WASHINGTON (July 20, 2000) -- The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Laity is encouraging families and parishes nationwide to celebrate the Jubilee Day for Older Persons on September 24, 2000.
To assist with local celebrations, the Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth has prepared an 18-page resource packet. The packet includes prayers, blessings, workshop outlines, activities, and ideas for marking the occasion in parishes and at family gatherings. Although prepared specifically to help celebrate the Jubilee Day for Older Persons, the resource can be used throughout the year, whenever a parish or diocese wants to give special recognition to older persons.
The Jubilee Day has three purposes, according to an introduction to the resource packet. First, to honor older persons; second, to celebrate their contributions to society and to the Church; and third, to affirm and challenge older people to respond to their calls to holiness, spiritual maturity, community, and service.
The theme for the day, "Celebrating the Blessings of Age," is adapted from the name of a document approved by the Bishops of the United States last November. That document, "Blessings of Age," acknowledges "an unprecedented situation" in our country in which one in eight Americans -- 33.2 million -- is at least 65 years of age. As the demographics shift to an older U.S. population, the Bishops offered the statement as an affirmation of older people and as a challenge to the entire faith community.
The oldest old -- those over 85 -- are the most rapidly growing older age group. Between 1960 and 1994, their numbers rose 274 percent. By 2050, that would make them 24 percent of older Americans, and 5 percent of the overall population. Trends indicate that by 2030, about one in five Americans will be over age 65.
Individual copies of the "Celebrating the Blessings of Age" resource packet may be ordered for $2.00 each from the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth, 3211 Fourth Street NE, Washington, DC 20017, 202-541-3040. Bulk orders (10 or more copies) are $1.75 each.
The Jubilee Day for Older Persons is one of 34 Jubilee Days listed on a calender released last year by the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee for the Jubilee Year 2000.