Do you or did you have a grandparent that was instructive in your faith formation? For many of us, we have been endeared to our faith not only at the prompting and rearing by our parents, but often we can recall the devout faith of a grandparent that has molded us into a person of faith. Be it a soft-spoken grandfather or generously good-natured grandmother, there is something powerful in the nurture and witness of grandparents.
As Catholics, our faith is full of signs and witnesses, but often it is our immediate family which serves to convict us the most. Despite arguments and doctrine, it is the familial connections that draw us back to the wellspring of love, and because of grandparents’ age, they are often veritable sages of experience.
A ministry that empowers grandparents to participate in their important vocation is the Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA). Born out of a British grandparent’s desire to get other grandparents involved in passing on the faith, the CGA today focuses much of its attention in inspiration, awareness and prayer. From its beginnings, the CGA’s main focus has been the development of pilgrimages in the British Isles. The goal of these pilgrimages is to bring grandparents into the realization of their purpose and vocation toward passing on the faith to younger generations. Beyond pilgrimages, CGA serves as a forum to provide advice from other grandparents on what works for promoting the faith.
Many grandparents within our diocese may be interested in forming a CGA branch or support group in their parish. The focus of these groups is to assist grandparents in: ∙ Acknowledging their vital role in the family ∙ Developing loving relationships with their grandchildren ∙ Furthering intergenerational dialogue ∙ Passing down their faith to a younger generation ∙ Striving toward these aims within a community centered on prayer ∙ Supporting each other in person and in prayer.
If you are yourself a grandparent, please consider this important ministry. As parents are the primary educators of their children, so grandparents serve as a vital resource to their sons and daughters in helping them form future generations in the Church. If you have any questions about the CGA in our area, please visit the CGA website at: www.catholicgrandparentsassociation.org/category/3usa/
By Matthew Canter