ArchCare Senior Life Harlem PACE Center in Manhattan celebrated the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly July 26 with a special day of activities to recognize grandparents and seniors.
ArchCare, the health care system of the archdiocese, cares for more than 9,000 seniors, including the poor and persons with special needs, in their homes, in the community and in the archdiocese’s nursing homes.
A PACE center serves people 55 and over who require nursing home care and receive it while living at home.
“It was a very beautiful day,” Roberta Wilson-Rose, 85, who has two grandsons, told CNY. She has attended the Harlem PACE Center for five years.
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, established by Pope Francis, was celebrated for the first time July 25. The pope was unable to celebrate Mass as he continues to recover from colon surgery this month, but prepared a homily delivered by Archbishop Rino Fisichella during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“Let us ask ourselves: ‘Have I visited my grandparents, my elderly relatives, the older people in my neighbourhood? Have I listened to them? Have I spent time with them?,’” Archbishop Fisichella read from the pope’s homily.
“Let us protect them, so that nothing of their lives and dreams may be lost. May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us and gave us life.”
The Harlem PACE Center was one of several ArchCare locations in New York City to celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly by holding an event recognizing grandparents and the elderly.
The Harlem PACE Center featured a televised prayer service led by Father Adauto Alves of ArchCare in English and Spanish. Gifts were presented to all participants, with special gifts and recognition given to two 100-year-old participants.
Participants were treated to lunch with chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and mixed vegetables. Cake was served.
“They were very delighted,” said James Williams, director of the Harlem PACE Center. “Most of them were aware of the day, and when Father Alves gave his prayer session they truly got the meaning of it. I think they were all moved and you could hear a pin drop in the room when he was speaking.
“Our staff truly goes out of their way to make everything very special. They’ve been planning this event for weeks. They get as excited as the participants.”
Being a grandfather of six and serving seniors at the Harlem PACE Center made the day even more special for Williams.
“It is nice we finally have a day dedicated to grandparents and seniors,” Williams said. “The celebrations we have can only get better as time goes by. I know it’s something very important to ArchCare that we celebrate the people we serve.”