Do Not Forget Your Grandparents
By Most Rev. James A. Tamayo, Bishop of the Diocese of Laredo
Grandparents Day will be observed in just over a week on September 13, 2020. Honoring our grandparents this year should be given a new sense of priority given the isolation, loneliness and grief many have experienced throughout the pandemic. Pope Francis recently extended an invitation to young people to be creative in finding ways to reach out to grandparents who may be alone to help them know that they are loved. As Grandparents Day approaches, I join my voice with that of our Holy Father to encourage our youth to plan special ways of showing love, not only to your grandparents, but to the senior citizens who live in your neighborhood, those from your church and others in your community.
As with many celebrations during the pandemic - in order to respect social distancing guidelines - creativity is essential. Find ways to show that you care through virtual visits; video calls or messages; or perhaps through hand-made cards and/or signs. Grandparents are often the glue that hold families together. They are responsible for beginning and maintaining traditions that strengthen the love among family members.
As older generations are at the greatest risk in our population should they contract COVID-19, the past few months have naturally created more fear among people in an older age group. In an effort to protect them, many family members and friends have avoided visiting. While social distancing is necessary, it is important to find new ways to show that you care - even beyond Grandparents Day.
The Catholic Charities – Diocese of Laredo Senior Center has been filled with silence since the pandemic began to spread in Laredo. This is a sharp contrast to the days when prayers were recited together, conversations were shared over meals and fellowship was enjoyed while participating in various activities. One woman who began to frequent the Senior Center lives only a block away. While she has children, they are now adults with their own families, and they rarely visit her. She was grateful for the warm lunches provided by the Center; but even more than that she enjoyed the friendships she made. Through a continued partnership with the Border Area Nutrition Council, lunches are delivered every weekday to the seniors who regularly went to the center prior to the pandemic; but many are alone and have a void due to the lack of regular interaction with others over the past few months.
There are many throughout our diocese in a similar situation. Grandparents and senior citizens play an important role in families, in the community and in society. Assure grandparents that they are not forgotten. Light up their days by sharing special heartfelt messages or simply by checking in. Will you make this Grandparents Day extra memorable for your grandparents and senior citizens who are alone?
You can type a short loving message on our website to be delivered to a senior citizen living in one of the 7 counties of the Diocese of Laredo. I also invite you to share your photos with the hashtag #SALUDOSALOSABUELOS, and to send them through a message on the Diocese of Laredo Facebook page: Facebook.com/DioceseofLaredo. Photos that are shared will be posted to our social media sites to inspire others to show gestures of love toward our grandparents…TODO CON AMOR.
Make this Grandparents Day extra special for your grandparents and other senior citizens.