Catherine Wiley, founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, is pictured with singer and family values advocate Dana-Rosemary Scallon and two great-grandmothers: Rosemary Hogan and Margaret Harrington, Sept. 10 at the National Marian Shrine in Knock, Ireland. (CNS photo/Sarah Mac Donald)
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KNOCK, Ireland (CNS) -- Catherine Wiley, 71-year-old grandmother of 10, believes the role of grandparents has never been more crucial than today.
"Today we are faced with considerations that our parents and grandparents could never ever have imagined," Wiley told more than 5,000 grandparents at the national shrine in Knock.
At a Sept. 10 Mass for grandparents, Wiley, founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, said the church should establish a world day of prayer for them in recognition of their role in sustaining and passing on the faith. She suggested the date be July 26, the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus.
"We know our faith sustains and enriches us, and we want more than anything for our children and grandchildren to know and love that faith, that steadfast love of Jesus Christ that guides us through difficult times," she said.
Wiley told Catholic News Service she thought it was "hard to be a grandparent in this day and age."
"We live in a disposable society," she said. "When grandparents are healthy and fit, everybody wants them, but when they are not so healthy and fit, and they become a burden to the family, it is a different story altogether."