Žemaitkiemis (Rayon of Ukmergė). June 6, 1976, in the parish church of Žemaitkiemis, the Solemn First Mass of Father Vytautas Kapočius took place. Taking part in the solemnities were pupils of the elementary school of Žemaitkiemis. Eighth-grader Roma Slaitai-tė carried a miniature altar in the procession.
A week later, Teacher Ana Ulozienė and Principal Stasys Misiūnas interrogated the girl in school. The teachers asked Romutė who told her to walk in the procession, who gave her the clothes, and other details. The girl answered that she goes to church on her own, and on her own took part in the procession.
A class meeting of the eighth grade was called, in which the pupils considered how to punish the "offender". Her classmates suggested that Roma be given a written reprimand, but Communist Youth League member Danguolė Šniraitė protested, "That is too little! I move that she be given a stern reprimand."
Roma Šlaitaitė had her conduct mark reduced to the minimum acceptable, while her file was annotated: "Roma used to be taken to church by her parents, and now the pupil is incorrigible."
School Principal Misiūnas is conducting a fanatical atheistic campaign. During Lent, all pupils from Grade i to Grade 8 are given lectures in atheism.
The week before Christmas, an announcement appeared in the elementary school at Žemaitkiemis, saying that at 9 a.m. on December 25, 1976 (the hour at which the Shepherds' Mass takes place in the church at Žemaitkiemis), the film The Black Processionwould be shown. Attendance was compulsory; those not attending were threatened with lower marks in conduct.
The principal himself provided the commentary during the film, criticizing and ridiculing the Church, priests and faithful, as well as threatening children who were believers.
To prevent children from assisting at Mass on Christmas Day, Principal Misiūnas organized a trip to Kaunas.
His wife, Alfa Misiūnienė, who works as a medical aide at the dispensary in Žemaitkiemis, is just as bad as her husband. She visits uninvited the parents of believing children, ridiculing their convic-tons and threatening them in various ways.
Šiauliai.On Christmas Day, 1976, eighth-grade pupil Jonas Jurevičius volutarily left school after the first class and went to church. That same day the teacher sent his parents the following note:
"Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jurevičius: Your son John today, December 25, left after the first lesson, and missed three classes. Please let me know where your son was.
s/B. Šilanskienė,—Home Room Teacher"
The parents replied as fol'ows: "Dear Teacher,
"You ask us to explain why my son, a pupil in your class, left school after the first class on December 25 of this year. December
25 is a religious holiday for Catholic Christians throughout the world. Our family is a believing family, my son is a believer and, taking advantage of the religious freedom granted by the Constitution, he left class on that day, December 25, and was in church, since that is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics.
Father's Signature: Mečislovas Jurevičius
December 27, 1976"
On December 29, 1976, the teacher, (Mrs.) Šilanskienė, ordered pupil Jurevičius to remain after school. A "training session" began. The pupil courageously defended his faith and his rights.
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Šiauliai.December 27, 1976. Teacher Jasiutė-Braziulienė, of Class lie at Middle School No. 5 distributed a questionnaire containing the following questions: "Do you believe?" "Do you know your prayers?", etc. The teacher demanded that pupils write the truth, saying she knew everything about them. When the children had completed the questionnaires, the teacher examined them. She then made pupils recite the "Hail Mary", while she ridiculed the faithful in all sorts of ways. The frightened children would not carry out the teacher's order.
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Šiauliai.Stasys Semaška, a pupil in Grade 4A at the internate of Middle School No. 2 is the only one in class who has managed to keep from being dragooned into the Pioneers.
At the beginning of December, 1976, Home Room Teacher Dvaronienė ordered Semaška to purchase a Pioneer neckerchief. A few days later, Mrs. Dvarionienė told Stasys to put on the neckerchief and to attend a meeting of the Pioneers. The pupil did not buy the kerchief, and refused to go to the meeting. The furious teacher pinched the boy's arm so much that it was bruised for three weeks.
Even though he had to suffer pain, Stasys was happy that once again he had been successful in squirming out of the clutches of his teachers.
Simnas. (Rayon of Alytus). On December 10, 1976, a retreat was held in the church at Simnas. In the evenings, school children attended. Arvydas Patniūnas, employed as a militiaman in Alytus, noticed the children coming home from church. At the Bambininkai cross-roads, he suggested to a group of children and adults that they wait for a car, which would take them home.
The car arrived, driven by the militiaman's father, Algis Patniūnas, who works as Chairman of the District of Verebiejai. The faithful, suspecting nothing, entered the car. The chairman sternly asked the children where they were returning from. The children told him, from church. Patniūnas threatened to take them to their principal.
When they came to the neighborhood where they lived, the chairman put the adults out, but he took the children to the principal. The Principal (Mrs. Stakvilevičienė) and the chairman began to interrogate the frightened children. The youngsters did not deny that they had been to church.
The chairman asked what they did in church, what they were praying from, and demanded to be shown their prayer-books. All seven children complied.
The Principal Stakvilevičienė sought to force Lina Šmitaitė to tell whether she had taken part in the procession. The girl, terrified, kept silent.
The chairman warned the children that their parents would now suffer, while the principal insulted the pupils in various ways. Finally, they allowed the frightened youngsters go home.
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Palanga. At the beginning of the school year, 1976, Homeroom Teacher Juknaitienė, of Grade 2 of the Middle School of Palanga, asked her pupils who of them believed in God, who went to church, and who prayed, who taught them prayers, and who took them to church.
The whole class acknowledged that they believed in God, went to church with their parents, and prayed. Most of them said that they had received First Holy Communion. The smallest pupil in class admitted, "I don't go to confession yet, but Mother has already bought me a catechism and I'm going to start learning right away."
The teacher, Mrs. Juknaitienė, became frightened. Summoning the parents to a conference, she said, "I thought that your children have no concept of God or the Church, but it looks as though they are all believers, and even go to confession. I'm going to do everything possible, to make your children grow up atheists."
"Try it, it's doubtful that you will succeed," a voice was heard to say from the audience.
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Krakės. On November 13, 1976, the principal of the middle school at Krakės and the teacher, (Mrs.) Ručinskienė summoned the mother of Pupil G. Stankevičius, of Grade 7Aand berrated her for allowing her son to serve at Mass.
At the same time, pupil Kulčinskas, of Grade 8-C was caught last Holy Saturday breaking the windows of the church in Krakiai. In this case neither the school principal nor the atheist teacher Ku-činskienė took any steps to see that their pupil have the broken church windows repaired.
Moreover, there are seven pupils at the middle school in Krakiai on the roster of the militia's children's home for disorderliness, among them three girls.
It would be better for the administration of the middle school to combat real evil, instead of persecuting children who are religious believers.
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Mišučiai (Rayon of Šilalė). In the elementary school of Mišu-čiai, the children are forced to join the Pioneers. Those who refuse receive no subsidy, even though they are in great need of it.
Principal Vanda Bačkauskienė and Teacher Bronė Urbonienė, prior to the Revolution holiday, were distributing gifts to children who had joined the Pioneers: jackets, shoes, coats, etc. That school is attended by three orphans of the Ramonaitis family. They, too, were pressured to join the Pioneers. The children refused. Teacher Urbonienė showed the youngsters the gifts and said, "Sleep on it. If you join the Pioneers, there will be gifts, and you will get lunch; if not, we will give you nothing, because we give only to Soviet citizens."
The children, however, were not to be bribed. They would rather go hungry and ragged, but remain loyal to their sacred convictions.
In the morning, the orphans were met on their arrival at school by Mrs. Urbonienė, with gifts and an application in her hands.
Hearing the same reply, the teacher hurled the overshoes into the corner and angrily shouted, "Take them, stupid!"
No snack was provided for the children, even though they must walk four kilometers from home to school, but it was provided for Pioneers living right by the school.
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Renava (Rayon of Mažeikiai). On January 13, 1977, Juozas Jonušas was being buried in Renava. Approximately twenty pupils attended the funeral with wreaths and flowers. Having placed the wreaths and flowers by the casket, the children were escorted from church by the teacher who had accompanied them. The weather was cold, but the children had to shiver outside, watching the services through a crack in the church door.
The same situation exists all over Lithuania. During funerals, school-children are forbidden to take part in the services.
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Mažeikiai.In 1975, Mr. & Mrs. Skiparas, both teachers, were discharged because their son had entered the seminary to study for the priesthood. This year, their daughter, Audronė Skiparytė, was discharged from her position as teacher in the kindergarten. How serious the "crime" of the son, that on his account his parents and his sister are punished!
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Panevėžys.School children are forced to answer questionnaires like the following every year:
(Replies of one student at the Panevėžys School of Nursing to a questionnaire)
1. Your age? — Twenty.
2. What kind of literature interests you most? — The kind in which there are no lies.
3. What atheistic literature have you read? — I do not read atheistic literature.
4. What atheistic films have you seen? — None.
5. Do you believe in God? — I do.
6. Do you doubt his existence? — I do not.
7. If you believe, give your reasons. — How can I not believe in God, when all of nature, the whole world, shows His existence?
8. Do your parents believe? — Yes.
9. Do you observe religious holidays? Which? — I observe all of them.
10. Do you agree with atheistic activities against religion in our country? — I do not.
11. In your opinion, is religion eternal, or will there come a time when it will disappear? — It is eternal.
12. Give your suggestions and comments. — In my opinion it is unnecessary and meaningless to fill out such questionnaires. This is crass interference in private matters of conscience, when even the Constitution proclaims freedom of conscience.