On December 5, 1979, the Prienai Rayon Executive Committee sent Father Antanas Gražulis the following reprimand:

    "It has been established that in the Prienai parish church, school-age children are being consistently used to assist at religious services. On September 6 of this year you were issued a written warning (which you refused to sign) regarding this matter. On November 18 of this year nineteen children served at mass, however, and that same day fifteen children served at the evening mass. On Priest Warned Not to Violate Regulations 171

November 25 again twelve children served at Mass. There lave been cases where school-age children were recruited :o sing in the church choir.

    "Once again we warn you that measures must be taken o keep cult servants from violating the Regulations for Religious Associations.

    "Furthermore, we draw your attention to the fact that on the evening of November 4 of this year, you slandered Prienai Secondary School no. 2 Principal A. Mickas without ;rounds from the pulpit of the Prienai church.

(signed) Chairman of the Executive Committee
A. Budbergis"


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     On January 16,1980, the Prienai Executive Committee again wrote Father A. Gražulis a warning:

    "Despite the fact that you were warned on September 6, L979, and December 5,1979, regarding school-age children being used in the Prienai church to assist at religious services, thirteen children served at morning services on Sunday, January 13, and six at the evening services.

    "We warn you that measures must be taken against these blatant violations of the Regulations for Religious Associations.

    "By the same token, we again draw your attention to the act that on the above-mentioned Sunday you inadmissably attacked in your evening sermon leading rayonemployees Comrades A. Budbergis, [Mrs.] A. Bužinskienė, K. Morkvėnas, and A. Micka). You also slandered the childbearing principles of Communist families. This is incompatible with the work of a hired minister of cult in a religious community.

(signed) Executive Committee Vice Chairman
K. Morkvėnas"

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"To: The Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party

"A Protest

    "We, the undersigned believers of the Prienai parish, voice our protest against the persecution of our priest, Father Antanas Gražulis.

    "On January 8,1980, the Prienai Rayon newspaper Naujas gyvenimas (New life) printed a malicious article entitled'Ko Siekia Vikaras Gražulis?' (What is Assistant Pastor Gražulis seeking?) by Rayon Atheistic Council Chairman A. Matulaitis. In the article our priest is charged with organizing children to sing in the choir, serve at mass, participate in processions, and with directing all his' fire' against scientific atheistic propaganda, etc.

    "We wish to state that our assistant pastor, Father A. Gražulis, dilligently carries out his priestly duties and sees to it that our children grow into decent and believing individuals.

    "Forced atheistic education has not done Lithuania any good, but, in fact, a great deal of damage. One would have to be totally blind not to see the shortcomings of atheistic upbringing in the case of drunken teenagers, juvenile delinquents, reformatory inmates, etc.

    "We believers, although we do not approve of raising children without God, do not prevent nonbelievers from raising their children according to their beliefs. Therefore, we also do not want atheists to privent us from raising our children in a Catholic manner.

    "We protest that children of Catholic parents are implanted, under the cover of science, with a completely unscientific world view. And what is even more distressing is that this is done forcibly.

    "We protest against the type of freedom of conscience' where atheists can do what they please while believers are categorized as second-class citizens.

    "We demand that we, our children, and our assistant pastor, Father Antanas Gražulis, be left in peace."

January 1980
Signed by 1,026 believers of the Prienai parish