The passing of the years brings its frailties. You may be forced to give up activities that you once enjoyed. Your limbs may not seem as pliable as they used to be. Your memory and your eyesight may refuse to give service. And so the world may cease to be familiar―the world of your family, the world around you, the world you once knew. Even the Church, which you have loved for so long, may seem strange to many of you as she goes forward in this period of renewal. Yet, despite changes and any weaknesses you may feel, you are of great value to all. Society needs you and so does the Church. You may not be able to do as much as before, but what counts above all is what you are. Old age is the crowning point of earthly life, a time to gather in the harvest you have sown. It is a time to give of yourselves to others as never before. Yes, you are needed, and never let anyone tell you that you are not. The Masses you have attended throughout your life, the devout Communions you have made, the prayers you have offered enable you to bestow rich gifts upon us. We need your experience and your insights. We need the faith that has sustained you and continues to be your light. We need your example of patient waiting and trust. We need to see in you the mature love that is yours, earned by the effort of your lives lived in both joy and sorrow. And yes, we need your wisdom, for you can offer assurance in times of uncertainty. You can be an incentive to live according to the higher values of the spirit. These values link us with people of all time, and they never grow old.
Pope John Paul II Address to the Elderly, Vancouver, British Columbia, September 18, 1984