Vatican City, 4 July 2014 (VIS) – On 28 September Pope Francis will meet elderly people and grandparents in St. Peter's Square during the first international day dedicated to old age, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family. The encounter, which will take the theme “The blessing of long life”, coincides with the Day of Prayer for the Synod on the family and is inspired by the Pontiff's many references to the situation experienced by the elderly and his frequent comments on the tragedy of the throwaway culture typical of a “population that does not care for its elderly” with attitudes “behind which there is a hidden euthanasia”.
The event is scheduled to begin around 9 a.m. in St. Peter's Square and will culminate with a Holy Mass celebrated by the Pope at 10.30 a.m. It will be necessary to register in order to attend, and all information on the event will be available from 14 July on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Family (www.familia.va), who may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a fax to the number 00390669887272.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the dicastery, presented the encounter as an opportunity to reaffirm that the elderly “are not merely the object of attention and care but rather the subjects of a new perspective of life”. He added, “Thanks to God, our lives have become longer … but on the other hand, adequate reflection on this theme has not been developed. It exists neither in politics nor in the economy, nor even in culture. Therefore, old age must be rethought, and the commitment of the elderly in the world and in the Church must be reconsidered, as should the Church's approach to them”.