The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life picks up Pope Francis’s invitation for young people to show closeness to the elderly who are experiencing loneliness due to COVID-19 lockdown.
After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square and recalling the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Ann, Jesus’ grandparents, Pope Francis on Sunday invited young people around the world to perform “gestures of tenderness” toward the elderly, as many are forced into isolation to observe COVID-19 health guidelines.
“Dear young people,” the Pope said on Sunday, “each elderly person is your grandparent!” He then begged young people not to leave the elderly alone. “Use the fantasy of love,” he told them. Then he gave them some suggestions:
“Call them, video chat with them, send them messages, listen to them, go and visit them when it is possible while observing health precautions, send them a hug.”
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life quickly answered that call and launched “The elderly are your grandparents” campaign.
Kindness for the elderly
In a communiqué released on Monday, the Dicastery invited young people “to do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely.”
“The pandemic has hit the elderly particularly hard and it has disconnected the already weak links between generations,” reads the statement. “However, respecting social distancing rules does not mean accepting a destiny of loneliness and abandonment.”
The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life recalled examples of people contacting the elderly by phone and internet, with some even performing serenades to the residents of retirement homes.
“Young people,” says the communique, “have been doing this to help alleviate the loneliness being felt by many people who are obliged by the pandemic to stay at home or remain confined in residential care facilities.”
Send a hug
Since health regulations remain in place in many areas to protect the elderly, the Dicastery urges young Catholics to send a hug to the older people of their parish or neighbourhood who may be experiencing loneliness.
They can do so by phone, video call, or by sending an image.
“Wherever possible − or whenever the health emergency will allow it − we invite young people to make the embrace even more concrete by visiting elderly in person.”
Share on social media
Young people are encouraged to share their outreach efforts on social media by including #sendyourhug in the post.
The best posts will be shared on the social media accounts of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life @laityfamilylife.
Vatican News and Devin Watkins – Vatican launches #sendyourhug campaign to support elderly
Vatican News and Sr Bernadette Mary Reis fsp – Pope to young people: use the ‘fantasy of love’ to reach out to the elderly