The gift basket, filled to the brim with skin care products, gift cards to such places as hair salons and restaurants, and movie tickets couldn’t have come at a better time for Catherine Marchesano.
The 57-year-old Wenonah resident is the caretaker of seven grandchildren, ranging in age from 2 years old to 18 years; and a 12-year-old adopted son. Disabled and unable to work, she had been having “a really tough month.”
So when Mantua’s Church of the Incarnation dropped off the gift basket, as part of their “Grateful to Grandparents” program, she was very appreciative.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t say thank you enough; I’m so grateful for the church community.”
Begun with money the parish received back after making their House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal goal, the program saw 10 hand-delivered gift baskets, each like Marchesano’s, go to grandparents and aunts and uncles who are in charge of, and make sacrifices for, their grandchildren or nieces and nephews.
In doing so, the parish is recognizing the importance and influence of grandparents, which Pope Francis has acknowledged more than once in recent months.
In October 2016, the pope met with about 7,000 grandmothers and grandfathers in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall.
The church looks upon older people “with affection, recognition and great esteem,” he said, as they are an “essential part of the Christian community and society.”
Older generations represent “the roots and memory of a people,” which make them “a precious treasure” that’s crucial for looking ahead to the future “with hope and responsibility,” he said. “Your maturity and wisdom, accumulated over the years, can help the youngest, supporting them in their journey” as they grow, face events as they unfold and seek their own path.