With Theme ‘I Am With You Always’ taken from Matthew 28:20 in Holy Bible, St Francis Xavier Church-Bejai Celebrates the FIRST World Day for “Grandparents and the Elderly” as initiated by Pope Francis to take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July, and on 26 July 2021, a large number of Grandparents along with their Grandkids gathered at Bejai Church for a Holy Mass especially offered for them. The Church needs “a new covenant between young and old.” When all is said and done, the theme, “I will always be with you”, which is the theme Pope Francis has chosen; it would be that Grandparents will be with you always because they are before they’re born right through our own lives until we leave them and then when we’re up in heaven praying for them to join us.
Mangaluru: There’s no doubt that grandparents are awesome. When you were a kid, they were most likely the people you went to for an endless amount of love and to be totally spoiled. They gave you candies, biscuits and other eatables, etc. and let you get away with so much more than your parents would. They are also the wise ones you go to for advice since they’ve seen so much more of the world than you. Even though “Grandparents Day” has been celebrated for decades, universally for the FIRST time Pope Francis initiated the First World Day for GRANDPARENTS and ELDERLY” for ‘GRANDPARENTS and ELDERLY ‘ to take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July. While the Catholic Churches all over the world, including India, locally here in Mangaluru a grand celebration of “Grandparents Day” was held at St Francis Xavier Church, Bejai-Mangaluru on Sunday, 25 July at 9.30 am, which was a perfect time to tell the Grandparents and Elderly how much they are loved. This was a very good initiative to show the grandparents how much we all care about them and how important they are to us. It’s a thank you for all of the goodies and gifts they gave you, or the awesome birthday presents they gave you. It was the easiest way to show your appreciation by letting them know how much you care. I know I would be completely clueless without my grandma’s wise words telling me how to live- but sadly both my grandparents are deceased.
108-year-old “Great-Great Grandpa” Michael D’souza of Hat-Hill, Mangaluru with his Great-Great grandchild
For many of us, our grandparents “cared for us, ever since we were children. Despite lives of hard work and sacrifice, they were never too busy for us, or indifferent to us. They looked at us with care and tender love. When we were growing up and felt misunderstood or fearful about life’s challenges, they kept an eye on us; they knew what we were feeling, our hidden tears and secret dreams. They held us in their arms and sat us on their knees. That love helped us grow into adulthood.”
A child needs a grandparent, anybody’s grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world. Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth as vitamins. A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend. What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, and lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies, candies and whatnot. Grandparents are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re there. Grandparents make the world a little softer, a little kinder, and a little warmer. They are a special gift from God. They are the pillars of our family and special to every child. With this thought in mind, a special day was dedicated to the wonderful grandparents at Bejai Church- Mangaluru nicely organized by Bejai Senior Citizens Welfare Association, under the able and dynamic leadership of Juliet Mascarenhas-the President of the Association and also a Grandmother; and also helped by the youth of ICYM-Bejai.
The mass was concelebrated by Fr J B Saldanha-Parish Priest of Bejai Church; along with Fr Robert D’Souza- Principal of Lourdes Central School-Bejai; Fr Suraj Joseph Lobo- Assistant Priest; Fr Vincent Sequeira; and Fr Anush D’Cunha Deacon. In his homily, Fr Robert reflected on the Gospel passage from St. John, which recounts the story of when Jesus fed multitudes through the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes. He pointed to the last part of the passage, when Jesus directed his disciples to collect the leftover pieces of bread, so that “nothing may be lost.” “This reveals the heart of God,” he said. “Not only does he give us more than we need, he is also concerned that nothing be lost, not even a fragment. A morsel of bread may seem a little thing, but in God’s eyes, nothing is meant to be thrown away. Even more so, no person is ever to be discarded,” he explained, adding that our grandparents and elderly “are not leftovers from life, scraps to be discarded.”
Fr J B Saldanha while thanking the members of Bejai Senior Citizens Welfare Association and ICYM urged young adults to visit their grandparents, their elderly relatives, and the older people in their neighborhood. “They protected us as we grew, and now it is up to us to protect their lives, to alleviate their difficulties, to attend to their needs and to ensure that they are helped in daily life and not feel alone,” he said. May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us and gave us life,” he stated. After the mass, members of ICYM presented a rose and a memento to every grandparent that attended the special Mass, which put bright smiles on their faces. And this was the FIRST special celebration at a mass commemorating Grandparents Day- Kudos to Bejai Senior Citizens Association, ICYM-Bejai and also the Clergy and management of st Francis Xavier Church-Bejai.
Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented grandparents and the elderly with many challenges, including long periods in lockdown being unable to see their grandchildren and other loved ones. There’s never been a harder time for grandparents, and they’ve had to “stand by helplessly and watch their families struggle. So many parents had to stay at home to educate their children; they couldn’t visit their grandparents, their grandparents couldn’t get out to see them. So this World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is the “ultimate gift” for them “in just appreciation and an acknowledgment of what they can do and what they are prepared to do for their families.”
As part of the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Vatican has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who participate, either by attending a related spiritual event or by physically or virtually visiting the elderly, sick, or disabled on July 25. On the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis said he is worried about how an individualistic society treats its older members, and he urged young people to give them love and attention. “I worry when I see a society full of people in constant motion, too caught up in their own affairs to have time for a glance, a greeting, or a hug,” the pope said in a homily read by Archbishop Rino Fisichella on July 25 during a mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica-Rome.
