"I would like to renew the gesture of giving you a pocket-sized Gospel. It is the Gospel of Luke that we read on the Sundays of this liturgical year. The booklet has been given the following title: 'The Gospel of the Mercy of St. Luke'; In fact, the Evangelist reports Jesus' words: 'Be merciful like your Father', that inspired the theme of this Jubilee Year. It will be distributed to you free of charge by volunteers of the Santa Marta pediatric dispensary in the Vatican and some elderly persons and grandparents who live in Rome. The grandfathers and grandmothers who transmit the faith to their grandchildren are truly deserving! I invite you to take this gospel and to read it, a little passage every day, so that the mercy of the Father might dwell in your heart and so that you will bring that mercy to everyone you meet."
This is how Pope Francis concluded the Angelus this Sunday, on the third anniversary of his pontificate, inviting nearly a thousand elderly people to transmit the Good News physically in St. Peter's Square, by delivering copies of the Gospel of Luke to the faithful present.
This initiative, organized by the Pontifical Almonry with the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for the Family, involved elderly people from different parishes in Rome (including San Gaetano, Jesus the Divine Master, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Joseph al Trionfale) and many of the area’s associations (Senior Italia Federanziani, Famiglie Nuove, ALATEL Lazio, ANLA, FNPCISL Roma e Rieti, FEDERCENTRI, Lazio Forum of family associations), coordinated at the Center for family ministry of the Vicariate of Rome.
In particular, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, commenting on the gesture expressed by the elderly in St. Peter's Square, underscored the beauty of this gesture, noting how, "on the anniversary of the election of Pope Francis to the Papacy, hundreds of elderly persons are at his side, sharing the common mission of every Christian, which is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the whole world. In a society that continues to reject what is old and seemingly unproductive, the Christian community strongly recalls the dignity and the immense value of every man and every woman. The elderly must not and cannot stay home: they have a task and a vocation; especially the young need them; they need to their announcement and their testimony."