VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE INSPIRATION FOR WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS – JULY 30: FEAST DAY OF BLESSED SOLANUS CASEY

Where on earth has July gone?! So hard to believe this Sunday is August 1st! Because the Holy Father is still convalescing from his July 4 surgery, it was fairly quiet in the Vatican this week except for Sunday’s Mass for the First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, and an unprecedented trial that began in the Vatican on Tuesday.

For Pope Francis, July is traditionally the month in which he takes a kind of working vacation, remaining in the Vatican but reducing public appearances to the Sunday Angelus. He sends the occasional telegram or message to a group but in-person meetings are reduced to the minimum.

Today, for example, the Holy Father sent a telegram of condolences for the death on Thursday in Rome of French Jesuit Cardinal Albert Vanhoye. Vanhoye had turned 98 on July 24. An eminent biblical scholar, the cardinal was rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He led the 2008 Lenten Retreat for the Curia. The cardinal’s funeral in St. Peter’s Basilica is Saturday, July 31.

VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE INSPIRATION FOR WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS

I had the great joy of interviewing two dear friends, a dynamic duo – Catherine Wiley and Marilyn Henry – this week to talk about the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. Catherine founded the Catholic Grandparents Association in the UK and Marilyn Henry coordinates CGA in the U.S. Grandmothers themselves, they tell us the riveting tale of how CGA came about and how a lot of work by Catherine over 12 years led to this new World Day! You will be very inspired by their remarkable story!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

JULY 30: FEAST DAY OF BLESSED SOLANUS CASEY

(Franciscanmedia.org: Blessed Solanus Casey’s Story (November 25, 1875 – July 31, 1957) – a story I really had to share as it is so inspirational!)

Barney Casey became one of Detroit’s best-known priests even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions!

Barney came from a large family in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. At the age of 21, and after he had worked as a logger, a hospital orderly, a streetcar operator, and a prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee—where he found the studies difficult. He left there, and in 1896, joined the Capuchins in Detroit, taking the name Solanus. His studies for the priesthood were again arduous.

On July 24, 1904, Solanus was ordained, but because his knowledge of theology was judged to be weak, he was not given permission to hear confessions or to preach. A Franciscan Capuchin who knew him well said this annoying restriction “brought forth in him a greatness and a holiness that might never have been realized in any other way.”

Photo from Solanus Casey Center

During his 14 years as porter and sacristan in Yonkers, New York, the people there recognized Solanus as a fine speaker. James Derum, his biographer writes, “For, though he was forbidden to deliver doctrinal sermons, he could give inspirational talks, or feverinos, as the Capuchins termed them.” His spiritual fire deeply impressed his listeners.

Father Solanus served at parishes in Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he was porter and sacristan for 20 years at St. Bonaventure Monastery. Every Wednesday afternoon he conducted well-attended services for the sick. A co-worker estimates that on the average day 150 to 200 people came to see Father Solanus in the front office. Most of them came to receive his blessing; 40 to 50 came for consultation. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.

Father Solanus’ sense of God’s providence inspired many of his visitors. “Blessed be God in all his designs” was one of his favorite expressions.

The many friends of Father Solanus helped the Capuchins begin a soup kitchen during the Depression. Capuchins are still feeding the hungry there today.

In failing health, Solanus was transferred to the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, in 1946,  where he lived for ten years until needing to be hospitalized in Detroit. Father Solanus died on July 31, 1957. An estimated 20,000 people passed by his coffin before his burial in St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit.

At the funeral Mass, the provincial Father Gerald said: “His was a life of service and love for people like me and you. When he was not himself sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for people. He loved people for what he could do for them—and for God, through them.”

In 1960, a Father Solanus Guild was formed in Detroit to aid Capuchin seminarians. By 1967, the guild had 5,000 members—many of them grateful recipients of his practical advice and his comforting assurance that God would not abandon them in their trials. Solanus Casey was declared Venerable in 1995, and beatified on November 18, 2017.

REFLECTION

His biographer James Patrick Derum writes that eventually Father Solanus was weary from bearing the burdens of the people who visited him. “Long since, he had come to know the Christ-taught truth that pure love of God and one’s fellowmen as children of God are in the final event all that matter. Living this truth ardently and continuously had made him, spiritually, a free man—free from slavery to passions, from self-seeking, from self-indulgence, from self-pity—free to serve wholly both God and man” (The Porter of St. Bonaventure’s, page 199).

 

THE CHURCH CELEBRATES THE WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

THE CHURCH CELEBRATES THE WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

There is no better time to write a “day after” story than today, July 26, the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, grandparents to a young man from Nazareth named Jesus. The parents of Mary, Joachim and Anne were the grandparents par excellence and surely on everyone’s mind as the Church yesterday celebrated the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

I’ve had this feast day on my mind for quite some time, well before, in fact, Pope Francis announced on January 31 at the Angelus that he had instituted such a feast day.

You see, two of my dear friends, two amazing women, both of whom are grandmothers, are Catherine Wiley from the UK and Marilyn Henry from Houston, Texas. Catherine founded CGA, the Catholic Grandparents Association some years ago after she became a grandmother and Marilyn coordinates CGA offices in the US. CGA is in 63 nations today!