Pope Francis’ homily was read during a Mass for around 2,500 elderly people and grandparents, together with their children and grandchildren. “Our grandparents, who nourished our own lives, now hunger for our attention and our love; they long for our closeness. Let us lift up our eyes and see them, even as Jesus sees us,” he stated. The Mass, scheduled to be said by the pope, was instead celebrated by Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, while Pope Francis is convalescing at the Vatican after undergoing colon surgery July 4.
In January, Pope Francis established the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Anne and Joachim. The theme of this year’s grandparents’ day is “I am with you always,” In a message released ahead of this year’s celebration, Pope Francis encouraged the elderly to continue to spread the Gospel even in their old age. “There is something beautiful here. Your prayer is a very precious resource: a deep breath that the Church and the world urgently need,” he stated.
GRANDMA MRS PHILOMENA CONCESSAO (Bejai Parish):
For the grandmother of four, for Mrs Philomena Concessao of Bejai parish, this inaugural Grandparents Day is an answer to many prayers and persistence over the years, and she says that this occasion “is not just for us, it’s for all the grandparents in the world to come in recognition of the incredible contribution they’ve made.” Asked about what her own grandchildren think about this inaugural day, she said her grandchildren are very enthusiastic, remarking, “what would we do without our Grandparents?”. This is what her grandchildren had to say, “We are not spoiled, we were well taken care of by our grandparents, after grandpa passed away, it is the grandma who takes care of us. The best place to be when you’re sad is your grandparent’s lap. Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children, and we are lucky to have such grandparents. Our grandma may be old on the outside, but young on the inside, and she is fun to be around us. We love her, and wish her Happy Grandparents Day”
GRANDPARENTS JESSY & JEROME D’SOUZA of Bejai Parish:
This is what the Grandkids (Nikita and Nimita-the children of Mrs Sheba (daughter of Jessy & Jerome) and Alphonse Raj in Australia; and Tanya and Jaden-the children of Terrence (Son of Jessy & Jerome) and Patricia also in Australia) have to say to their grandparents-“The beautiful bond between you both and us represents the sweetest relationship. You both are our mentors, our guides and our constant source of happiness. You helped us to grow to become better people. On this Grandparents Day of 2021, we want to take this initiative to thank you and show you our gratitude for your constant love, support and care. You are a true blessing in our lives and we cannot express how much we love you. You have constantly showered us with your unconditional love. You have made our childhood colourful and meaningful. We feel so lucky to have you in our lives and your sweet smiles can easily remove our stress. The precious moments that we’ve got to spend with you are the most unforgettable memories. It’s hard to think of our childhood without you. We love the way you simply solve every trouble in our lives. Thank you for your kindness, knowledge and invaluable advice. We love you both forever”.
Here is what Grandparents Jessy & Jerome D’souza had to say about their grandkids, “The most precious thing in this world is a smile on the face of a grandchild. Grandchildren carry the hopes for our brighter tomorrow and the dreams of our happy future. May your innocent smiles and the purity of your hearts stay forever unfaded. God loves every child so much that he creates each one of them with unimaginable perfection. Nikita, Nimita, Tanya and Jayden, you all are the flowers from heaven and dearest to God. Never let the kid in yourselves die and make sure to take care of it whenever needed. Your kinder heart would make everything better. Papa and I are so proud to call you our grandkids and we love you so much”
GRANDPARENTS ADVOCATE J J V FERNANDES & RENNY FERNANDES (Bejai Parish):
Here is what the grandparents have to say about their grandchildren (Dean, Daniel, Nicole & Karl) -“We are one of the most privileged grandchildren of our grandparents. They are great sources of wisdom and knowledge, who guided us in every aspect of our life. From them, we have learnt many values such as Patience, Generosity, Perseverance and Eagerness. Their caring nature touches the souls of not only us but many others. They live in the present, grateful that they see the light of each new day, living the remainder of their lives slowly, enjoying the simple pleasures of life. We’re very proud of our grandparents who are a great inspiration for us”.
GRANDPARENTS JOE & CECILIA PINTO (Bejai Parish):
Here is what grandchildren (Dhillon, the son of Sharal (Pinto’s daughter and Dolton; Lisa and Leon-children of Shannon (Pinto’s son) and Pramila) had to say about their grandparents- “We like our grandparents. They teach us to respect elders and love them. We like to play a few traditional games with them, which they enjoy with us. We like to pray and eat together. Abha & Mai, both love us too much and we love them too, and we can never find such grandparents who are so caring and loving. Memories with our grandparents will be cherished by us for the rest of our lives. We hope that they will continue to teach us more good things so that we can carry on to teach our children/grandchildren someday as they have done with and for us. We have fantastic grandparents who are so thoughtful and caring and they mean everything in the world to us. They are one of a kind and always there when we need them. They encourage us to reach higher goals than even we believed we could reach. We have been successful in school, and life because of their support. They are just like our parents, more caring and loving. . They are our shining light, our mentors, security, and giver of affection. They are the ones who guide us down the right path in life. We love our grandparents”
In conclusion, in my perspective, the reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy. If nothing is going well, call your grandparents. Grandchildren don’t need a lot of toys. The best thing a grandchild can have is a grandparent who gets down on the floor and plays with them. Grandchildren are a grandparent’s link to the future. Grandparents are the child’s link to the past. Grandparents hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. They are God’s gift to us, as we are to them. When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window. Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent. If you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents, visit them, cherish them and celebrate them while you can- BUT KINDLY DON’T IGNORE THEM! Thank You.