The elderly are vital to the health and ministry of the Church, and the Church is grateful for everything they have done to disseminate the Word of God. This was the message that the Cathedral parish wanted to convey when it nurtured on Thursday, December 17, the first-ever social gathering aimed at the elderly.
Entitled “Spirituality for the Elderly,” the meeting took place late last week on November 17 in the basement of the Diocese of Macau Notary’s Office. The event sought to answer one of the most pressing concerns listed on the diocesan report of the local phase of the Synod on Synodality.
According to the document, a significant number of members of the local Catholic flock upheld the conviction that the Church should value and pay a greater attention to the older generations. “Several people argued that the cathedral parish and our diocese should improve the way they communicate. With this purpose in mind, we put forward a proposal for the creation of a new YouTube channel, a monthly parish bulletin and also a new Facebook page,” Father Daniel Ribeiro recalls.
“But there was also a fairly large number of people who said that we need to make an effort to work more closely with the younger generations, on the one hand, and value and pay more attention to the elderly, on the other. As a concrete way to answer this request and having in mind the spiritual needs of the faithful in our parish, we decided to promote this moment of spirituality,” the parish vicar of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady told O Clarim.
Having Father Daniel Ribeiro as its spiritual director and advisor, the social gathering put spirituality at its core. The meeting included moments of prayer, conviviality and companionship, and sought to highlight the undeniable role that the elderly play in terms of evangelization. They hold the family firmly at all times and play a significant role in bringing up children by imparting good morals, wisdom and knowledge. The gathering was, therefore, an opportunity for the local Catholic Church to convey its gratitude and appreciation for their contribution to society.
“The aim of this meeting was, first and foremost, to provide them with a moment of conviviality. A conviviality that opens the doors to spirituality, to sharing, to joy and to relaxation. We wanted to bring together senior citizens and show them how important they are to the Church. We wanted to demonstrate that the Church is grateful for everything they have done and to let them know that the Church is concerned about their well-being. They are faithful, and they are an important part of the Church,” the Dehonian missionary emphasizes.
“And once that they are grandparents, once that they have their own families, they also become evangelizers by nature. This meeting was also useful in that sense, for people to share their experience and to prepare themselves to evangelize as best as they can,” the Brazilian priest adds.