Excerpts from a Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Elderly, 1999
Elderly people help us to see human affairs with greater wisdom...they are the guardians of our collective memory, and thus the privileged interpreters of that body of ideals and common values which support and guide life in society. To exclude the elderly is in a sense to deny the past, in which the present is firmly rooted...
... Dear elderly brothers and sisters, as I encourage each of you to live with serenity the years that the Lord has granted you, I feel a spontaneous desire to share fully with you my own feelings at this point of my life... Despite the limitations brought on by age, I continue to enjoy life. For this I thank the Lord. It is wonderful to be able to give oneself to the very end for the sake of the Kingdom of God !
Grant, O Lord of life, that we may be ever vividly aware of this and that we may savour every season of our lives as a gift filled with promise for the future.
Grant that we may lovingly accept your will, and place ourselves each day in your merciful hands.
And when the moment of our definitive "passage" comes, grant that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope.
Mary, Mother of pilgrim humanity, pray for us "now and at the hour of our death". Keep us ever close to Jesus, your beloved Son and our brother, the Lord of life and glory.
Blessings of Age
A Pastoral Message on Growing Older
Within the Faith Community
The U.S. bishops invite older persons, their families, and their faith communities to develop new initiatives that encourage the participation of older persons in society and in the Church. Recognizing the social, economic, and spiritual implications of this rapidly growing age group, the bishops encourage a fresh perspective that embraces the gift of aging. Special words are offered for (1) older people themselves, (2) caregivers, (3) the parish faith community--pastors, staff, volunteers, and all parishioners, and (4) younger adults. The publication also includes reflection and discussion questions, current statistics, and helpful suggestions. Released in commemoration of the United Nations' "International Year of Older Persons."
Complete pastoral message : www.usccb.org/laity/blessings/english.htm
Ministry of Praise
Founded in 1979 by Reverend Jeremiah C. Duggan, at St. Bede the Venerable Parish, Chicago, the Ministry of Praise can be the spiritual lifeline of a parish by enhancing its members' spiritual lives and bringing blessings upon the whole community. Father Duggan believed that the power of prayer, and the needs of frail elderly or homebound people play an important part in the ministry of the parish. We are called by our Baptism to serve and minister to each other. Ministry of Praise enables people who cannot leave their homes to respond to their call to serve.
How can you get started? Call us!
Other helpful websites
Illinois Department on Aging: http://www.state.il.us/aging/
Find your Illinois Area Agency on Aging: http://www.state.il.us/aging/2aaa/aaa-main.htm
Other Web Resources for Seniors: http://www.state.il.us/aging/2wwwlinks/links-main.htm