Program of propositions
We offer some thoughts from the speeches at the Congress of Rome " The richness of many years of life "; it is the result of the exchanges we have had several times in the Executive Committee (by videoconference). The pandemic has led you to invent new ways of working; it is a sign of vitality and a willingness to give LA a future: let these few tracks guide you either in the themes of reflection that you can propose to your members or in the actions that you can implement.
-1) Old age must be a time of fertility: May the elderly (Es) put at the service of society and the Church their availability and experience of life, nourished by their faith; this time of fertility must be recognized and valued in society and in the Church; St. John Paul II said in 1984 that "you must feel active subjects of a humanly and spiritually fruitful period"
-2) All Es are actors in an evangelistic mission:
- participating in Church services
- by accompanying dependents, by implementing "a pastoral of the ear» (Cardinal Farrell) or the "revolution of tenderness» (Pope Francis)
- praying, when, weakened by age and illness, they can no longer "act" or engage
-3) Es have spiritual needs that need to be addressed: hence the need to establish a specific catechism and a program of spiritual reflection (sense of old age, illness, dependence, how to approach the end of life, transmit the faith), all this allowing to deepen one's intimacy with God.
-4) PAs have a mission to accomplish with the younger generations:
- by being " spreaders " of values; they must bear witness to the 'art of being', the meaning of life.
- by being " spreaders " of faith with their grandchildren or younger generations: what does faith bring to life?
The intergenerational dimension appears in most interventions; an idea close to Pope Francis' heart: "I dream of an alliance between the young and the old"
Some practical questions posed by our commitment to the implementation of this pastoral care:
- What is the priority (or priorities) for your local Movement?
- Who can we act with? Structures may already exist...
- all of us, do we not have to intervene with Episcopal Conferences in a spirit of synodality?
These questions join the call expressed in her conclusion by Gabriella Gambino, undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity: to create networks of collaboration between dioceses, parishes, movements of lay people.