World Day for Grandparents & Elderly

Sunday July 25, 2021

“I am with you always” (Mt 28:20): this is the promise the Lord made to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. They are the words that he repeats to you today, dear grandfathers and grandmothers, dear elderly friends.

These are the first words of Pope Francis’ message for next Sunday, World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Especially during these pandemic times it is so important to reach out to our grandparents and elderly friends, to ensure they know they are not alone, to share stories and time together. If you are able to safely visit with the elderly people in your life over the next week, either in person, on the phone or online, we encourage you to do so. Perhaps offer to bring them to Mass, or if they are not ready to join us in person yet perhaps you can arrange for them to be able to watch Mass online or listen to the homily posted on the St. Francis website. Whatever makes sense for your family, we simply encourage you to connect with your elderly loved ones, pray with them and show them that you are with them always.

During your visit you could read Pope Francis’ message together, or listen to him read it to you:

You can pray together the prayer written for today:

You could watch the video created by the Canadian Catholic Bishops:

You can read the text of this message by turning on the closed captions for the video or by clicking here for a copy you can print.

We will pray in particular for our grandparents and elderly parishioners at Mass this weekend, may God bless them with health, love and peace.

Anishnabeg Outreach

Today we want to highlight Anishnabeg Outreach, a local Indigenous organization which focuses on Healing and Reconciliation.

Anishnabeg Outreach is a really remarkable group of Indigenous people and partners working in our community to provide services which support Indigenous persons from birth to death. Services such as EarlyON programs, employment centre, Spirit Bundle program, medicine garden, Healing and Teaching lodges, and so much more. During the pandemic they have provided a safe and accessible environment for Indigenous people to receive the vaccines.

Here at Anishnabeg Outreach, we are building a centre of healing where we are able to offer a centralized healing space for Indigenous people to grow. This includes partnering with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations to create services and programs that serve people at all stages of life.

Anishnabeg Outreach website

We encourage you today to spend some time exploring the Anishnabeg website by clicking the button below. The link will take you to their page on Reconciliation, which seems like a good place to start. We pray that we can heal and learn together, and create a better future for all of Canada.

Visit their facebook page by clicking here. There you can view many events that are taking place, including as Mush Hole Voices, a video series presented by survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School.

Anishnabeg Outreach is located in Kitchener and Guelph, and they are accepting donations of various items. Look on the Donations page of their website for all the many options. We recently had a large quantity of children’s sized masks donated to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, more than we could possibly use, so some of those were donated to be part of Spirit Bundles. Let us stand together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, right here in our community.

Joseph, A Father in the Shadows

Here is the final guided reflection on Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Patris Corde, With a Father’s Heart. You can use this series on your own for person reflection, or you can use it with your family or friends. It works very well for short zoom gatherings online!

Joseph, A Father in the Shadows

Opening Prayer

With a father’s heart, you showed your love for Jesus by helping him to grow in wisdom.  With a chaste heart, you did not seek to possess or hold him back. 
You are a model for parents who desire to help their children grow
and acquire what they need to live healthy and fruitful lives.
St. Joseph, help us to become parents who love our children freely. 
Intercede for us so that we may know the Father’s love freely offered and given to us.
In Jesus’ name, we pray!
Amen

Video Reflection

In this video clip, Dr. Anne Jamieson, Executive Director, Institute for Catholic Education, reflects on St. Joseph as a father hidden in the shadows.  She considers questions such as
– What qualities of love do we see in Joseph’s approach to fatherhood?
– How does St. Joseph’s as a person in the shadows inspire us in our lives, work, relationships?

For further reflection

Take some time to consider these questions. If you are reflecting on your own you may wish to journal. If you are using this reflection with a group, perhaps give time for personal reflection as well as optional sharing.

Pope Francis speaks about how we have learned how interconnected and interdependent we all are during the pandemic. He suggests how we are learning how important those who have worked and walked in the shadows are. Anne lists some of those people.
– Who would you add to the list?
– How might the pandemic help us to reflect on our interconnectedness with those in other countries?

Closing Prayer

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Prayer: © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thank you for joining us for these guided reflections on Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, Patris Corde, With a Father’s Heart.