, Jul 23, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
The third annual World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is observed on July 23, 2023.
The event, instituted by Pope Francis in 2021, is now held on the fourth Sunday of July, which is the Sunday closest to the July 26 feast of Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
This year’s theme is a line taken from Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat: “his mercy is from age to age.”
Pope Francis noted in his message for the day that the theme “takes us back to the joyful meeting between the young Mary and her elderly relative Elizabeth.”
The meeting of young and old is particularly relevant as this year’s World Day of Grandparents and Elderly falls just days before World Youth Day, which kicks off Aug. 1 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica led by Pope Francis gave special attention to the prayer of the elderly for the young pilgrims headed to the weeklong event.
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life is promoting the following prayer for the World Day, which calls on Mary as Mother of faith, hope, fortitude, and love.
Mother of faith and hope,
an example for this humanity bent by indifference,
make me as willing as You
to accept the will of God,
to magnify and praise His Mercy.
Mary, Mother of fortitude,
you who knows my heart,
do not allow me to become discouraged.
I confidently surrender my life into your hands.
Heal my wounds.
May your tenderness accompany me on the way.
Your presence, Mother of love,
brings us to experience the joy
of seeing our families united.
Help me to transmit the tenderness and Love of God
to the grandchildren and youth
so that, in addition to praying for them,
we can pray with them.
Mary, may the gift of the Holy Spirit intercede for me:
Sustain my weakness;
breathe into my heart the consolation
that I may leave traces of faith among the young,
bearing witness to the beauty of life,
knowing that life has a limit
and that beyond it lies before us our Father’s embrace.
The prayer also is available at the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops along with other related resources.