A Co. Mayo grandmother, the driving force behind the world’s first national Catholic Grandparents Association, has been honoured in a prestigious People of the Year awards scheme.
And now Catherine Wiley hopes the Rehab Mayo People of the Year accolade will help the Association “reach into every parish in Ireland, so that we can support grandparents in their efforts to pass on the faith.”
Mrs Wiley, a grandmother of ten who lives in the shadow of Croagh Patrick at Murrisk, Co. Mayo, will receive her award at the presentation function in Westport on Friday, November 27th.
She was “thrilled beyond belief” when 14,000 people turned up at Knock Shrine in September for the launch of the Association by Cardinal Sean Brady, Primate of All-Ireland.
“In 2007 and 2008, we held National Grandparent Pilgrimages in Knock Shrine, attracting 5,000 and 10,000 pilgrims respectively,” explained Mrs Wiley.
“From that, we realised there was a need for a Catholic Grandparents Association. When we researched it, we were amazed to discover it would be the first such organisation in the Catholic Church anywhere in the world.”
Last year, Pope Benedict XV1 penned a universal prayer for grandparents, in response to representations from Mrs Wiley and Irish grandparents.
“There has never been a more important time for grandparents to take their place in the Catholic Church. Society faces many problems, and the wisdom and faith of grandparents can be of enormous benefit,” added Mrs Wiley.
“The Catholic Grandparents Association seeks to support grandparents in every way it can. This will include social and spiritual support.
“The Association has arisen from a pastoral need to support grandparents, and we will also assist grandparents in their very important role of passing on the faith to their grandchildren.
“I have been getting a strong feeling of renewed hope from grandparents. They have been fearful about how the faith will be transmitted, but are gaining confidence from what is being done now with the Catholic Grandparents Association.
“You are never too old or too frail, to play a part. Prayer has great power.”
Branches of the Catholic Grandparents Association have been formed in parishes in Galway and Mayo in recent weeks, and anyone interested in establishing a branch in their area can visit www.CatholicGrandparentsAssociation.com, or contact the organisation’s office on 098 24877.
The 2010 National Grandparents Pilgrimage takes place on Sunday, September 12th, in Knock Shrine.