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Panevėžys Bishop Linas Vodopjanovas’s Address to Pope Francis

23 September Kaunas Cathedral Basilica. Meeting with priests, monks, nuns, and seminarians

Holy Father,

please accept our cordial thanks for your meeting with priests, monks, nuns, and seminarians from all over Lithuania in the Cathedral Basilica of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul in Kaunas. With filial trust, we have anxiously awaited a meeting with You; we have been preparing through fervent prayers and service to God and neighbour.

May You and we together thank God today for having a devoted team of priests scattered throughout Lithuania and in Lithuanian communities abroad. We share the joy of consecrated life in Lithuania which, even though scarce today, has deep historical roots, which have had to withstand numerous hostile attempts of being cut off and uprooted throughout the centuries. It is a delight to see young people preparing for service in the priesthood.

Our faith today is put to test in various ways. Having responded to God’s call in the past, we often feel no joy in prayer and community life now. The spirit of secularisation and boredom has made an impact on our communities. When we start doubting our calling, when our hearts are filled with frost rather than fire and thus smoulder like char, when we fret about the future and close ourselves in our small groups or parishes, when we want to find certainty in the temporary things of the world, unfortunately, we forget that only Christ Jesus is our hope.

Your Holiness, that is why we are looking forward to Your witness of the Lord here and now and Your encouraging words on the road of faith. Please be assured that we pray for You every day, particularly for your intentions that extend to people of the whole world. We humbly ask You to keep us in Your prayers, too.

Chairman, Commission for Institutes of Consecrated Life, Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference