To: His Holiness Pope John-Paul 11. The Vatican.
We, the Catholics of Lithuania, follow with utmost attention over Vatican and other Western radio stations your words, teachings, works and frequent voyages to various continents to bring today's errant world Truth and Love.
We, who have suffered much during the last four decades, are moved by Your Holiness' constant concern for basic human rights, which are trampled here with particular ruthlessness, and we are moved by your amazing love for your homeland.
Because of geographic proximity and similar political circumstances, we are very familiar with the tragedy of Poland, and we understand it well. Whatever the fate of that nation, it will influence our future efforts and struggle. In Lithuania, the government atheists who fight against young believers continually repeat: "In Poland also, everything began with the rosary . . ."
Holy Father, from your actions we learn love of God and country. We now have an undisputed, prestigious example that by struggling for the rights of God, the Church and our fellow countrymen, we do not undercut our direct mission.
The priests and believers of Lithuania thank you in prayer and works for the kindness of your parental heart, your daily remembrance in prayer, for the greetings in Lithuanian on various occasions, for the Lithuanian sermon in the chapel of St. Casimir's College, for naming Bishop Paulius Marcinkus, Bishop Jonas-Vytautas Bulaitis and Msgr. Audrys Bačkis to high and responsible church positions. Thereby, Your Holiness, you draw the world's attention to the small Catholic nation on the banks of the amber-laden Baltic, which for over forty years now has been conducting a life-or-death struggle for God in people's hearts, for survival of Church and nation. This moral support is of inestimably vital importance to us.
Our nation, devastated for four decades now, has mustered all its spiritual forces and has been striding, especially during the last ten years, toward rebirth with the slogan: "Renew everything in Christ!"
The Catholics of Lithuania are constantly praying for Your Holiness, asking the Almighty to protect Your life from hired assassins, to keep you tor many years tor God's honor and the good of the Church. Let us nurture the idea that in 1987 when we celebrate the venerable 600th anniversary of the advent of Christianity to Lithuania, we will be able to welcome Your Holiness fittingly at the shrine of Aušros Vartai (Gate of Dawn) Mother of God to whom, at your installation on St. Peter's Throne, you gave your cardinal's hat.
We, the priests and believers of Lithuania, while commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, kneel at Your Holiness' feet and ask: "Holy Father, bless the forty-year struggle of our Church and country, the suffering, the great sacrifices, all our prisoners with teacher Petras Paulaitis in the forefront (on October 30th of this year, he will complete his 35-year sentence), the bishops, especially the exiled Julijonas Steponavičius and Vincentas Sladkevičius who have spent over twenty years in exile, the priests (a third of whom trod Gulag roads of suffering), the monks and nuns, the believers and our brethren living abroad."
The Priests and Believers of Lithuania
To: His Excellency Archbishop Paulius Marcinkus, The Vatican.
We extend our heart-felt congratulations to Your Excellency on your assumption of the important and responsible post in the Vatican and we pray God to grant you good health and countless blessings. We have been separated from the West since 1940, and the East ends in Siberia, therefore only in prayer can we reach you in time to offer our congratulations.
We have long since become acquainted with Your Excellency from Vatican Radio. We rejoice that a Lithuanian saved Pope Paul VI's life from the assassin's hand, that you now accompany a second pope on his apostolic journeys to various continents.
Last year we were delighted to learn that you were planning to visit the yet unseen, but beloved land of your forebears. Unfortunately, the Soviet government feared this visit and the enthusiasm of fellow Lithuanians which a visit to your parents' land would have elicited. We still retain the hope that your old dream "to kiss the cherished soil of Lithuania" will come true during the two major anniversaries in 1984 and 1987.
We are grateful to the Western press for not failing to mention our exiled bishop Julijonas Steponavičius whenever they write about
Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, Pro-President of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City
you. The fulfillment of the press' prophecy would be the greatest confirmation of our nation's sacrifices and sufferings.
The sermon Your Excellency preached via Vatican Radio on July 5, 1981, profoundly resounded in the hearts of every Lithuanian worthy of the name. How wonderful it would be if all of our nation's sons and daughters, regardless of where they live, could repeat your words:
"With all my heart I grew up with the history of Lithuania, for it is the history of my parents and grandparents. I grew up with the Lithuanian culture in my heart for it is the culture of the Lithuanian nation, of my parents and grandparents ... I am also grateful to those living in Lithuania for their beautiful example of love of country."
Your Excellency, bless the free voice of our Church — The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania — which is commemorating the first decade of its existence. Please convey our most heartfelt thanks to all who have helped it overcome the obstacles of several languages and speak to the world about the hardships of Lithuania's Catholics. In this difficult hour we are in dire need of the help of public opinion.
May Your Excellency live long!
The Priests and Believers of Lithuania.
To: His Excellency Archbishop Jonas-Vytautas Bulaitis, Central Africa
Our heartiest congratulations on the high point of our priesthood — your consecration to bishop and appointment to high church position. We wish you countless blessings from God and long years in the service of God and Church!
On the Feast of the Three Kings our hearts were in Rome with you and all Lithuanians who came to your celebration. The respect and love of the entire fighting nation goes out to you, Your Excellency! We were delighted to hear the radio broadcast of your words, attesting to your determination to support anywhere you might be, the needs of your fellow Lithuanian Catholics. We would like to hear your words on every possible occasion.
The land of your forebears and your parents' native parish— Kučiūnai — invite Your Excellency to come for a visit. Your visit would bring us great joy and you would have an opportunity to experience not only the love of your fellow-countrymen, but also the difficult conditions under which they must practice their faith.
We thank your mother, a Lithuanian mother, who raised a large Lithuanian, Christian family. She is a wonderful example to us living in the homeland.
We extend our best to your brothers and sisters! Health and best wishes!
Your Excellency, although you will have direct responsibility for Africa's Christians, please do your utmost also to help our homeland. Make public the wrongs against our nation and Church, help the Holy See interpret the information which comes from the homeland.
Bless our suffering, our struggle and our determination to create a brighter future for Church and country.
The Priests and Believers of Lithuania