Saturday, October 5, 2013

Senior Citizens Within the Church

The Catholic Church of Korea needs to establish a Sunday dedicated to the elders, says a professor who has made a study of the problems of the aged. In an interview with the Peace Weekly she claimed that "The Church has no interest in the old," shaking her head repeatedly as she spoke, according to the interviewer, and noted that we will have to prepare for a society, in 2026, with 20 percent of its citizens over 65.
The Peace Weekly mentioned that in the year 2000 the percentage of those over 65 was 7 percent. In the year 2050 over 37 percent, one of the highest in the world. Some dioceses don't have an apostolate for the aged, most of the concern limited to providing educational programs for senior citizens. And yet many of them, unlike seniors in the past, are in extremely good health and should not be seen, she said, primarily as needy elders requiring help, but as contributing members of society, using their talents in the service of others.

We have Sundays for the young, for the military, for the sanctification of  families, she pointed out, but no concern for those who mostly attend our Sunday Masses, the aged. There is no diocese, she says, with a department set aside for the aged, though subdivisions of departments are set aside for this apostolate.

The Seoul diocese, she says, with its bureau for the aged, has done the most to work with the elderly, and she hopes they will raise it to a department to better focus on the needs of this apostolate. Which she says, can develop along three areas of need: Education, Culture and Service. Education, to develop the capabilities of the aged; the cultural aspects, to strengthen their sense of self worth; and service, to enable them to be of service to others.  There are few parishes, she says, with classes set aside for the aged to instruct them in meeting the challenges to the faith that come as we age. And this is becoming more urgent, she reminds us, as the number of seniors within the Church is increasing faster than within the larger society.

Even those who are not well can be motivated to develop their spiritual lives and pray for the community and others. When we consider the great wealth of talent that is present in the community of senior citizens, it becomes our duty, she says, to use this talent for the benefit of all.

No comments:

Post a Comment