Here we are celebrating this world day at La Vittoria (all roads lead to Rome and in Rome, all roads lead to La Vittoria) – Marilyn on the L and Catherine on the R in a post-prandial moment!

Catherine opposite her husband Stewart, and Marilyn across from her husband Deacon Ken Henry

The idea for a world day was born after Catherine met so many grandparents on pilgrimages she organized for them in the early years of CGA. Pilgrimages were to Our Lady of Knock in Ireland and to Our Lady of Walsingham in England, near Catherine’s home, at first, then eventually to other shrines, other countries.

CGA and the pilgrimages were Catherine’s passion and even more so was her desire to see the Church celebrate a World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. Over the years – always with Marilyn by her side, in person or in prayer – she had a number of meetings in Rome with Curial officials, especially the dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. She wrote to Pope Benedict, asking him to write a prayer for Grandparents (which he did!) and, over time, all the people who could make such a world day a reality – not least of all Pope Francis! – made that happen. Above all, Pope Francis!  As we found out on Sunday, January 31.

And here we are – the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is now in the history books!

To say Catherine and Marilyn – who were in Rome with their wonderful, very supportive husbands – were over the moon at this World Day becoming a reality and then to be present for the celebratory Mass, is an understatement. (You’ll hear more about their work, the CGA, the World Day and their reaction on Vatican Insider. I asked them to make time during their short stay in Rome to talk to me).

Marilyn and Catherine had VIP seating for the Mass Sunday and, as they looked around the basilica, they saw not only grandparents and elderly, they saw many of their Roman Curia friends who had made this day possible.

Brunch with Marilyn and Ken Henry –

Pope Francis was still convalescing from his July 4 surgery so did not preside at Mass yesterday. In his stead was Abp. Rino Fisichella, president of the Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, who read the Pope’s touching homily.

Francis did, however, appear at his study window overlooking St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus. He called on everyone to applaud grandparents: “Grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together show the beautiful face of the Church and the covenant between the generations.”

The 10am Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica brought together some 2,000 plus people from the diocese of Rome and some of its associations that carry out pastoral activities for the elderly. There were grandparents with their grandchildren and there were also some elderly, many of whom for the first time were able to leave the homes in which they have been isolated for over a year because of the many pandemic-related precautions.

At the end of the Mass, Abp. Fisichella blessed flowers carried by young people and offered to grandparents with the Pope’s message, “I am with you always,” the theme of this world day!

It was a day that naturally made me think about my own grandparents (on Mom’s side we are Swiss and German and on Dad’s side we are Irish and Welsh!), so many special moments and places and events coming to mind about three of them. We always lived close to all grandparents so that was an extra bonus. One grandmother died when I was three and I have no real memory of her. I thought of my own parents as they became grandparents and lived that role with such zest and joy! SO many stories came to mind! I am not a grandmother but hope I am a spiritual grandmother to my 9 nieces and nephews and my 26 great-nieces and nephews!

VATICAN INSIDER: SPECIAL EDITION ON PAPAL MOTU TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – CHURCH TO MARK FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

L’Osservatore Romano in the weekly English edition: I’m not sure if this link will work because, as of July 1, the Vatican newspaper requires a paying subscription. I have paid but am not sure if it works if I merely post a link or if you will be asked to sign in. ING_2021_030_2307.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

VATICAN INSIDER: SPECIAL EDITION ON PAPAL MOTU TRADITIONIS CUSTODES

Because of the repercussions heard around the world since the July 16th release by the Vatican of Pope Francis’ Motu proprio TRADITIONIS CUSTODES On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970, I am dedicating the interview segment of Vatican Insider to a Special about this papal document. I will try to examine the whys and wherefores of TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – which is Latin for Guardians of Tradition – and look at its reception.

As you probably know by now, the motu proprio was accompanied by a lengthy letter to the world’s bishops in which the Pope explained the reasons behind his decision to abrogate previous norms for the Latin Mass. I will look at both the motu and the papal letter to bishops and then examine some of the questions that have arisen since the papal document’s publication.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

CHURCH TO MARK FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

This Sunday the Vatican will inaugurate the very first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, a day that Pope Francis established at the end of January this year. He will not, however, be presiding at Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as he continues to recover from his July 4 surgery in a Rome hospital for diverticular stenosis of the colon. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, will celebrate the July 25th World Day Mass.

Princess Leonore, held by Sweden’s Queen Silvia, gives a papal key chain to Pope Francis during her grandmother’s private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this April 27, 2015, file photo. The pope has chosen the theme, “I am with you always,” for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated July 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis selected the fourth Sunday of July for this annual celebration as the nearest date to the July 26 feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. The theme of this first World Day is “I am with you always.”

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR 1ST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND ELDERLY

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR 1ST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND ELDERLY

At the Sunday Angelus, January 31st of this year, Pope Francis announced the institution of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to take place each year on the 4th Sunday in July, close to the July 26 feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Blessed Mother and grandparents of Jesus.

