New research shows that a great many of our older people are suffering from loneliness, as you can read here. This is not news, but it is good to be reminded of this, as it should spur us on to do something about this terrible situation, which represents not just a great deal of unnecessary human unhappiness, but also a huge loss in human potential. These old people, who hardly see a soul all week long, could be contributing to society, instead of being at its margins.
As the article suggests, there is a great deal that the Church can do, and, I might add, is already doing. Any old person who is at a loose end can always go to church, where, if the parish is a good one, they will automatically find people to socialise with. Moreover, the church, if the parish is a good one, will have a range of activities that take place during the week which offer people a chance to meet: not just the daily Mass, but the inevitable coffee after Mass, and all the associated activities that go on in churches, some of which might appeal to at least some people. Not all these activities are explicitly religious, and no one would ever be turned away from a parish lunch club or flower arranging circle on the grounds that they were agnostic. Parishes are always looking for volunteers (as are all charities) and many older people have the right skills to make a great contribution. Gardening, account keeping, changing light bulbs; you name it, it is going on at a parish near you.
Read more at Catholic Herald.