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‘Grandparents are more important now than ever’

Grandparents are more important to the Church now than they have ever been, the coordinator of the Catholic Grandparents Association said, following an annual pilgrimage on Sunday. — By RYAN MCDOUGALL

Three generations of Catholics came to Carfin Grotto on August 19 to celebrate family and the Faith.

The Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA), arranged for parents, grandparents and grandchildren to come together for a day to celebrate Mass with Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles Diocese, enjoy important family time together, and to build on the Catholic Faith of young people.

Those present were addressed by Deacon Ron Wylie and CGA coordinator Linda Lafferty, who herself is a grandparent.

Explaining the purpose of the CGA pilgrimage, Mrs Lafferty said: “Our mission is to help grandparents pass on the Faith and to keep prayer in the heart of family life.

“The CGA is a group of people united by a belief in the importance of the vocation of grandparents. We assist grandparents in providing a crucial link in passing on the Faith, and we are dependent on the Church to bring it into fruition.”

The pilgrimage, now in its eighth year, saw families from near and far brought together.

Mrs Lafferty has coordinated the pilgrimage since Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese decided several years ago that the Carfin branch of the now global association would need a leader, due to its growing popularity.

“We don’t do door-knocking anymore, so instead I wrote down a list of grandparents in my own parish and went around to get their support,” Mrs Lafferty said. “They were all very inviting, but told me to hurry up while they were still here to be of help!”

Linda said the importance of the pilgrimage and the CGA in general is because many young people aren’t as involved in the Catholic Faith as they used to be. Reminiscing on her own experience, she said: “As a grandparent myself I experience first hand passing on the Faith in small ways to my family, such as saying grace before meals.

“I’m very concerned about the way forward for our children, as a lot don’t go to church and marriage isn’t seen as such a great thing anymore.

“There are lots of temptations out there for families and kids now, so it’s crucial that grandparents try their best. Grandparents were never as important to the family, the Church and society as they are today.”

“At the Carfin pilgrimage, we offer a place of welcome to all families, not just grandparents, to enjoy the day and make the most of each other.

“Next year we’ll have a much bigger attendance, and although there were a few empty seats this year, we should bring along more family members with us next time.”

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