Father J. Zdebskis is at present completing his sentence at the regular-regime prison camp in Pravieniškės. Although the convicted priest carries out his assigned work very conscientiously, the camp's administration does not intend to release him before his term is up because "he is incorrigible."


A poem dedicated to Father Zdebskis' mother has been circulating widely among the Catholics of Lithuania:

Don't cry, oh, dear Mother, for the reason your son 
Once again has been shackled with chains. 
He's accepted his irons as though they're God-sent, 
For the youth, for our entire nation!

Though his hands cannot rise in the altar's sacrifice, 
Nor distribute the heavenly bread— 
On the heights of Golgotha together with Christ 
They pour forth redemption and light. 

And at nighttime, please, Mama, don't wail like the sea 
In your grief—like the tempest-tossed Baltic. 
Heed the hearts of the children, heed how they pray 
They're resolving to live life with honor!

Behold how the seed that was scattered now sprouts, 
Sown once by his generous hand. 
He's brought honor to the Church; he's her truest of sons,
A beacon most bright for our journey! 

Unimportant are Caiphas and Pilate to him, 
And all unjust judges and kings, 
Both the thorns, the portentuous way of the cross— 
He serves the Almighty alone!

He stands like the stones in the fields of his land, 
Like the frost-covered mountain ash, grasses. 
He will never betray Church or Country—his choice 
Is obeying the will of the Highest.

Up in heaven the angels all wonder and pray; 
With their fortitude martyrs attend him. 
He has lived not for self, but for others always. 
For this reason alone are his hands bound!

In the joy of the saints, Mama, seek consolation 
And feel happiness near for a moment: 
In our history his illustrious name will remain 
Inscribed with honor forever!

Therefore cry not, dear Mother, for the reason your son
Cannot draw near to the altar— 
He suffers with Christ behind bars for us all 
And inflames our entire nation!

The children, 1971