After a serious illness, the pastor of Ceikiniai and member of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group, Father Karolis Garuckas, S.J. died at the hospital of Švenčioniai on April 6, 1979.
The nation lost an active and courageous fighter for basic human rights, and the Church — a zealous and skillful apostle.
A huge crowd of believers from all corners of Lithuania, over one hundred priests, the exiled bishops Julijonas Steponavičius and Vincentas Sladkevičius and the Administrator of the Vilnius Archdiocese, A. Gutauskas, gathered on April 10th to accompany Father Karolis Garuckas on his final journey on this earth and pray for his soul.
The Revs. Jonas Lauriūnas and Algimantas Keina and Msgr. Bronius Antanaitis preached eloquent sermons at the funeral, and Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Believers, at the gravesite.
A person who attended the funeral writes: "While listening to the warm words of farewell from the friends and colleagues of Father Karolis, it seemed we were transported in thought to that remote corner of Lithuania—Paberžė—where Father A. Mackevičius kindled in people's hearts the determination to resist oppression, deceit and exploitation.
Is it possible Father Karolis is no longer with us?
No, he remains with us. The oak cross rising above his grave will constantly remind and urge every Lithuanian to oppose oppression and fight for eternal values.
With this brief report on the funeral, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuaniareminds readers that a special issue is being prepared on the life, work and last days on earth of Father Karolis Garuckas.
Fr. Karolis Garuckas' funeral procession by his grave. 1979.IV. 10.
Fr. Alf. Svarinskas, member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of believers' Rights in Lithuania, saying a sermon by the casket of Fr. K. Garuckas. 1979.IV. 10.