Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Pope to focus on grandparents after newlyweds

Published:Wednesday | September 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Guido Tassara (left) and Gabriella Improta, just married by Pope Francis, exchange rings during a wedding ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

(AP): First, Pope Francis married 20 couples to highlight the role of
families as the heart of the Catholic Church. Next up is a special Mass
for grandparents.

Francis and 100 elderly priests will celebrate a
Mass in St Peter's Square on September 28 in honour of the elderly,
part of his long-standing belief that old people shouldn't be shut away
in retirement homes but should be actively cherished for their wisdom.

40,000 people from 20 nations are expected to attend. Francis plans to
give each one a copy of the Gospel of Mark, written in large-size type,
said Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Vatican's family office.

said yesterday that one of the elderly couples taking part in the Mass
recently fled the Islamic militant crackdown in northern Iraq and would
recount their story to the crowd.

Francis was particularly close
to his own grandmother Rosa. He has also said having Emeritus Pope
Benedict XVI, 87, in the Vatican was like having a "wise grandfather"
living at home.

The Mass for grandparents, and the group wedding
that Francis celebrated last weekend, are aimed at focusing attention on
family life ahead of a major two-year church study on family issues
starting October 5.