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Catherine Wiley Homily Knock Pilgrimage

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I would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart, for coming here today. I would also like to thank everybody who has helped to make this Pilgrimage such a success.. A very very special thank you to Cardinal Sean, who has honoured us by his presence today and encouraged us immensely by his inspiring words.I would like to thank Our Priests, for without them we would have no faith No Eucharist. Remember them always in your prayers.

Pope John Paul 2nd, said that Shrines of Our Lady were the appropriate places for Families to come together to give thanks and to find their identity. So we are in the right place at the right time. We are here in our thousands united by a common goal. – to do the very best we can for our families and our grandchildren. This is the age of grandparents in the Church – the age when we are called upon to embrace our vocation to pass on the faith to the next generation. We are needed now, as never before, by our families, by the Church, by the world at large.

A great deal has happened since we met here last year and launched the beautiful prayer which our Holy Father wrote for us. We have kept our promise to share that prayer with grandparents all over the world. We first of all presented the Pope’s prayer to the Pontifical Council for the Family at its sixth world family congress in Mexico in January, where we distributed forty thousand copies, and with the help of the Pontifical Council we have had the prayer translated into all major languages. And as a result of our pilgrimage here in Knock we now have grandparents pilgrimages in Germany, the USA, Tanzania, Australia, and the Holy land. If you did not come here in your thousands, I could not go out there and tell other countries. So Irish grandparents are leading the world in this great work,. We are missionaries like our forefathers before us as well as being natural evangelists in our own families..

When I read that beautiful prayer in Mexico in front of all those prelates, Cardinals, Archbishops with wonderful robes and splendid titles I was struck by the titles that our Holy father bestowed on us grandparents- STRONG PILLARS OF GOSPEL FAITH, GUARDIANS OF NOBLE DOMESTIC IDEALS, LIVING TREASURIES OF SOUND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, THEM TEACHERS OF WISDOM AND COURAGE who pass on to future generations the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience. These are titles of which anyone would be proud.

So there is no doubt about our importance at this critical time. In fact the need is so great, and your response to these pilgrimages so enthusiastic, that we think the time is ripe for establishing a forum where we could meet throughout the year to plan, discuss and pray together about our great task of handing on the Faith. It will be called simply ‘The Catholic Grandparents Association’. We will need volunteers to help us, local organizers to open branches and start groups. But most of all we will need every grandparent in this country and in this basilica to join the Association. . Please fill in the membership form that you have been given and return it to us today. Give it to one of the Volunteers, so that we can contact you..

We have enjoyed 1600 years of Faith in this country and we cannot be the generation that failed in handing it on. God has given us the time, the wisdom, the maturity to do so.. We now spend more time looking after our grandchildren than ever before. So let us use every opportunity to teach them and to show them the way, so that, in the words of our Holy Father, “We may one day be reunited with them in our heavenly homeland for the great embrace of life without end”..

To pass on the torch of Faith is our vocation – our job from which we can never retire. When we light this candle today let us resolve to pass on that torch of faith and pray that it never goes out in this country. Make this commitment now today, make sure you fill in this form and become a member of the Catholic Grandparents Association so that this light might shine throughout this country until we meet this time again next year on the 12th of Sepember . GURA MILE MIT AGAT SLAN AGUS BEANNACHT . We will now light the candle.


Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

October 1, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Catherine Wiley, homily

Homily of Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, for Ireland’s third National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage, Knock

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“We salute with gratitude the Christian vocation of being a grandparent … So I say, tell your grandchildren all you know about God.  [Your] role in Irish families has always been cherished … it is one of the things which made our society strong, especially in the most challenging economic times in our history” – Cardinal Brady

My sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ,

What a joy to see so many of you – but especially so many grandparents – gathered here at Mary’s Shrine. I extend a warm welcome to you all.

I am sure like me, you always feel so ‘at home’ here at Our Lady’s Shrine at Knock. The Mother of God wants us to feel at home in her presence. She wants us to feel at home with her Son and with the whole company of heaven in every celebration of the Eucharist. Here the beautiful representation of Our Lady, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist with the Eucharistic Lamb of God, here at the Apparition Chapel in Knock are a rich and beautiful gift to each one of us and to our country.

