THE ARCHDIOCESE OF KAUNAS
Ten seminarians enrolled in the philosophy course of the Kaunas Theological Seminary. Rugienis rejected two candidates. This year the KGB officials were less active in regard to those who were entering the seminary; nevertheless, they all had to have a talk with the security people during registration.
On September 8-15 crowds of people stream in to participate in the Festival of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The authorities take active measures to reduce the number of worshippers. This year the police guarded the roads. Here is what one worshipper has related:
"We went by bus, sixty-one of us. Most of them were elderly. The police stopped us 8-10 km. from Šiluva, drew up a list of people, and led off the driver. After some time he returned with an order to withdraw. After riding for several kilometers, the people began asking the driver to wait so that they could walk to the festival on foot. Once again the group of pilgrims had to pass the police. The women reproached them: 'You're shameless. Is it nice to trouble old people like this? Over the radio and in the newspapers you keep lying that there is freedom of religion in Lithuania, but how do you act? Christ was tormented. We'll also suffer our share for Christ. It doesn't matter that you're standing here with your red caps. We'll reach Šiluva anyhow.' When the festival ended, we walked back 11 km. Only then were we able to return home on the bus."
Another pilgrim related the following:
"We were riding the bus from Kaunas. Halfway between Raseiniai and Šiluva, we were stopped by the police. They led off the driver and spoke with him for a long time about something. One civilian, probably a security agent, looked over our vehicle, expressing surprise that it contained mostly young people. The driver was ordered to allow no one out of the bus and to drive everyone back to Kaunas. The police kept the driver's license and other documents. We were all very upset. Going on foot to Šiluva, we prayed the rosary for the policemen and all atheists, so that they would come to their senses and stop persecuting the Faith. Near the church in Šiluva stood many passenger cars. I saw one official copying down the license numbers of the cars—most probably not for a commendation. As we were passing a car 'on guard,' the Soviet officials within it laughed at us: 'God's lambkins are going to the festival.' "