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Do not cast me off

Do not cast me off

“Do not cast me off in my old age” (cf. Ps 71:9): This sincere plea, taken from Psalm 71, is the theme of the Fourth World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place on 28 July 2024.

In his Message for the Fourth World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis reassured the addressees that “God never abandons His children, never.”

Both the “certainty of God’s closeness at every stage of life and the fear of abandonment, particularly in old age and in times of pain,” can be found in the Bible, Pope Francis writes. And these words “reflect an utterly evident reality.”

“All too often, loneliness is the bleak companion of our lives as elderly persons and grandparents,” Pope Francis acknowledges.

And he explains:

 “ … abandonment of the elderly is not by chance or inevitable, but the fruit of decisions – political, economic, social and personal decisions – that fail to acknowledge the infinite dignity of each person, ‘beyond every circumstance, state or situation the person may ever encounter’.” 

The Holy Father laments that “nowadays many women and men seek personal fulfilment in a life as independent as possible and detached from other people.” “The passage from ‘us’ to ‘me’ is one of the most evident signs of our times,” he writes.

“Solitude and abandonment have become recurrent elements in today’s social landscape,” the Pope admits.

Do not cast me off

The Holy Father’s Message concludes with an appeal:

“In this Fourth World Day devoted to them, let us show our tender love for the grandparents and the elderly members of our families. Let us spend time with those who are disheartened and no longer hope in the possibility of a different future“.

And he conveys his blessing and prayers, “to all of you, dear grandparents and elderly persons, and to all those who are close to you.”

“In place of the self-centred attitude that leads to loneliness and abandonment, let us instead show the open heart and the joyful face of men and women who have the courage to say ‘I will not abandon you’, and to set out on a different path.”

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2024

See Full Text of the Message by Pope Francis for WD of Grandparents and the Elderly



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