I pray that, as a country and as individuals, we will always be worthy of such a wonderful gift. I pray that, as individuals and as a country, we will always honour the faith of our own grandparents and great grand-parents.  It is a faith that is reflected in this serene and prayerful place and treats it with the respect and reverence it deserves.

I extend a particular welcome today to all who have gathered to celebrate this wonderful event of the Third National Pilgrimage for Grandparents. I congratulate Archbishop Neary, Catherine Wiley, Monsignor Joseph Quinn and all those who have been involved in this tremendous initiative. It has certainly touched a chord with so many people.

It has become almost a habit to say that Ireland is changing. This event today reflects one of the most wonderful and welcome changes in Ireland in recent times.  In the past fifty years, life expectancy in Ireland has increased by almost ten years. It is estimated that by 2050 one in four of the population in Ireland will be over sixty-five.

Average life expectancy will also go up five more years to 82. So I think we can continue to count on the National Pilgrimage for Grandparents having a captive audience for some years to come. In fact, I understand there are already more great-grandparents in Ireland today than ever before. So I warmly congratulate all the great-grandparents who are here today. If you keep going the way you are we will soon have to have a special day for great-grandparents too! When you have a few grey hairs like me – that it is a very welcome thought!

Last week I got a letter from an 87 year old lady.  She wanted me to offer a special word of encouragement to parents in their efforts to promote the values of the Gospel.  She said that the people she sees, who are mostly doing this, are the mothers, feeding, washing, clothing, caring, sometimes day and night.  Today I gladly offer that word of encouragement to all parents, and especially to all grandparents who also do their work.  I gladly accept the challenge to get the message of encouragement out there to parents and to all who give themselves so generously in the cause of caring for others.

Yet in acknowledging this challenge I also want to acknowledge one of the other big and very positive changes in Irish society since most of the grandparents present were born. When most of us were growing up the role of fathers in bringing up children was the not the same as it is today. It was just as vital – but perhaps not as involved in the day to day care of the child.  It is wonderful that more and more men in Ireland now have a better sense of the partnership that should exist between a husband and wife in all aspects of bringing up children and keeping a home. It is absolutely right that men should be doing the dishes more, making the bottle and ironing the clothes! The men of Ireland got away with not doing these things for far too long!

It is also critical that men play their proper role in the social and emotional development of their children. The role of both a mother and a father in a child’s life is irreplaceable. Others, including grandparents, can do a marvellous job where either parent or both parents can no longer be part of a child’s life, for whatever reason.

However, nothing will ever replace marriage between a man and a woman as the best environment for raising children. But grandparents have a critical role to play in this regard too. You have the wisdom of experience. You can show the young that being a loving, committed parent is part of being fulfilled and happy, not an obstacle to it.

Any society which diminishes the value of the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, diminishes the very foundation of society itself.

Another significant change in our society in recent years is the increasingly central role being played by you – the grandparents of Ireland.  I refer to your role in supporting the economic and parenting needs of your own children.

The role of grandparents in Irish families has always been cherished in a particular way. It is one of the things which made our society strong, especially in the most challenging economic times in our history. It was not unusual in years gone by for grandparents to live with their children and grandchildren in the same home. It was commonplace for children to take on financial responsibility for their parents as they grew older.

In recent years, however, the economic and practical dependency of parents on grandparents has increased significantly. The situation has reversed. It has to be acknowledged that today’s generation of grandparents laid the foundation for the society of today.  Over the years they have probably contributed more in working hours and the percentage of their wages paid in tax than ever before. It also has to be acknowledged that it is your time and money which is now holding many families in this country together as they struggle with the consequences of the global economic crisis. The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – or more accurately of ‘Grandma and Granda’ – were critical to the success of the Celtic Tiger. As young families search for bigger deposits for dearer mortgages, the resources of grandparents will be critical to the success and pace of our economic recovery.

