Pope Francis on Sunday January 31, 2021 announced the institution of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place annually on the fourth Sunday in July, close to the feast of saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. The maiden edition was fully observed across the Martyrs of Uganda Parish in the Bole district of the Savannah region on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Church services were held across the length and breadth of the Parish to mark the day and to pray for the elderly in the society.
In a sermon, the Parish Priest, Very Rev Fr Martin Monsayir emphasised that protecting and caring for the elderly is a Christian duty. However, in recent times changes in our socio – cultural and economic system is adversly affecting the proverbial caring attitude towards elderly dependant. Most aged people are on the streets begging to eat. The neglect of the elderly according to Fr Monsayir is gradually becoming a social problem. It is against this backdrop that some Non-Governmental Organizations have taken-up the the issue regarding the caring of aged dependants. In the light of this, he charged his parishioners to help strengthen the St Vincent de Paul society, a charity group in the Parish to help support the elderly dependants and the weak.
In recent times it is becoming dreadful to grow old because society today value youthfulness over wisdom, thus the potential contribution by the elderly is down played. In the light of this, people make all attempts to wallpaper the cracks of ageing in their lives. The case of old women in our society today is even worse. The proverbial old lady according to Fr Monsayir, who is the family counselor and custodian of wisdom is now the witch of the family whose death the family continually wish.
He stated that most parents today teach their children to be scared of their grandparents. Today the council of the elderly is considered to be outmoded, thus developing a culture which is alienating the elderly. He therefore charged society to reverse those trends of elderly alienating values and to share in their wisdom and experience.
In conclusion, Very Rev Fr Monsayir reiterated that older people should not be done away with. He said they are full of wisdom that comes with experience. They are capable of serving the Church and society if given the chance and should be encouraged to do so.
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