Grandparents can help children to understand the Faith and see that people must be valued for who they are, not simply what they can do, Elphin’s Bishop Kevin Doran has said.
Speaking at the national pilgrimage of the Catholic Grandparents’ Association to Knock Shrine, Bishop Doran said that with today’s harsh economic realities causing parents to seek help from grandparents in caring for children, there is scope for “rich relationships between children and their grandparents”.
Dr Doran noted that Pope Francis has often spoken about how grandparents can help teach children how to pray, and said he knows young adults who have received the Faith as a gift from their grandparents.
“I have met young adults whose faith was not nourished by their parents, but who greatly value that wonderful gift that they received from their grandparents in being introduced to Jesus and to the life of the faith community,” he said.
Advising the gathered grandparents to take an interest in what their children were learning about the Faith in school, he urged them to share their own Faith stories.
“I know that children love it when grandparents tell stories from the past,” he said. “I want to encourage you also to share the stories of your own Faith; not just your Faith now, but your Faith when you were their age. Let them see that you have had the same questions as they have.
“Help them to see how you are still nourished by the Eucharist. Help them to see how the gifts of the Holy Spirit still play a part in your own life today,” he continued.
Noting too that “before you can change social structures, you have to change people’s hearts”, Dr Doran encouraged grandparents to help children avoid taking a functional view of humanity, where other people are “valued more for what they can do than for who they are”.
Dr Doran stressed that grandparents should not be valued only as childcarers for busy parents, and pointed to how abortion, human trafficking, and unfair treatment of employees are all examples of people being valued according to their usefulness.