And yet your greatest contribution to Ireland’s well being and recovery is far more than financial. Last Sunday I spoke to a grandmother.  She told me, with a certain deep satisfaction, how her four grandchildren come to her every evening after school.  In fact, all of her fourteen grandchildren have done this.  She was pleased. Even though it could be exhausting, it was something she treasured and enjoyed.

So today we salute with gratitude the Christian vocation of being a grandparent. Being a grandparent is how you today, at this particular stage of your life, live out the call of your baptism. In that Baptism you share in Christ’s role as Priest, Prophet and King.

By your many acts of support and kindness towards your children and grandchildren, you are exercising your royal priesthood. By the sacrifices you make of time and money you live out your Royal Priesthood in a real and effective way. By your example of being faithful to God and to his Church you are a witness, a prophet in the lives of your children and grandchildren. By your willingness to so often put your own needs and financial security aside for the sake of the needs of your children and grandchildren, you are a witness to the selfless love of Christ.  You are prophet of the Kingdom of God in your family and in our society. By teaching your children and grandchildren to pray – as you so often do – you give them the most precious lesson they will ever learn.  By teaching them to hope in a higher power and a greater love, you protect them against something more dangerous than something like Swine Flu.  You protect them against the deadly danger of despair.

Then there are all those practical little things you do about the house.  You do them for your children and their families.  You probably don’t take that much notice of them yet they are so important for through them you show your concern for those for whom you have responsibility in the world.  By showing your good deeds in this way you are proving that you have faith.  As St James says in that Second Reading – ‘Faith is like that.  If good deeds do not go with it, it is quite dead.

Today the Catholic Grandparents Association is being officially launched.  This Association aims to help grandparents hand on their faith to their grandchildren.  That will be symbolised by the lighting of the candle and handing it on at the end of the Mass.  You grandparents, have so much wisdom to offer to everybody. Yet you are the critical link between the promise of the future and the wisdom of the past. You are the generation who can help us to keep the current crises in our lives, in our economy in our world in perspective. We have gone through difficult – perhaps more difficult times before. And we have come through them only to go on and to improve our society again and again.

Like the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading you know what it is to strive after the comfort and beauty of material things only to discover that: ‘Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.’ In the words of our Gospel, you know what it is to take up your Cross, to unite your sufferings in patience with those of our Lord, and to survive. Indeed, to find new and deeper dimensions of life.

As ‘older people’ – notice that I didn’t say ‘old people’ – precisely because of your age and your experience you can bring a deeper meaning to the important questions.  For example,

– What will really count when we come to die?

– What are the really important things?

– Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?

– How do you pray?

I once knew an ambassador’s wife who used to ask her dinner guests – ‘And you, how do you pray?’ Could you imagine a Red C Poll based on those questions.  No, I can’t.  The reason is simple:  the modern world is deadly serious and indeed extremely wise about lots of frivolous things but, at the same time, it can be totally frivolous about important questions such as: ‘Who do you say that Christ is?’

And so I make a particular appeal to you today. Grannies and Grandads always love to tell good stories and good news.  How often have you rejoiced at the wonder of your grandchildren as you tell them good news or told them about wonderful things that happened in the past that taught you something important about life..  So I say, tell your grandchildren all you know about God.  Tell them the story of Jesus and the stories which Jesus told.  Tell them who Jesus Christ is for you and why?  You can be absolutely sure they will be very interested.

You have come to Knock to pray for your children and for your grandchildren.  You have come to ask the help of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the help of her mother, St Anne, for those you love, especially for those who are sick.  You have come to ask the help of the Holy Spirit to guide them wisely and safely through life.  You are here to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit for yourselves, to remind you of all that Jesus said and did, so that you, in turn, can hand on to them the good news that Jesus loves them.  You are here to ask the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Mary, to descend and help you to teach your grandchildren to pray and to talk to them about how God has helped you.  When Jesus was presented in the Temple it was the senior citizens Simeon and Anna who recognised him – not the priests, not the Doctor of the Law.

