Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly Mass for the first time Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Pope Francis instituted the special Mass in January to honor the elderly as main evangelizers and preservers of roots and one of the groups most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Mass will be celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of July, near the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, grandparents of Jesus.

The inaugural commemoration draws from the importance of faith, tradition and service as expressed in the Gospel. Echoing closeness, community and love, Pope Francis selected “I am with you always,” as the theme for the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly from a promise Jesus made to the disciples before ascending into heaven.

The Mass seeks to encourage the young to be present in the lives of older people and reaffirm the elderly in their mission of evangelization, sharing their faith with the young. Additionally, where possible and in accordance with health regulations, Masses can be celebrated in hospitals and homes for the elderly worldwide.

“We need to remember that we owe our grandparents everything. Let us pray for them today and thank God for them, especially for passing on the beautiful gift of our Catholic faith,” Gomez tweeted Sunday afternoon.

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