Don’t forget your grandparents!

Excerpted from his homily on Friday, July 26, 2019
By The Reverend Father David Rider Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Monroe, NY


When it comes to talking about pro-life issues we talk a lot about abortion and we should. Because that’s a terrible crime. But when was the last time you heard a homily about the neglect of grandparents and the elderly?

You don’t hear it spoken about so much and yet it’s really a big problem. I’m not judging the ages of anybody in my audience right now but some of you might experience this problem in your own life you might be the victims of it. Well, there is one person thank God in our world who speaks about this a lot and is very passionate about it and that is Pope Francis. Pope Francis is really passionate about defending the elderly and he actually went so far as to say that to neglect grandparents and the elderly is a MORTAL SIN, his words not mine. I want to give you the exact quote: This is what the Vicar of Christ said in front of twenty thousand people in Saint Peter’s square; ” It’s sickening to see the elderly discarded, It’s ugly and it’s a sin abandoning the elderly it is a MORTAL SIN. Children who do not visit their elderly parents have mortally sinned understand?”

A direct quote from Pope Francis. I recently came across a beautiful video on YouTube entitled ”THE POPE’S SEVEN MOST TENDER MESSAGES TO GRANDPARENTS”. It’s a compilation of video clips of times that the Pope has spoken in public about grandparents and it’s so beautiful some of the things he says. And the basic idea of what the Pope is saying is that grandparents are a font of wisdom, counsel, and memories that younger generations desperately need to tap into. But when we put them aside and put them in the corner younger generations are being deprived of a lot of wisdom, advice and memories and even faith that they should be receiving from their grandparents. And he talks about the beauty of multi-generational households. I don’t know if any of you here grew up in a household where grandma or grandpa was present you don’t see it as much anymore as we used to and certainly there were challenges to multigenerational households. Pope Francis says there was such a beauty to the time one three or four generations were living under the same roof because very often wisdom in even the Catholic faith was passed on from the grandparents to the grandchildren.


Today we’re really seeing the opposite we see grandparents put away in nursing homes and very often they’re rarely visited and sometimes the sad truth is they’re not visited at all by their kids and grandkids who are just too busy to be bothered to visit them and the result of that is that old people are ending up very lonely. And even depressed and younger generations are not receiving the wisdom council and faith they should be receiving from older generations and you know what everyone a lot of times we don’t realize how serious that is until after they’re gone. We don’t realize what we missed out on until after our grandparents for elderly parents pass away isn’t it true.

Tell you a sad story real quick I had a young woman come to me a few years ago for some spiritual talks and she shared with me that she felt guilty that she wasn’t staying in better touch with their grandmother. So I assume the role of a spiritual father. And I said to this young woman you go home right now and I want you to call your grandmother as soon as you get home. She said she would. She came back a week later and tears. I said what’s wrong she said I didn’t do what you told me to do. Her grandmother died that week. She never had a chance to say goodbye because she didn’t call a grandmother. Luckily she’s not the type of person to beat yourself up about it she understands that she can still talk to her grandmother in heaven sad story though. The important lesson there is Don’t wait to call ” Don’t wait to visit.”

Just yesterday I talked to a man whose parents are deceased an older guy and he said to me Father what I wouldn’t give just to have one hour with my mom and dad just one hour. I was praying about this before the Blessed Sacrament and I felt cold to call all of us to an examination of conscience on our relationship with the elderly. And even if you consider yourself elderly. You can still love and respect the elderly because you probably have other elderly people in your life and perhaps people who are older than you so I asked Jesus to give me a few questions to ask all of us as an examination of conscience I’m gonna share with you the questions I think Jesus gave me.


Do you appreciate the elderly people in your life? For the source of wise counsel and memories that they are.?

Do you make a point of regularly calling and visiting the elderly people in your life?

In what ways is our throwaway culture influencing the way you treat the elderly without your even realizing it?

Is there any elderly person feeling lonely or neglected because of you?

If you are a parent of young children:

Are you careful to make sure that your children regularly see their grandparents and not their grandparents are involved in their lives?

Those are the questions and I’ll just finish with this challenge:
If you’d like to do something today to honor Saints Joachim and Anne. Just today before you go to bed why don’t you try to call or visit one elderly person in your life.

Just to be sure that I’m not being hypocritical in preaching this I called my grandmother this morning. We had a beautiful conversation I don’t know why I don’t
do it more often so I put my money where my mouth is and I’m challenging you to do the same thing. If we do this everybody with every call and every visit to an elderly person, we can work together to build a culture of life that respects not just babies but elderly people too. A culture of life where life is respected from the womb to the tomb, Saints Joachim and Anne: Pray for us.”)


Notes: You may listen to this entire homily and many others by entering Father David’s website at www.fatherdavidrider.com



—Tia Walkers


Of course, it’s ideal when families are able to care for their elderly loved ones at
home. However, in some circumstances this may not be possible or even not wise:
For instance:
* You would have to have some skills in nursing and/or medical care.
* Your home environment would need to be made totally safe and secure.
* The caregiver(s) own health must be good.
* You can expect to work long care hours including sleep interruptions.
* Getting equipment to get elder person in/out of bed.
* Planning diets and preparing proper meals.
* Performing safe bathroom and showering or bathing procedures.
* Obtaining hospital type bed and coverings
* Securing doors and gates so as to avoid wandering.
* Securing gas and electric possible hazards
* And so on.

Many times one would be considerate by placing their loved one in the care of the professional nursing home where you can be assured that they will receive compassion, loving and safe care, and where you can visit them as often as you like. It should also be noted that part-time help is not quite as you see it on the TV. It usually turns out to be expensive and unreliable.


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