The financial resources of grandparents – “the Bank of Grandma and Granddad” – are helping many families through the current economic crisis, the Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady said today.
Cardinal Brady was speaking at the foundation of the world’s first-ever national Catholic Grandparents Association at Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo.
Over 14,000 people turned out in resplendent sunshine for the National Grandparents Pilgrimage, including a 102 year-old Co. Roscommon man, Michael Lambert.
“The resources of grandparents will be critical to the pace of our economic recovery. We salute with gratitude the Christian vocation of being a grandparent,” added Cardinal Brady.
By passing on the faith, grandparents could protect their grandchildren against “something more dangerous than swine flu” – the “deadly danger of despair.” He also assured pilgrims that Ireland will come through the current recession.
Catherine Wiley, the Co. Mayo grandmother who founded the Catholic Grandparents Association after establishing the National Grandparents Pilgrimage in 2007, said she was “stunned” by the turn-out.
“We expected about 10,000 people, based on the attendance at last year’s National Grandparents Pilgrimage. We must thank God and Our Lady for giving us such a beautiful day which allowed so many people to come along,” she said.
“The Association will be a voice for grandparents, and will also offer them practical assistance. In many cases, grandparents are the ones holding families together.”
The occasion also saw the launch of a song – My Guiding Light, a Tribute to Grandparents – by ten year-old Emma Humber.
Among the special guests was 95 year-old Co. Mayo man, Tom Ketterick, who recently qualified for the final of the World Cup Brown Trout angling finals on Lough Mask, Co. Mayo. He was accompanied by three other generations of his family, including four great-grandchildren.
The Association will be formed at parish level around the country. Membership will be €20 per year, which will help to cover the cost of newsletters, the annual Pilgrimage, and other events.
A website – CatholicGrandparentsAssociation.com – has been built to help spread the news of the Association’s existence.