By Vatican News
The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has made available online, a free, downloadable e-book publication – “The Richness of Many Years of Life,” with the occasion of the International Day of the Elderly.
This latest publication is a collection of the proceedings from the first international conference on the pastoral care of the elderly organized in January 2020. Organized by the same Dicastery, the conference was aimed at promoting a “renewed concern for the pastoral care of the elderly in every ecclesial community.”
The publication of this e-book comes after the “Every senior is your grandparent – #SendYourHug” campaign, launched in July at the invitation of Pope Francis.
The elderly, particularly affected by the pandemic
In a statement which accompanied the release of the publication on 1 October, the Dicastery said that the conference on the care of the elderly was timely and essential as no one would have imagined that just a few weeks after, the “lockdowns” would begin in so many countries.
“The elderly today are the first and most numerous victims of the pandemic, of loneliness, and of isolation,” notes the statement.
“Yet at the same time, the elderly are also those without whom the new generations would have no roots or identity.”
The Church’s responsibility to the elderly
In this regard, the Church has a “cultural and educational imperative” to work towards correcting the “demeaning representation of old age” in many societies.
Accordingly, the Church is making this “toolkit” available to everyone for the development of a pastoral ministry that is able to involve the elderly as active participants of this ecclesial responsibility.
As the Church, notes the statement, “we are called to form networks of collaboration and solidarity between dioceses, parishes, lay ecclesial communities, associations and families which put concern for the elderly at the center of our commitment.”
Recalling Pope Francis’s words that “the elderly are our memory and our future,” the Dicastery hopes that on this International Day of the Elderly – a day to stand beside the elderly and be mindful of the richness of their many years of life – this volume may be a gift to the Church.
“The Richness of Many Years of Life” is available for download at www.laityfamilylife.va in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Translations in Spanish and French will be available in .pdf format on the website of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. The multilingual e-book is also available on the website of the Vatican Publishing House.