Blessings of Age – A Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops

Blessings of Age is a Pastoral Message on Growing Older Within the Faith Community. It is addressed to Older Persons, Caregivers. and Pastors, Pastoral Staff, and Parishioners. Following is an excerpt from the final section addressed to Pastors and Pastoral Staff.

A Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Because parishes differ in their particular needs and resources, we offer a few foundational principles for parish ministry with older persons.
1. Older people are providers, not just recipients, of pastoral care.
2. Older people themselves should help to identify their pastoral needs and decide how they are met.
3. Older people are as diverse, if not more so, than other generational groups.
4. Older people need a mix of activities that connect them with each other as the larger faith community.
5. Spiritual health affects and is affected by the individual’s physical, emotional, mental, and social health. While the faith community is especially concerned about meeting spiritual needs, it cannot ignore these other realities.–1999

Editor’s Note: Ten years after this Pastoral Letter was written, family ministers can easily affirm the above principles. The challenge is to actualize these goals in specific, concrete ways lest they become pious platitudes.