Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On Sunday 24th July this year we celebrate the second World Day For Grandparents and the Elderly. This is a day which has become one of the Church’s pastoral commitments and which is set to become a practice in the Church. To better celebrate this day, the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life of the Holy See has issued some pastoral guidelines to help the faithful in different regions to find the most appropriate way to celebrate this day with creativity. The concrete spirit of these pastoral guidelines is to promote the “revolution of tenderness” advocated by Pope Francis, starting from one’s own pastoral environment [see the Pope’s Message for this year’s World Day For Grandparents and the Elderly].
In Macau, in the midst of the epidemic, I have adapted and consolidated the dicasterial pastoral guidelines into the following points for the faithful to consider and put into practice during the summer holidays:
1. Meeting with the elderly: starting with family members
– The younger ones can take time to talk to the elderly every day
– Give the elderly a gift of their choice and take a photo with them as a memento
– You can also post photos on social media and show them to the elderly
2. Encourage young people to prepare for the day with their elderly family members
– Encourage helping and accompanying the elderly to participate in the online Sunday Liturgy
– Send them the Pope’s Message for World Day For Grandparents and the Elderly and invite them to reflect on it together
– Tell the elderly that the Pope is praying for them especially on this day
– After the celebration of the Day, gather as a family to share the results of the event
– Post the results on social media to promote the importance of the Day For Grandparents and the Elderly
3. Plenary Indulgence
-The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree granting a plenary indulgence on the World Day For Grandparents and the Elderly, subject to the fulfilment of the conditions. Due to the epidemic in Macau, it is not yet possible to attend Mass and confession in person. However, following the instructions of the Dicastery, I am giving special dispensation to the faithful of Macau to gain this plenary indulgence on condition that they sincerely repent of their sins, renounce their sins, pray for the Holy Father’s intentions, participate in the online Mass and make a spiritual Communion, or accompany the elderly in their families on that day, with the desire to go to Confession as soon as it becomes available.
Finally, the faithful are invited to read, meditate on and promote Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly this year, as well as his Wednesday catechesis on the theme of the elderly, which began in February. The documents can be found on the following websites:
Let us ask Our Lady, the Mother of Gentleness, to make us artisans of the revolution of tenderness and to join her in freeing the world from the shadows of the culture of discard. With this hope, I greet you all in the Lord, especially the grandparents and the elderly.
21st July 2022
+ Bishop Stephen LEE Bun Sang
Catholic Diocese of Macau