Show grandparents, the elderly that you care, pope tells young people

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called on young people to reach out to their grandparents or the elderly who may be lonely or on their own.

"Do not leave them by themselves," he said after praying the Angelus with visitors in St. Peter's Square July 26.

"Use the inventiveness of love, make phone calls, video calls, send messages, listen to them and, where possible, in compliance with health care regulations, go to visit them, too. Send them a hug," he said before leading visitors in giving a big round of applause for all grandparents.

The pope made his remarks on the memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne -- Mary's parents, Jesus' grandparents and the patron saints of grandparents.

Pope Francis said he wanted to mark the day by inviting all young people to make a concrete "gesture of tenderness toward the elderly, especially the loneliest, in their homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months" because of rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In part, because of such regulations in place, he asked young people to be creative and inventive in finding ways to show they care while respecting current directives.

Grandparents and the elderly are "your roots" and having a strong bond or connection with one's roots is important, he said, because "an uprooted tree cannot grow, it does not blossom or bear fruit."