In February, 1972, the faithful of Klaipėda sent to Leonid Brezhnev, the General-Secretary of the CPSU, a petition that the Soviet government return a church confiscated from the faithful (see the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 2). Security officials were the only ones who reacted to the believers' request. They even conducted a search of the apartment of [Mrs.] Kudirkienė, a resident of Klaipėda, and of her daughter's apartment.
In July, 1972, the believers in Klaipėda once again sent a petition to the General-Secretary (see the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 3). [Mrs.] Gražienė, who had sent the petition, was summoned on August 25 to the office of the city's Executive Committee. Rugienis, the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, who had arrived from Vilnius, showed Gražienė the petition of the faithful with 3023 signatures and said:
"You won't get the church back, since the building is needed by both believers and nonbelievers. You have a church, so pray there. No one is bothering you. It's not the church you need so much as you're interested in passing information abroad. If all the people can't fit into the church on Easter, that's not our fault."
Gražienė was questioned as to who had organized the petition and who had collected the signatures. The government officials rebuked her for getting mixed up in "politics," and promised to turn her over to the security agencies.
During Holy Saturday services in 1972, two youths, atheists, came into the church in Plungė and began to cause a disturbance. Since they ignored the requests of the faithful to stop their racket, the sacristan asked them to leave the church.
At night, about 2 a.m., as the people were participating in the devotions of the Stations of the Cross, these youths took down the crucifix from the wall, carried it out beyond the churchyard, and smashed it into pieces. In his Easter sermon, the pastor said that he who profanes the flag of a nation insults all the citizens of that country, that the crucifix is the flag of the faithful, and that today it had been desecrated. The entire congregation wept.
The culprits were apprehended by the police, but no one has heard anything about their being punished. Greatly distressed by this desecration of the crucifix, people have been saying: "Such are the fruits of an atheistic education of youth."
In the summertime, before religious services, at the church in Palanga religious music would be played over loudspeakers and numerous vacationers of various nationalities would gather to listen to it.
In early August, 1972, everyone was astonished at the sudden cessation of these programs of religious music. It turned out that the vice-chairman of the city's Executive Committee had summoned the pastor of the church in Palanga and had demanded that there be no further programs of religious music. The excuse was that they do not constitute a part of Church ritual. The people are waiting to see whether before long the Soviet officials will perhaps begin telling them what hymns to sing in church or how many candles to burn on the altar .