Hallmark and our nation celebrates a "Grandparents Day" on the first Sunday following Labor Day (this year on September 7th). Established as a national holiday by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the effort was spearheaded by a woman from West Virginia named Marian McQuade to recognize the gift and the contribution of grandparents in our society.
The Church has been celebrating a grandparents day for lot longer period of time and she does so on this date, July 26th, the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, whom we know from long standing tradition to be the parents of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and thus the grandparents of the Christ child. They become for us the model and patrons of men and women who share the role and the task of grandparenting. Very little is known of these two, except that their daughter, Mary, was acknowledged to be "full of grace" and chosen to be an instrument in the plan of God for humanity. Their contribution to the upbringing of their grandchild was important, whether they were actively involved in his life or whether their contribution came through their blessed daughter. They contributed to his human nature. They give importance to the role of grandparents and are models of grandparents everywhere.
My maternal and paternal grandparents died before I grew up and had a chance to benefit in their loving presence. My memories of them are precious and dear. Their love for me and all of their grandchildren is undeniable and palpable. They were loving and nurturing people, hard working and faith filled.
During my assignment in Scottdale as pastor, we would, in May while school was still in session, celebrate the school May Crowning on a day known as Grandparents Day. It was always the largest and best celebration that the school hosted each year. The grandparents came out in droves and the kids delighted in showing them around ... and showing them off. The day brings back great memories. To all who share the gift of grandparenthood - Happy Grandparents Day on this Feast of Joachim and Anne.