FORT PIERCE | For many of today’s grandparents, passing on a legacy of faith to this generation is both loving and challenging.
Census data shows that 42 percent of grandparents are “grandparent caregivers,” directly raising young children, the highest percentage being in the south. The Catholic Grandparents Association is encouraging parishes to celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Sunday, July 25, under the banner of their mission statement, “To help grandparents pass on the faith and to keep prayer at the heart of family life.” The designation comes after two decades of direct action and planning.
The organization was founded in 2001 by Catherine Wiley, an Irish grandmother of 10, who lives in Ireland part-time and made it her life’s mission to promote the unique vocation of grandparents in passing on the faith. In 2008, an official prayer for grandparents and the elderly was authored by Pope Benedict XVI in response to the association’s request for a sacred writ of intercession.
In 2009, she organized the National Grandparents Crusade, a pilgrimage to the Diocese of Palm Beach – the first in the United States – arranged through the diocesan Office of Family Life and Marriage. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola which was well attended. Families came from more than 100 miles away to attend.