In this week’s blog, Fr Paddy highlights the importance of the role played by Grandparents in everyday family life.


Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist Papers.

This column appeared on 28th August 2009

Around Ten Thousand people, young and old, are expected to attend the Third National Grandparents Pilgrimage which takes place in Knock Shrine on Sunday, September 13th. Grandparents hold a very important role within family life; Grandparents often speak about a freedom to indulge love and affection to their grandchild that may have been more restrictive when rearing their own family. Often Grandparents enjoy this time, perhaps without the stress, in building a loving relationship with their grandchildren.

Pope Benedict XVI supports and encourages the important role of Grandparents in our present culture, and sees an important responsibility in their role as communicating values and morality that continue to be relevant to all generations. Pope Benedict has commissioned a special prayer for this event. The organizer and indeed brain child of this great gathering is Catherine Wiley. Catherine is a native of Mayo, a Mother and Grandmother who passionately believes the important and necessary role, of the Christian family in the modern world. Mrs. Wiley, a grandmother of 10 children said: Many Grandparents may feel that they are taken for granted, this pilgrimage seeks to put this right, and also to honour them for their role in helping to pass on the Catholic faith from generation to generation,. Grandparents are a strength, a treasure, and vitally important to the wellbeing happiness to society as a whole. This pilgrimage will also honour St. Joachim and St. Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. Pilgrims will travel from all over Ireland to take part in this event.

The extended family holds an important role in family life. A family that has a healthy and loving relationship with grandparents benefits greatly by this influence. Often old traditions and family memories can be shared and passed onto the new generations. Young people naturally like to be listened too and have the sense that they are being herd. A loving relationship between Grandparent and child will help cultivate confidence and a positive self image for our younger generation. Grandparents have a very important responsibility to share their often very rich faith. This can also be an opportunity to teach prayers and evangelize a generation so hungry for meaning and purpose in life. Frequently grandparents are the glue that holds family life together. Grandparents can provide the continuity and stability that is such a crucial element in family solidarity.

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam also underlined the important role that Grandparents play in the life of the Church Grandparents have an important role in passing on tradition, culture and most of all the Christian faith to countless generations of people. Children unconditionally love and value the very unique relationship that comes from a grandparent. May the good Lord bless all our Grandparents alive and those who have gone before us.

The following is a poem entitled Grandparents

Grandparents bestow upon their grandchildren the strength and wisdom that time and wisdom have given them.

Grandchildren bless their grandparents with a youthful vitality and innocence that help them stay young at heart forever.

Together they create a chain of love linking the past with the future.

The chain may lengthen but it will never part.