Among the many delegations of elderly expected to be at the meeting with Pope Francis, there is also that of the National Association of Pensioners and Elderly (Anp) from the province of Foggia. Filomena Casoli, Secretary of the Provincial Federation and organizer of the trip, briefly tells us its history.
1) Mrs. Casoli, on September 28th you will lead a group of 50 people from the province of Foggia. Please, tell us about the associations or the parishes that compose your group? Why did you decide to participate in this event?
The association is not a part of the life of the parishes, but among the large number of its associates, many have a lively and perceptible faith in Christ. In April this year, the association held provincial and municipal assemblies, where many expressed the desire to visit the Holy Father. This wish, often repeated, even became an approved resolution to organize a meeting, perhaps at the end of October.
When we learned, through the ad on TV, about the day dedicated to our world, promoted by the PCF, and we recognized it as providential, so much so that it seemed more than appropriate to make the day of our meeting coincide with the more general encounter on September 28th.
2) In what particular ways does your association work to support and promote the elderly?
The Anp protects the individual rights of the elderly and pensioners, with a spirit of solidarity between the generations; it develops policies and actions at the national and local levels for the defense of the welfare state and for representing the interests of older people in relation to the central government, public institutions, regions, and local authorities. Throughout the country, since 1972, over 465,000 pensioners of all categories have joined us.
One particular activity, among the many in which we are involved, is research and monitoring intended to develop and promote interventions in the area of social welfare, and the most important is certainly the analysis of services social offered by local authorities.
3) Are you a grandmother? Can you tell us something about the initiatives that you have undertaken so that the elderly may once again become the salt of our society?
Although I became a grandmother a few months ago, I am not elderly and, as secretary appointed by the provincial federation, I have been following the association for the past three years.
The engagement developed by the association, beyond the defense of the rights of the elderly who need help, is that of promoting the active role of older people in society, with the motto "Diversity as a Value." Now, that is why we are creating service teams for the aged, managed directly by the elderly.
4) What does this day in close contact with the Holy Father mean to your group of seniors and grandparents? What fruits do you think can come from it and grow to maturity?
Being in contact with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, will be a moment of spiritual growth for the participants as well as an encouragement not to give up in face of life's difficulties, which are not always related only to old age.