In the first place, it’s about making visible not only the millions of elderly who suffer the alluded throwaways culture — those that are alone, those that have to support, with their fragile retirement pensions, their children and grandchildren, those that are used and sometimes mistreated by their own families, those that are ignored because they belong to a generation that doesn’t think the same way, etc, –. We must also value all those elderly that are transmitters of the faith in the family, collaborators, and volunteers in multiple ecclesial tasks, animators of other elderly that fall apart in their new situation of retirement . . .
In the second place, we must spread the Church’s interest in starting a pastoral <ministry> of the elderly, in which those that go before us in life’s race are not only the recipients of our pastoral action. Of course, when an elderly person is alone, he must be accompanied, and when he is sick, he must be cared for, and when he needs the comfort of the Sacraments, he must be given them.
However, the elderly don’t only need the Church; they are the Church and, therefore, protagonists of the Church’s pastoral care: the elderly evangelize, transmit the faith in the family, collaborate in thousands of tasks . . . The elderly are, finally — as Pope Francis has highlighted so many times –, an inexhaustible source of experiences and wisdom that we must not discard.