Embracing Faith Through Community: Pope Francis on the Young and Old

By Maria Bohan, Interim Communications Manager


This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Community.

Embracing Faith Through Community

“The alliance between the elderly and children will save the human family.”

– Pope Francis


In Western society today, it can seem that people are locked in a constant battle against aging. Getting older is viewed as a crisis, prompting impulsive purchases, or as a problem to be solved, leading people to seek plastic surgery or anti-aging products.


While speaking at the Vatican this month, Pope Francis shared a different perspective on aging.


When referring to the vision of a white-haired yet vigorous and powerful God that Daniel received, the Pope said, “The image of God, who watches over everything with snow-white hair, is not a silly symbol. It is a biblical image; it is noble and even tender.”


The Pope went on to note the contrast within God’s appearance in this vision: God’s white hair implies his age, but his strength and vitality imply his eternal youth.


Drawing on this contrast, Pope Francis advised that we strengthen the connection between the young and old. The Pope praised the wisdom that can only come with age, calling it uniquely “credible to children.”


How can we follow Pope Francis’ advice and bridge the gap between the youth and the elderly? One way is to turn to the organizations already in your community.


If you are a senior, consider organizing a group that volunteers at a local school, public library, or community center.


If you are a young person, parent of a young person, or someone who works with young people, you could take a similar path and organize a group to volunteer at the local senior center or hospital, or you could simply offer your help to an elderly neighbor or family member. You could also write a letter to a senior through the program Love For Our Elders.


Let us follow Pope Francis and work together to build a community where there are frequent, meaningful interactions between the young and old. These interactions will uplift us all.


***Please note that this will be the final Embracing Faith article for the next few weeks as the series will be going on hiatus. We look forward to connecting with you again soon.***