You are here because like Peter, you believe that Jesus Christ – the anointed one – is the Saviour of the world.  You are here to pray and intercede for many gifts for yourselves and for those whom you love.

You are here to ask that your children and grandchildren may come to know that Jesus Christ is the one and only Saviour.  Perhaps you are here because you have learned from your own experience that if anyone wants to be a follower of Christ, he or she must take up the cross and follow him. Perhaps you are here precisely because you have had to carry a heavy cross – and you know that, at times, you would not have been able to carry that cross without the help which you received from God almighty.

Whatever the reason – you can be absolutely sure that you are here because God wants you to be here for some good reason.

I believe Mary our Mother will help you. I believe Jesus her Son will help you. I believe that Jesus and his Mother rejoice in your every effort to love and care for your children and grandchildren. I believe they look to you in a particular way to pass the light of their faith and love to the next generation of young Irish men and women who will make this country great and each of you very proud.

Prayer to St Anne

O glorious St Anne,

You are filled with compassion for those who invoke you And with the love for those who suffer.

Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you To take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, And place it before the throne of Jesus So that He may bring it to a happy issue.

Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted.

But above all obtain for me the grace, one day, to see my God face to face,

And with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity.



Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm

American Pilgrimage – Sun-Sentinel

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Joyce Costello, right, picks up her granddaughters, Kaeli,12, left and Kierstin,9, from school in Boynton Beach. Costello is a grandparent who plays a central role in the lives of her granddaughters while the girls parents are at work. Next Saturday, the National Grandparents Crusade arrives in the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Joyce Costello, right, picks up her granddaughters, Kaeli,12, left and Kierstin,9, from school in Boynton Beach. Costello is a grandparent who plays a central role in the lives of her granddaughters while the girls' parents are at work. Next Saturday, the National Grandparents Crusade arrives in the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Grandparents, who often get little credit for guiding their grandchildren, will get special props Saturday from the Diocese of Palm Beach during the first National Grandparents Pilgrimage in the United States.

The diocese is the first in the country to host the pilgrimage, which began in 2003 in Walsingham, England. That pilgrimage and similar missions to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland were organized by Catherine Wiley of Delray Beach, a grandmother of 10 who lives in Ireland part-time. Wiley has launched the Catholic Grandparents Association in Ireland and hopes to get a similar organization off the ground in the U.S.

“My generation didn’t pass on the faith like my parents passed it on to me,” said Wiley, 62. “The commitment was to self instead of church and family. When you get to my age, you see how much wisdom and maturity grandparents have, and you never hear about them.”

Bishop Gerald Barbarito of the Diocese of Palm Beach will celebrate Mass and host a reception in honor of grandparents at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. Hundreds of grandparents and grandchildren are expected.

Many grandparents believe their growing role in molding the lives of their grandchildren finally is getting some attention from society. The 2000 Census was the first to calculate the number of grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren. Among grandparents who lived with their children and grandchildren, 42 percent said they were “grandparent caregivers,” directly raising the children younger than 18.

In Florida, there were 345,949 grandparents living with grandchildren, one of the highest numbers in the country, with 35 percent of the households having no parent present, according to the census.

Joyce Costello, 68, of Boynton Beach does not live with her grandchildren, but every day takes them to St. Mark Catholic School and picks them up. Her daughter and son-in-law are teachers who leave early for work and relish her assistance in taking care of Kaeli, a seventh-grader, and Kierstin, a fourth-grader.

“It’s a big help and a load off their shoulders,” said Costello, who retired a year ago from the city of Boynton Beach. “They don’t have to rush home.”

Wiley believes grandparents such as Costello could use a support system to exchange stories and share experiences.

“Grandparents have no agenda,” Wiley said. “They are rooted in love and nonjudgmental. They are the glue that holds the family together.”

Lois Solomon can be reached at or 561-243-6536.

