On this World Day of Prayer, we reflect on Pope Francis’ prayer intention for this month: “that the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.”

Every year, the excitement builds. Every year there is anticipation of great joy from old and young alike. No, it’s not opening presents at Christmas but it’s our school on Grandparents day. This day is when grandparents come to our school to be with their grandchild but more than that, they come to be part of our school community. The loving influence of the grandparents on children can’t be underestimated. Grandparents are free from the immediate responsibility of parenting but hold a unique bond with grandchildren. Grandparents add depth and foundation to the experience of family.

When a grandparent was asked not to take the crying toddler out of the playpen by a parent, it caused that grandparent a major dilemma. So the grandparent, not wanting to go against the parent, agreed and instead he got into the playpen with the toddler. This grandparent’s action like many others brings wisdom to what is really important in fostering the next generation.

It is in these actions, grandchildren experience a reinforcement of love in a meaningful way. A grandparent’s life experience of praying through the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of life allows belief and faith to be shared in the most natural manner. Going to Mass for young children with Granddad or Nan is part of sharing life. Through grandparents our children learn and retain prayers through routine and loving relationships. These routines of belief ground our children for faithful growth.

Ronan Barry
School chaplain.
Contributor to the Sacred Heart Messenger
Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network - Ireland

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