Pope Encourages Intergenerational Friendships

Pope Francis expressed the need to bridge the gap between the young and old so that older people can share their faith and wisdom with those who are younger.

“Let’s think about dialogue, about the alliance between old and young,” he said, as well as make sure this bond is not broken. “May the elderly have the joy of speaking, of expressing themselves with young people and may young people seek out the elderly to receive the wisdom of life from them.”

It was an appeal one small boy in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall seemed to take to heart, walking past the guards and straight up to the pope to stand transfixed by his side during the final greetings at the audience’s end.

“During the audience we talked about dialogue between old and young, right? And this one, he has been brave and he’s at ease,” the pope said about his small guest to applause.

The pope continued his series of talks on old age and reflected on how reaching a ripe old age is a reassurance of eternal life in heaven.

The vocation for every older man and woman, the pope said, is to bear witness to the faith and to the wisdom acquired over the years.

“The witness of the elderly is credible to children. Young people and adults are not capable of bearing witness in such an authentic, tender, poignant way, as elderly people can,” the pope said.

“It is painful and harmful to see that the ages of life are conceived of as separate worlds, in competition among themselves, each one seeking to live at the expense of the other. This is not right,” he said.

An alliance between the elderly and young people “will save the human family,” he said. “There is a future where children, where young people speak with the elderly. If this dialogue does not take place between the elderly and the young, the future cannot be clearly seen.”

During the last part of the general audience, when the pope offers special greetings to those attending from different parts of the world, the pope reaffirmed his prayers for Ukraine, asking that people not forget “this martyred people.”

There was also a brief interruption during the greetings when a Swiss guard, who was standing behind one of the language speakers, fell face forward, dropping his halberd. Two men from security assisted him in standing back up and another Swiss guard took his place.

Source: Catholic News Service