02/09/14 Pastor’s Message

February 18th, 2014 by helen in Pastors Message Archive 2014

From Fr. Dennis’ Desk

On Aging

“The elderly must not be regarded as a burden for society, but as a resource that can contribute to its well-being,” Blessed Pope John Paul II explains. “It is not just about doing something for the elderly but also about accepting these persons as responsible collaborators, in ways that will make this really possible, as agents of shared projects, either in the phase of programming, or of dialogue and realization.”  The Holy Father proposes that such policies be complemented with formative programs geared to educating individuals for old age throughout their lives, focusing “not only on doing, but above all on being.”

Blessed Pope John Paul II got it exactly right when he wrote a letter “On Aging” in 2002, just a few months shy of his 82nd birthday.  The Pope explains that this value allows for an appreciation of life “in all its facets and in the acceptance both of the possibilities as well as the limitations that life has.”

In last Sunday’s Gospel for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we were introduced to Simeon and Anna whose prophetic presence lead them to pray in the Temple without ceasing until they beheld their salvation, the Infant Lord Jesus Christ.  We are told that Anna is a widow, age 84, and that Simeon (of uncertain age) waited their whole lives for the coming of the Lord.

How beautiful it is to savor the richness of the aged in our faith community, and indeed our society, today.  As people of faith, we can learn so much from them, listening to their life stories and faith journeys.  After all, they are our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.  Without them, we likely would have no Catholic faith.  Cherish them, learn from them, ask them questions about their lives, and really listen to them.  The faith they profess in Jesus Christ is an inspiration to us all, and is quite simply sacred.

Visit or call your elderly parents, grandparents, or great grandparents (or a neighbor or other family member) today.  Don’t put it off, and promise yourself you’ll get to it after the next round of Super Bowl commercials or one more bowl of chili.  Think of Blessed Pope John Paul II as he aged as the world watched.  There is such richness in the accumulation of years, both for a faith life and for life in general.  My grandparents are all deceased.  How I wish that I had been more attentive to their stories and their lives of faith.  Don’t miss the opportunity.

Yours in the beauty of faith,

Fr.  Dennis J. Vincenzo

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