Pope Francis began his recent letter to Grandparents and the Elderly, recalling the promise our Lord made to his beloved disciples before his ascension: “I am with you always!” Realizing we have all suffered unprecedented loss and isolation this past year, and none more acutely than the elderly, the pope has called for a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be observed on July 25. Assuring them the Church stands with them, the pope issued a clarion call to all of us to return the love they have so generously showered upon us.
It is likely not a coincidence that the Feast of S.t Anne and S.t Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus, falls on the following day, July 26. Childless for many years, they persevered in prayer and their faith and trust in God were rewarded when Anna gave birth to our Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ.
As we reflect today on our earthy grandparents and the elderly, as well as all those who have gone before us, let us remember we are never alone. Jesus is with us always: in the Church and her Sacraments, and in each other. Through the intercession of our ancestors, may we carry the light of Christ to all those we meet, and in a particular way today, to grandparents and the elderly.
Finally, may the words of the French hymn to St Anne, O Anna, Mamm Mari, inspire our actions as together we strive to unleash the Gospel to all those we encounter on our journey home.
O Anna, Mamm Mari
O Anna, Mamm Mari, O St. Anne, hear our plea.
Fend for us, pray for us, lead us home to heaven with thee.
Joachim, Anne, rejoice and sing, your holy child brought forth our King.
Blessed is she beyond compare, above all women strong and fair.
Children of God, lift up your eyes, see how the twilight fills the skies.
The dawning day, dispels the night, sunrise will fill the earth with light.
Mary most lowly, is the one, chosen to bear God’s only Son,
Vessel of honor, house of gold, Queen of Angels, long foretold.
Oh Holy Mary, Mother pure, Mystical Rose, our refuge sure,
Cause of our joy, our heart’s delight, O Morning Star, you bring us light.
Anna we honor you today, with angel choirs we sing, we pray,
Honor to Mary, undefiled, glory to Jesus Christ her child.
L’abba Pierre Le Goff
Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit