“Dear brothers and sisters, elderly friends! In a world like this which often makes a myth of strength and power, it is your mission to witness to the values which truly count, going beyond appearances, and which endure forever because they are engraved on the heart of every human being and guaranteed by the Word of God.

Precisely as so-called “senior citizens”, you have a specific contribution to make to the development of a genuine “culture of life” – you have, we have, because I also belong to your age group – witnessing that every moment of our existence is a gift of God, and that every season of human life has special treasures to put at the disposal of all.

You yourselves can experience how time spent without the disturbance of so many occupations can encourage a deeper reflection and a fuller dialogue with God in prayer. Your maturity also spurs you to share with those who are younger the wisdom accumulated with experience, sustaining them in their effort of growth and dedicating time and attention to them at the moment when they are opening themselves to the future and seeking their own way in life. You can accomplish a truly precious task for them.

Dear brothers and sisters! The Church looks to you with great esteem and trust. The Church needs you! But civil society also needs you! This is what I said a month ago to the young people, and what I say today to you, to us, elderly people! The Church needs us! But civil society also needs us! May you be able to use generously the time you have at your disposal and the talents God has granted to you in being open to assisting and supporting others. Help proclaim the Gospel as catechists, leaders of the liturgy, witnesses of Christian life. Devote time and energy to prayer, to reading the word of God and to reflection upon it.”

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Pope St. John Paul II

Homily on the Jubilee of the Elderly

Sept 17th, 2000

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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

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