Dear Grandfathers and Grandmothers, Dear Elderly Friends, “I am with you always” : this is the promise the Lord made to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. They are the words that he repeats to you today, dear grandfathers and grandmothers, dear elderly friends. “I am with you always” are also the words that I, as Bishop of Rome and an elderly person like yourselves, would like to address to you on this first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about you, loves you and does not want to leave you alone! (From Pope Francis) This World Day that we are celebrating today can help us to understand that all of us, young and old, grandparents and grandchildren, whether or not we belong to the same family, are “one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call”. This awareness comforts us and shapes us as a people as we gather around the altar on which the Lord multiplies the bread of life and the Word of our salvation. The elderly − like the young − are important. Without them the body of the Church lacks something. That is why it is necessary for them to have their rightful place within each of our communities. It is crucial that we share in the lives of older people in the same way that the Lord, in giving us his Body and Blood, has made us sharers in his own. In his message for this World Day, the Pope quotes Benedict XVI when speaking of prayer as a specific mission of the elderly: “the prayer of the elderly can protect the world and help it perhaps more incisively than the toil of so many. Your prayer is a most precious resource: it is a lung of which the Church and the world cannot be deprived