Your Holiness:

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.

In your first talk to the cardinals you remembered individuals suffering in prisons for the faith. A whole list of our country's sons and daughters—Petras Plumpa, Nijolė Sadunaitė, Ona Prans-kunaitė, Vladas Lapienis and others—are suffering in labor camps or in exile for Christ.

News have reached us that already in your very first statements you said that half your heart belongs to Lithuania. You ex­pressed the desire to visit your Motherland Poland and the Soviet Union. We would very much want you to also visit Catholic Lithuania on that occasion. You will have the opportunity to see the devoutness and loyalty of Lithuanians to the church as well as to her supreme Shepherd.

We welcome the greetings you spoke in Lithuanian as a recogni­tion of our sacrifices for Christ. By receiving our bishops in audience you again showed your fatherly good will for Lithuania's faithful.

God certainly heard our prayers and today we feel less forgotten than ever before. In the future also, we will accompany the footsteps of your life and work with sincere prayer and will look forward to effective support.

The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania on behalf of Lithuania's priests and faithful.