Holding my grandson in my arms while he sleeps is an amazing gift. Gazing at his long brown eye lashes (his father’s), I am brought back to the time when I held my daughter while she slept. I wonder what my mother thought while holding my daughter, and my grandmother holding me as one of her many granddaughters.

Although I inherited memorable genetic traits from my parents, it was their life stories and those of my relatives, elderly friends, teachers and acquaintances that influenced me more. There were times I did not want to listen or stop to take the time as I had games to play and things to do — but reflecting on these graces, I am glad I listened to them and observed their kindness with others.

God’s presence in these people were both indeed gifts and guidance. God’s gift of life passes from one generation to another, uniting us as a community to raise one another up. What stories or traits do we pass to the next generation as a community of faith?

As God’s perfect design, how readily do we accept the responsibility, vulnerability and intimacy to trust one another?

It is no coincidence or miraculous alignment of the planets that we recognize and celebrate grandparents and the elderly, the memorial of Sts. Anne and Joachim (the grandparents of Jesus), Natural Family Planning Awareness and the teachings of “Humanae Vitae” all within the same week, July 24-30. We celebrate the lives of our community — the young, the old, the married, the celibate. As a community, we are all called to support one another and celebrate the life that God has given each of us. How can we support those who are vulnerable in their physical, emotional and spiritual health? How do we support those who are single, widowed, undecided in their vocation or have lost their way?

Share with your homebound parents, grandparents or elderly friends the opportunity to watch the live-streamed 2nd World Celebration for Grandparents and Elderly Day Mass celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne on July 24 from the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Burlington at 10 a.m.

Invite your grandparents or elderly friends to attend Mass with you or ask them how you might pray for them. Call your parish rectory ahead of time to see if there might be a special blessing offered after Mass.

What are the stories our children, our grandchildren and their children will tell about this current time? There are plenty of media sources filtered through the third person. God’s truth, His wisdom, can be found in the interactions with others. Seek the stories of those who have experienced life, those found in the first person and ask how God has been witnessed in their life.

— Terri McCormack is the marriage and family life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington.

— Originally published in the July 9-15, 2022, edition of The Inland See.