WASHINGTON (May 16, 2000) -- Four experts on senior citizen issues will represent the U.S. bishops at the Jubilee year celebration of the elderly, slated for September 16-17 in Rome.
The four were appointed by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), to participate in the event which is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Members of the delegation include K. LaVerne Redden, President of the National Council of Catholic Women; Mercy Sister M. Karen McNally, Chief Administrator of Stella Maris, a multi-service facility for older persons, Virginia Knight-Simon, Coordinator of the diocesan program for senior citizens in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky, and Msgr. Charles J. Fahey, Director of the Third Age Center at Fordham University and a well-known consultant on aging and demographic issues.
On September 16 the U.S. delegation will join other national groups in a one-day congress on "The gift of long life: responsibility and hope."
Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, president of the Laity Council, described the congress as an opportunity "for reflecting on the dignity and mission of the elderly."
"Aware of the immense richness of the gift of life from its beginning to its natural end, the participants in the congress -- elderly and leaders of the pastoral ministry of the elderly -- will share their experience and wisdom with the whole Church," Cardinal Stafford said.
On September 17 congress delegates will gather with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for a Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II.
This day will mark the Jubilee Day for the Elderly -- one of many such celebrations scheduled in Rome during the Jubilee Year 2000. The Mass will be preceded by a program of prayers, songs, and witnesses concerning the dignity and mission of older persons.
In 1999, to mark the International Year of Older Persons, Pope John Paul II wrote a special "Letter to the Elderly" and last November the U.S. Bishops issued Blessings of Age, A Pastoral Message on Growing Older within the Faith Community. The Bishops suggest that parishes and groups in the United States celebrate the Jubilee Day of Older Persons on September 24.
A resource packet to assist with local programming is available from the NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth by calling 202-541-3040 on their Web site www.nccbuscc.org/laity.