Francis said he wanted a World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly because “grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on what the elderly have received.” He said it is important for grandparents and grandchildren to get to know one another, because “as the prophet Joel says, grandparents see their grandchildren dream, … while young people, drawing strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy.”

That day is now just over a month away and the Vatican this morning, in a press conference, presented a papal video about this new Church celebration and plans for the celebration in Rome and in dioceses throughout the world.

The World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, prepared by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, will take place on Sunday, July 25 on the theme “I am with you always” (cf. Mt 28:20). Pope Francis will preside at a Mass together with the elderly in St Peter’s Basilica at 10am.

When I posted the news of the papal announcement on February 1st, I thought immediately of two people, now very dear friends, who were in no small way behind the idea for such a day – Catherine Wiley who founded the Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA) in the UK and Marilyn Henry who founded the American branch of this association.

We spoke (and I interviewed them for Vatican Insider) when they were in Rome for the January 29-31, 2020 “The Richness of Many Years of Life” conference organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life that brought together 550 participants from 60 countries. Catherine told us how she came to found this Association and both women spoke about the work of CGA and how grandparents can join this unique, lively and loving association.

When the Holy Father held an audience for this group, Catherine was able to personally greet him and, taking advantage of that brief time with Pope Francis, asked him if he might consider the idea of a World Day for Grandparents!

It seems he listened to that proposal!

Here is a link to Pope Francis’ video message, made public today by the Vatican: Pope to the elderly: God sends his angels to console your loneliness – Vatican News

Lots of info and suggestions and good ideas here: Pastoral resources and other information: World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly (laityfamilylife.va)

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the dicastery for Laity, Family and Life said at tofay’s press conference, “The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is a celebration. We really needed it: after such a difficult year we truly need to celebrate, grandparents and grandchildren, young and old. We should celebrate and rejoice.” (vatican media)

Noting that tenderness is a key word of Pope Francis’ message, the cardinal said, “Tenderness towards the elderly is needed because, as the Holy Father recalls in the message we present to you today, the Virus ‘has been much harsher with them’. For this reason, the Pope hopes that an angel will visit, and will come down to console them in their solitude, and he imagines that this angel looks like a young person who visits an elderly person.2

“On the other hand,” he added, “the Day also speaks to us of the tenderness that grandparents show towards their grandchildren, of the solid guide that the elderly can be for many disoriented children, especially in a time like the one we are living in, in which personal interaction has become rare. Tenderness is not just a private feeling, one that soothes wounds, but a way of relating to others, which should also be experienced in public. We have become accustomed to living alone, to not hugging each other, to considering the other as a threat to our health.

Cardinal Farrell explained that, “In a frayed and hardened society emerging from the pandemic, not only is there a need for vaccines and economic recovery (albeit fundamental), but also for relearning the art of relationships. In this, grandparents and the elderly can be our teachers. This is also why they are so important.” (CNS photo)

Princess Leonore, held by Sweden’s Queen Silvia, gives a papal key chain to Pope Francis during her grandmother’s private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this April 27, 2015, file photo. The pope has chosen the theme, “I am with you always,” for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated July 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“I would like to focus on a theme dear to the Holy Father: the wisdom of the elderly,” said the cardinal. “Insisting on wisdom does not stem from the idea that elderly people are endowed with greater wisdom than others, rather they have an experiential wisdom – the wisdom of many years of life. The elderly are a great resource for getting out of a crisis, better and not worse. This is above all to help us understand that what we are experiencing is not the first crisis, nor will it be the last, and that the story of mankind is placed in a history that transcends them.”

He concluded: “I hope that the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly helps us to grow in our love for the elderly and to discover them as teachers of tenderness, guardians over our roots and dispensers of wisdom. For our part, the whole Church repeats to every grandparent and to every elder: “we will be with you always”, until the end of time. (vatican media)

The Apostolic Penitentiary grants a Plenary Indulgence for this day, “under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, motivated by a true spirit of penance and charity, will participate on 25 July 2021, on the occasion of the First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, in the solemn celebration that the Most Holy Father Francis will preside over in the Vatican Papal Basilica or at the various functions that will be held throughout the world, who may also apply it as suffrage for the souls in Purgatory.”

“This Court of Mercy also grants the Plenary Indulgence on this same day to the faithful who devote adequate time to actually or virtually visiting their elderly brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty (such as the sick, the abandoned, the disabled and other similar cases).

“The Plenary Indulgence may also be granted to, provided that they detach themselves from any sins and intend to fulfill the three usual conditions as soon as possible, the elderly sick and all those who, unable to leave their homes for a serious reason, will unite themselves spiritually to the sacred functions of the World Day, offering to the Merciful God their prayers, pains or sufferings of their lives, especially during the transmission, through the means of television and radio, but also through the new means of social communication the words of the Supreme Pontiff and the celebrations.”

The Penitentiary requested “priests, equipped with the appropriate faculties to hear confessions, to make themselves available, in a ready and generous spirit, for the celebration of Penance.”