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach will be first United States host of the National Grandparents Pilgrimage

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On September 26, 2009 the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach will be first United States host of the National Grandparents Pilgrimage consisting of a Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Gerald M. Barbarito, in honor of all grandparents and the special role they play in family life and faith formation.

All families are invited to “pilgrim” to the Cathedral for this special Mass scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, 9999 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. A light reception will follow in the Cathedral Hall. The National Grandparents Pilgrimage supports and encourages grandparents in the transmission of the faith. A Universal Prayer for Grandparents was composed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 for the National Grandparents Pilgrimage which has touched many countries around the world.

For more information contact the Office of Marriage and Family Life at 561-775-9557 or visit or visit:

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 30, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Palm Beach Pilgrimage for Grandparents

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Diocese to celebrate grandparents in a grand way

A Sept. 26 event will honor grandparents with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Barbarito and a reception.


Posted: 08.27.09

PALM BEACH GARDENS | It’s time to load Grandma, Grandpa and the children in the car and join in a big celebration.

The Diocese of Palm Beach will host the 2009 National Grandparents Pilgrimage Sept. 26, gathering grandparents and family members. “We are excited,” said Janice Petersen Minshew of the diocesan Family Life and Marriage office, who is organizing the day’s activities.

The morning event will pay tribute to grandparents, who are sometimes taken for granted.

“In many cases, grandparents are holding families together,” saidCatherine Wiley, a part-time resident of Delray Beach active at St. Joan and Ascension parishes in Boca Raton, who presented the pilgrimage concept to the diocese last year. “They play a crucial role in transmitting the faith from generation to generation.”

Wiley also was the driving force behind Ireland’s National Grandparents Pilgrimage, which began in 2007 and drew 15,000 pilgrims to Knock Shrine in County Mayo last year, according to its organizers. The Ireland event, scheduled to be repeated this September, was inspired by a similar event that has taken place each July since 2003 – around the feast of Jesus’ grandparents St. Anne and St. Joachim – at the National Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham, England.

Wiley also came up with the idea of a prayer for grandparents and presented the idea to the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI liked the idea, and the prayer he wrote in response was read publicly for the first time by Wiley during last year’s pilgrimage in Ireland.

“We are deeply honored to receive the ‘Prayer for Grandparents’ composed by Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” Wiley told the Florida Catholic.

The prayer will be read at the first U.S. National Grandparents Pilgrimage, which organizers hope will draw families from all over Florida and beyond to the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola.

The local event will include a Mass with Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito presiding, followed by a reception and lots of photos.

The Office of Marriage and Family Life has asked pastors and Catholic school principals to coordinate a photo project, collecting family photos from parishioners. Those seeking to submit photos of grandparents with the children are asked to contact their parishes for details.

It is up to pastors and principals to coordinate the image-gathering process. Parish photo organizers are asked to submit collections on a diskette along with releases authorizing their publication, because some of the pictures may be displayed on the diocesan Web site and presented in a slideshow. The releases must be signed by all adults in the photo and by the parent or guardian of all people younger than 18 who are pictured. Diskettes and releases should be mailed to Petersen Minshew in the Office of Marriage and Family Life, 9995 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.

The National Grandparents Pilgrimage will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. The cathedral is at 9999 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens. For information, call 561-775-9557.

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 30, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Children’s Prayer –

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Grandchildrens Prayers

Jesus Jesus Please protect

me, please protect my

family and especially my

gransis and grandads. I hope

you pray for them everyday

and I will pray for you

My grannsis are in heaven

But live near me.


Emma Fannon

Age 9



Wanna share your grandchilds prayer? Email us at and we will include it on this blog.

Wanna share a prayer for your grandparents, parents or a family member? Send them to us!

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Children’s Prayers – God, I Must Thank You For My…

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god i must thank you for my grandparents

My Grandparents

God, I must thank you for my grandparents,
They mind me like I was a god,
They teach me things I
though was impossible,
Tea is always made as if it
were an important visitor,
Their storytelling grips my
heart with all kinds of emotion
For this I must be thankful,

Written by Catholic Grandparents Association

September 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm