Read it and pass it on!
Appearing since 1972.
In this issue:
Lithuania ................................... November 16, 1978
We, the priests and faithful of Lithuania, offer our congratulations on your election as the Church's Supreme Shepherd and on the occasion of your installation ceremonies, we wish you the light of the Holy Spirit and the fire of His love in leading the Church during these times of moral decline and militant atheism.
We hope that in you, Lithuania, as well as other countries where the faith is persecuted, will find strong support and a zealous defender of human and religious rights and freedoms, so that Christ's Gospel might freely reach every heart thirsting for truth and love. This hope is bolstered in particular by the knowledge that you are well acquainted with our conditions and that you acquired much experience while fighting for the rights of the faithful.
We especially hope that under your leadership the new Vatican diplomatic direction will inspire in us deep respect and confidence in the Apostles' Throne and will not force the faithful and clergy of the Eastern countries into pessimism as well as passivity regarding the diplomatic concessions made to the atheists. You inspired us at the 41st Eucharistic Congress by officiating at services for countries where the faith is persecuted. You defended their rights with your courageous words, uplifting the courage of Lithuania's faithful in their fight for Christ and the Church.
For the past four hundred years this country's oldest school of higher learning—the University of Vilnius—has been shining brightly and generously beaming the light of knowledge into the hearts and minds of people on the amber shores of the Baltic, in Lithuania's capital Vilnius. This center of knowledge was founded for Lithuania by the Jesuit Order and through the concern, dedication and work of its members it provided Lithuania with scholars, the spiritual and material founders of the nation's culture.
On the occasion of this venerable anniversary (1579-1979), the believing people of Lithuania thank through you, the Jesuit Order for that precious gift to our Motherland, remember in their prayers the known and unknown members of the Jesuit Order who ever worked at the University of Vilnius and regret that today this temple of learning, which, as conceived by its founders, had the duty to recognize the truth, defend it and propagate it, is today used to falsify the truth, to reject it or completely deny it.
(Miss) Marytė Vitkūnaitė, a resident of Kaunas, received a summons on October 4, 1978 to go to the Vilnius security police to see interrogator Urbonas. Vitkūnaitė arrived in Vilnius on October 5th. The interrogations lasted five hours.
Security agent Urbonas told Vitkūnaitė that he has considerable evidence against her. At first, the interrogator began to ask about Angelė Sabaliauskaitė: when she had met her, what kind of literature she had given her, how many times she had visited her, etc. Marytė stated she knew no Angelė.
Then, there began questions about Monika Didžiokaitė. The security agent familiarized Miss Vitkūnaitė with Monika's testimony: when they had met, when she had come with Angelė, when she had brought a typewriter, how many times she had come and when. Miss Vitkūnaitė again denied everything, stating she did not know Miss Didžiokaitė at all.
Interrogator Urbonas demanded that she explain how she met Romas Blažukas, who others call Petras; how many times she went to the seminary, what seminarians she knows, what names she knows? The interrogator boasted that he knew she had taken from the seminary a typewriter in a suitcase. She supposedly took the typewriter to Monika's, and brought the suitcase home. Marytė admitted being at the seminary five or six years ago, only could not recall why she had gone there. She had not been to the seminary since then. Urbonas insisted that Marytė was guilty and could be punished for denying the facts.
(Miss) Ona Pranskūnaitė writes
November 2, 1977
My dear, today I visit that garden of the dead in my thoughts. This year, I will not have an opportunity to light a candle on a neglected grave; my heart will not rejoice at thousands of flickering candles; I will not hear any mournful organ prelude, I will not have the good fortune to send to the other shore the graces that flow from Holy Mass. But, in my view, that is not the most important thing. Most important is how one spends the allotted time. I want to find my happiness in doing what I can do ... .
December 24, 1977
Thank you for your Christmas gifts. They did not give them to me. They attached the card and wafer to my personal file. The star on the card baffles them: it does not have five points. They wondered among themselves whether something had not been baked into the wafer (.. .). If possible, could you please send me a package? Its contents should be: .5 kg. (1 lb.) smoked cheese, .5 kg. (1 lb.) butter, and the remaining weight in smoked bacon. The weight of the package not to exceed 5 kgs. (10 lbs). Please do not include sausage, head cheese or other products in the package, because they will not give them to me. The package will reach me in about a month.
On June 28, 1978 Miss Irena Dumbrytė received a notice addressed from Mordovskaya ASSR, Zubovo — Polianski r-on, pos. Sosnovka uc. ZX 385/1. The notice was signed by Camp Warden A.A. Satayev and Bureau Chief V.S. Davydov. She was being notified that her marriage to Balys Gajauskas will be registered on July 27, 1978. If unable to arrive at the appointed time, she is asked to write in advance.
On the appointed day, I. Dumbrytė arrived at Sosnovka accompanied by Rev. J. Zdebskis and her sister L. Šulskienė. Because Dumbrytė is a Catholic, she wanted the civil marriage ceremony to be strengthened by a church ceremony for which two witnesses are necessary. She was also carrying out Balys' request that a priest be present at this ceremony.
Upon arriving, she proceeded to the special bureau to inform them that she was prepared for the marriage. She was told that the time of the ceremony would be relayed by telephone to the dormitory where she was staying. She waited for the call all day, but it never came. The morning of the 27th, Miss Dumbryté again went to the special bureau. There she was told that they have no telephone contact with Yovas, and cannot make the call. She was again told to go back to the dormitory and wait. At 3:00 P.M. they were notified to come to the labor camp gate and wait. Dumbrytė with her sister Laima and the Rev. Juozas Zdebskis waited a half hour at the gate.
The newspaper Begegnung (1978—7), published in East Berlin by leftist Catholics, reported on the life of Catholics in Kishinev (Mordovian SSR) and mentioned something more; that is, "the illegal underground press" being published in Lithuania. According to Begegnung no one guarantees the accuracy of the information reported by this press and responsible publishers should not rely on anonymous information, as does Petrusblatt published in West Berlin when it presents a distorted picture of the situation of seminarians in the Soviet Union.
It quotes from the April 30, 1978 issue of Petrusblatt: "Young Catholic men of the Ukraine, Belorussia and other countries are not allowed to study at the Kaunas and Riga Seminaries." As a rebuttal to this so-called deceitful statement, the pastor of Kishinev the Rev. Vladislav Zavalniuk, is held up as an example: he is a 26-year old Ukrainian who trained at the Riga Seminary .. .
From the very first year of Soviet occupation, diverse measures have been used in Lithuania to tear, shred, burn and otherwise destroy Lithuanian and other language books, which in their contents, through various thoughts and ideas, hinder the occupant and local collaborators from implementing their fatal plans for Lithuania— break the Lithuanians morally and then deprive them all of their national identity.
This persecution of the Lithuanian printed word and its physical destruction is still being implemented today. It is true that this printed word does not always "offend" the occupant. It sometimes passes through three censorship filters (author, editor, state censor). However, even then it can be destroyed. It is destroyed through special directives if the author later somehow transgresses against the government or is simply not pleasing. This time, this fate befell author and poet T.(omas) Venclova, a courageous defender of human rights in Lithuania who was forced by KGB persecution to emigrate to the United States.
We reprint below the shameful documents, sent to library directors and book store managers, which disclose the lack of logic and the "culture" and morals of those at whose initiative such directives and orders are issued.
It was reported in the middle of September that the Soviet government has granted permission to twenty seminarians to study at the Kaunas Seminary. The following seminarians were admitted to the first-year class: Stanislovas Anužis, Gediminas Bulevičius, Pranas Čivilis, Kazimieras Daugla, Romualdas Dulskis, Algirdas Gave-nauskas, Algis Genutis, Jonas Ivanauskas, Donatas Jasiulaitis, Remigijus Jonkus, Stanislovas Kazėnas, Algirdas Kildušis, Simutis Marciukevičius, Petras Matukevič, Petras Purlys, Gvidas Pušinaitis, Vidas Saukaitis, Jonas Šutkevič, Virginijus Veilentas, Juozas Klimavičius.
Seminarian Juozas Klimavičius was granted a one-year leave of absence from the Seminary to work for the government in payment for tuition (he is a film technician).
Seminarian Rimas Dalgėda from the Vilnius diocese has permanently withdrawn from the second-year class.
Seminarian Algis Kazlauskas from the Vilnius archdiocese was expelled from the senior class.
This year those who entered the Seminary were, like before, recruited to work as KGBagents.
Certain seminarians—Kazimieras Meilus, Vladas Petraitis, An-tanas Gylys and others—were summoned to the Kaunas KGB department for interrogation at the beginning of the academic year. The interrogations centered around Petras Plažukas who is currently expelled from the Seminary by the civil government.
Immediately upon hearing the news "Habemus Papam" and seized by a strong impulse of joy, we hurry to Rome with prayer, heart and telegram and express our pleasure, love and respect on behalf of the Lithuanian clergy (though for technical reasons we could not reach everyone), the faithful and all who hold the faith and the Church more dear than personal life. Moreover, we solemnly declare: Lithuania is ever loyal to the Apostles' Throne.
You, Holy Father, more than anyone else, fully understands our problems, hopes and expectations. May the affairs of the Catholic Church in Lithuania also find an appropriate place in your noble heart. And we will incessantly pray the Almighty, through the honorable servant of God Archbishop Jurgis Matulevičius, to grant you His countless blessings and assistance in fulfilling the vital expectations of millions of believers and people of good will.
Lithuania — Kaunas
Priests: Mykolas Buožius, Pranciškus Gaižauskas, Liudvikas Siemaška, Jonas Rakauskas, Jonas Kazlauskas, Jonas Augustauskas, Juozas Vaičeliūnas, Romas Macevičius, Juozas Čepėnas, Alfonsas Svarinskas.
The administration of the 29th Middle School was called on the carpet for having neglected its atheist work: One of the school's alumnai, Jonas Ivanauskas, enrolled in the seminary.
Class 6F homeroom teacher (Mrs.) Dana Mikaliūnienė is very zealous. Whether the students are willing or not, homeroom teacher Mikaliūnienė ties a red scarf and you are a Pioneer. Student Laima Sutkutė dared to remove the scarf which had been imposed on her in this way and consequently suffered much unpleasantness. Finally, the student's mother was summoned:
"Your daughter is the only white crow in her class," the homeroom teacher reproached the mother.
Gargždai (R a y o n of Klaipėda)
Justinas Stanijauskas was being buried on September 9th of this year. His daughter is a student in class 4C of the 2nd Middle School. Wishing to show her sympathy to the student who had lost her father, Homeroom Teacher Petrauskienė brought her students to the funeral, but upon seeing a priest waiting at the grave site, she ordered the children to place the flowers under the coffin supports next to the refuse pile and leave the cemetery.
The Catholics of this village are outside the law—they are condemned to die without religious ministrations. Here are some examples:
The children of ailing Teofile Oleinik appealed to the Red Cross organization in Moscow asking whether the Soviet government has the right to forbid the dying woman to summon a priest. On September 6, 1978 the Red Cross forwarded the Oleinik statement to the Moldavian Religious Affairs Commissioner, with the request that the Oleinik matter be resolved. The letter was signed by A.L. Samoi-lov, head of the chancery.
Oleinik received the following reply on September 13, 1978: "In reply to your letter addressed to the Red Cross, we inform you that the Rayon of Kamenka does not have a registered Catholic religious community nor any priest registered to minister to them; the question of summoning a priest from another Rayon is to be resolved by the local government" (in this case, the Rayon of Kamenka). It was signed by Assistant Commissioner for Religious Affairs, A.I. Reneta. The Kamenka Rayon government does not even want to hear that the only Catholic priest in all of Moldavia has not only the right but also the obligation to minister to all Catholics, especially those in danger of death.
The Security Police Needs High Caliber Traitors On a Large Scale
His Excellency Bishop K(azimieras) Paltarokas had chosen as his chancellor and heir to the bishopric Msgr. Jonas Kriščiūnas, the pastor and Dean of Utena.
The monsignor had barely moved to Vilnius, when he very quickly and unexpectedly ran off to the countryside as a retired pastor. He was later appointed pastor of Vyžuonai where he died.
Asking that I keep it in confidence, he recounted to me what happened to him in Vilnius.
Just after he moved there, the security police subjected him to harsh interrogation for five days. They tempted him with childish promises: '"You will have a car. You will go where you want, even abroad . . ." They threatened him with horrors. One of the direst: "You will return and rot on a collective farm! .. ."
But the most indicative words were: "We have enough small-time scoundrels. We need high caliber helpers to represent us (help us) at international conferences, peace conferences abroad . . ."
Monsignor Kriščiūnas did not consent and was suddenly driven out of Vilnius to retirement.
Aušra (The Dawn) No. 12 (52). The issue, which appeared in
August, is devoted to Lithuanian Helsinki Group member Viktoras
Tiesos kelias (The Way of Truth) No. 10. This issue was published
at the end of September of this year (1978). ^
Rūpintojėlis (The Suffering Christ) No. 6. Published in October.
Perspektyvos (Perspectives) Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4. The first issue of this publication appeared around August. Each issue covers only one subject, for example, No. 1—"Socialism, Communism and Democracy", No. 2—"My Country and World" by A. Sacharov, No. 3—"The Rubicon" by M. Baskas, No. 4—"Thank you, Party!"
The publishers write in the foreword: Perspektyvos will raise problems of daily life, will point out possible ways of solving them, will offer readers the opportunity to express their views and opinions. It will present the views of those in the Soviet Union who are persecuted and even imprisoned for their opinions and beliefs.