MEMORIAL OF SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNE, PARENTS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
from Pope Francis’ Message on the First World Day of Prayer for Grandparents and the Elderly, July 25, 2021
Tradition has it that Saint Joachim, the grandfather of Jesus, felt estranged from those around him because he had no children; his life, like that of his wife Anne, was considered useless. So the Lord sent an angel to console him. When he mused sadly outside the city gates, a messenger from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joachim, Joachim! The Lord has heard your insistent prayer.” Giotto, in one of his celebrated frescoes, seems to set the scene at night, one of those many sleepless nights, filled with memories, worries and longings to which many of us have come to be accustomed. Even at the darkest moments, as in these moments of pandemic, the Lord continues to send angels to console our loneliness and to remind us: “I am with you always.” He says this to you, and he says it to me. This is the meaning of this Day, which I wanted to celebrate for the first time in this particular year, as a long period of isolation ends and social life slowly resumes. May every grandfather, every grandmother, every older person, especially those among us who are most alone, receive the visit of an angel.