Pope Francis announced his prayer intention for the month of July will be the well-being of the elderly, saying that the world has not yet learned how to accommodate the longer life spans and a greater proportion of old people in society.
The pontiff announced his prayer intentions Thursday, noting that July 24 will be the 2nd Annual World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
Reflecting on his own advanced age, the pope warned that the modern world has begun to forget the importance of the elderly and that society is not sure how to handle citizens’ longer lives and advanced ages.
“We cannot speak about the family without talking about the importance of the elderly among us,” Pope Francis said in the announcement.
He added, “We don’t quite know how to live this new stage of life there are many plans for assistance for the old age, but few projects for existence.”
The pope, 85, has revisited the topic of old age and deterioration many times in recent years. His lessons and comments on the nature of growing old — often optimistic in nature have taken on new potency as the pontiff struggles through a series of health concerns while continuing his physically demanding work.
In a sermon earlier this month, the pope told his listeners that old age was a time when Christians must learn to accept the help of others — even in the basic tasks of day-to-day life. He compared the helplessness of old age to the serenity of giving up control of one’s life to God.
The pontiff continues to suffer from a variety of health problems, most notably his injured knee. The pope informed the public that he will not be celebrating the Eucharist for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi this year – the third consecutive celebration he will be forced to miss.
The pontiff began being escorted via wheelchair to his appearances last month – the first time he’s needed such support since his surgery in 2021. Pope Francis has previously opted to sit when possible instead of standing for prolonged periods of time.