by Goldee Salcedo-Garcia
National grandparents day is celebrated every second Sunday of September in the Philippines but the Catholic church also celebrates grandparents on July 26 on the feast day of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the patron saints of grandparents. Sts. Joachim and Anne are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of our Lord, Jesus Christ. What a great honor the Lord gave them to be parents of the Mother of God and grandparents to our Savior! The Lord entrusted them with the responsibility of bringing up and preparing the Mother of God and they did an amazing job raising a sinless daughter by being wonderful role models of love, self-sacrifice, perseverance and prayer. They taught by example and they created an atmosphere of love and trust where Mama Mary felt free to open her heart to the Lord and to accept the vocation God had in mind for her from all eternity. They knew that being parents was a gift and a privilege from God. They endured many years of childlessness but they remained steadfast in faith, which is why they are also the patron saints of infertile couples. When the Lord finally answered their prayers He sent an Angel to tell them that they would have a child who would be honored by all generations. St. Anne is said to have been in her late 60s when she gave birth to Mama Mary - a reminder for us to never lose hope because nothing is impossible with the Lord and everything happens in God's good and perfect time.
Their story also makes me realize how important our grandparents are in our lives. Growing up I was lucky to have gotten to know and spend a lot of time with my grandmothers, grandaunts and granduncles. Unfortunately, my grandfathers had already passed away by the time I was born. My paternal grandmother lived with us and I spent weekends and summers with my maternal grandmother and grandaunt. Undoubtedly, their generation set the tone for the generations after them in my family. To this day, many of the things that I do are still heavily influenced by their traditions, stories, values and perspectives especially when it comes to my faith. I wouldn't be the person I am today if they weren't around when I was growing up. We may not always see it or acknowledge it, especially when we think we know everything, but the wisdom of older people should never be ignored. We should also take every opportunity to show them how much we appreciate them while they're still here with us. So today, on the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, show your grandparents a little extra love and let them know how much they mean to you. Let us also pray that through the intercession of Sts. Joachim and Anne we too may be able to listen intently, pray earnestly, share the Word of God purposefully, encourage others to grow in faith and accept God's will in our lives.