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#SendYourHug: Vatican campaign calls for young people to reach out to the elderly during COVID-19 isolation

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'The elderly are your grandparents.'

Coronavirus shut downs and quarantines continue to leave many elderly people lonely and without family. Inspired by Pope Francis, the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life launched a special new campaign to help those who are isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Photo by Ekaterina Shakharova on Unsplash

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By Abigail James
7/28/2020 (2 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID, Pope Francis, Vatican, SendYourHug, Hug, Elderly, Grandparent, Lonely

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican dicastery released a press statement announcing their campaign, called "The elderly are your grandparents," and urged young people to step up and "send a hug" to the elderly. 

Following Sunday's Angelus, on July 26, 2020, Pope Francis shared, "In the memory of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, I would like to invite young people to make a gesture of tenderness towards the elderly, especially the most lonely ones in homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months."

"Dear young people, each of these elderly people are your grandparents. Do not leave them alone... They are your roots."

The pope went on to encourage the young to use, what he calls, the "inventiveness of love" to "send a hug" to an elderly person in their community. This can be done by making phone call or a video chat, sending a physical card or letter, or visiting where allowed.

The Vatican dicastery invites young people from all over the world to step up and "do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely."

"We have received news of contacts being made via telephone, internet and social networks, and even of serenades to the residents of retirement homes. Young people have been doing this to help alleviate the loneliness being felt by many people who are obliged by the pandemic to stay at home or remain confined in residential care facilities," the press statement reads.

"In this phase of the campaign, in order to respect the health regulations in force in different countries, our invitation to young people is to reach out to the loneliest elderly people in their neighborhood or parish and send them a hug, according to the request of the pope, by means of a phone call, a video call or by sending an image."

"Wherever possible -- or whenever the health emergency will allow it -- we invite young people to make the embrace even more concrete by visiting elderly in person."

In addition, the dicastery calls for campaign participants to use the #sendyourhug on social media and they will promote the "most significant posts" on their Twitter account, @laityfamilylife.

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