The Vatican this week launched the “elderly are your grandparents” campaign in response to the call of Pope Francis for young people to show closeness to the elderly.
On Sunday, July 26, the pope invited young people around the world to perform “gestures of tenderness” toward the elderly, as many are forced into isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life immediately answered that call and launched “The elderly are your grandparents” campaign.
In a communiqué released on Monday, July 27, the Dicastery invited young people “to do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely.”
“The pandemic has hit the elderly particularly hard and it has disconnected the already weak links between generations,” read the statement.
“However, respecting social distancing rules does not mean accepting a destiny of loneliness and abandonment.”
The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life recalled examples of people contacting the elderly by phone and internet, with some even performing serenades to residents of retirement homes.
“Young people have been doing this to help alleviate the loneliness being felt by many people who are obliged by the pandemic to stay at home or remain confined in residential care facilities,” read the statement.
Due to health regulations, the Dicastery called on young Catholics to “send a hug” to older people of their parish or neighborhood who may be experiencing loneliness.
They can do so by phone, video call, or by sending an image.
“Wherever possible — or whenever the health emergency will allow it — we invite young people to make the embrace even more concrete by visiting elderly in person,” read the letter from the Dicastery.
Young people are also encouraged to share their outreach efforts on social media by including #sendyourhug in the post.
The best posts will be shared on the social media accounts of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life @laityfamilylife.