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Second World Day of Grandparents and elderly in Uganda

Pope Francis on 31 January 2021 announced a new celebration in honour of all grandparents and the elderly to be celebrated annually on the Sunday of July nearest to the Feast Day of Grandparents St Joachim and Anne. This year it happened to be on 24th July with the theme for the year being, “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps.92:15). The theme brought hope and renewal in the lives of the Elderly in Uganda. It promoted dialogue across generations, the young remained asking “So the elderly can still bear fruit!” and the elderly asked themselves “You mean, we can still bear fruit?

The theme brought the elderly at the center of pastoral attention. The church authorities (Parish priests and Bishops) urged the younger generation to respect, honour and pay attention to the needs of the elderly in the communities. They advised them to seek for valuable lessons from elders because the elders are in possession of indigenous knowledge and norms of our society. Various activities to make the day meaningful especially to the elderly were carried out throughout the different dioceses and the focus on the day was much more than last year. The activities included the following;

  • Talks on various radios including Radio Maria and Radio Sapientia included messages enhancing knowledge about the day and emphasized the role of elders in our families and the society at large. Life Ascending Uganda (LAU) got opportunity to share about the same message on these radios.

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(L) The (LAU) General Secretary Mr. Jerome on a radio talk show presenting a special talk on LAU

(R) The General Secretary Mr. Jerome visits his 76 year old primary head teacher at her home

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Youths supporting an elder into the church- Lubaga Cathedral Parish

  • Special prayer activities were organized such as novenas, reciting the Rosary with lonely elders, praying for the elders who have passed on and Priests provided sacraments to those in need.
  • The preceding week to the day was marked as a charity week and was mainly organized by the youth Apostolate together with Good Samaritan groups in the various parishes.

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Elders receiving from Good Samaritans clothing for themselves and their grandchildren

- Konge Lukuli Parish Kampala Archidiocese

  • Life Ascending Uganda provided mentoring talks to the elders of various parishes in Kampala Archdiocese, Lugazi diocese, Jinja diocese, Soroti diocese and Gulu Archdiocese.
  • The day was marked with Holy Mass in most of the parishes. The youth shared Liturgical roles with the elderly and as such the elderly cheerfully joined the choir and the offertory procession. Some parishes offered the elders a meal and a cake and the day was crowned with a moment of music and dance in some parishes.

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(L) Photo moment with the elders of Konge – Lukuli Parish after mass

(R) Elders from Ggaba Parish sharing as they wait for a meal after mass

In conclusion, the day was well marked and enhanced awareness of Life Ascending Uganda activities in the country. It also brought about emergence of interest in the care of the elderly. Above all, the day was significant in bringing recognition and renewed focus towards the presence and role of the elders in the church.

We are grateful to his Holiness Pope Francis for the initiative of World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

Greetings to all grandparents and the elderly, in Europe, Latin America, USA, Canada, Asia, Australia and Africa. May we all thank God for the Gift of Years.

Margaret Atim Mugeni

President Life Ascending Ouganda