- Jul 23, 2021
Try a little tenderness. That’s basically how Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell summarized Pope Francis’ vision for what older people, their grandchildren and friends should do to change the world after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Writing to his peers, Catholics who have reached a venerable age like he has, Pope Francis told older Catholics that God is close to them and still has plans for their lives.
As most of Italy eased COVID-19 restrictions in late April, most residents of Italy’s assisted living and nursing homes were locked in “an eternal red zone” — not leaving the facilities, not having any visitors and, in more than half the homes, not even having access to video calls with loved ones, according to the Community of Sant’Egidio.
To express the closeness of God and of the church to every older person, Pope Francis has chosen “I am with you always” from the Gospel of Matthew as the theme for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
Lucia DeClerck has survived the 1918 influenza pandemic, two world wars, the loss of three husbands, one son and many of her physicians. Recently added to the list: COVID-19, which she tested positive for on her 105th birthday.
The Madeleine parish in Northeast Portland, has a vaccine outreach for seniors. It’s focused on helping parishioners schedule their vaccinations and no one is turned away.
In communities around the world, the social isolation that keeps elders safe from the coronavirus but precludes going to church is proving extremely difficult for many. In some remote areas, younger generations are helping their elders.
Catholic bishops on two different sides of the Atlantic reminded Catholics of the enormous suffering of vulnerable peoples, but most especially the elderly, during the coronavirus pandemic.