In the U.S., National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day in September. The day was created after a joint resolution was passed in Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on Aug. 3, 1978.
Now Pope Francis has established an annual date for the Catholic Church to honor grandparents and other elders, lamenting that they are often forgotten.
Francis has announced that every year, on the fourth Sunday of July, the Roman Catholic Church will pay tribute to older adults who have “thoughts and words of wisdom” to offer.
This year, the pope will celebrate a special Mass in honor of them on the evening of July 25.
Grandparents, Francis said, transmit “life and faith” experiences to the young.
The 84-year-old pope is a frequent booster of grandparents in his remarks for their value to society.
“Their voice is precious because they sing the praises of God and preserve the roots of peoples,” he has said. “They remind us that old age is a gift, and that grandparents are the ring linking generations, to transmit to young people the experience of life and faith.”
“It’s important that grandparents encounter grandchildren and grandchildren encounter grandparents,” he continued. “Grandparents will dream, will have great desires in regards to grandchildren, and the young, taking strength from grandparents, will go forward.”