Campaign for Jesuit Schools and Programs in Lithuania
The past several years have been a whirlwind of activity for the Jesuits in Lithuania.
Following years of Soviet oppression, freedom returned to Lithuania in 1991. While this brought tremendous euphoria to Lithuania, it also brought about enormous challenges, opportunities and responsibilities. In a country denied religious freedom for more than a generation, there was tremendous spiritual hunger. As they have throughout their 450-year history of global outreach, Jesuits took a lead in rebuilding the spiritual core of a country.
It has not been easy. I liken the Jesuit mission in Lithuania to the way a swallow builds his nest. Given the swallow's rugged, mountainous terrain, he is limited in the spaces available for nest building (rocky niches sliced into the side of the mountain) and materials that can be procured. So the swallow works with what he has, building a nest in the space God has given him, with whatever materials he can find. It seems to suit him well enough.
Reality demanded that we take a swallow's approach in re-establishing our Jesuit mission in Lithuania. Buildings were in disrepair. Time and money were short. But the need was significant and compelling.
Through the generous leadership of many generous people, the Jesuits have been able to re-open two high schools and three churches. We have stepped up programs for preparing Jesuit novices for priesthood. The most critical repairs have been completed and we are well on our way to advancing our ministry into the new millennium.
But now we need to move out of a mode of reacting to need and emergency and into a mode of careful and visionary planning. We take this step with Tradition for the Future.
The enclosed information outlines the process that has brought us to this point. It articulates our goals as well as the names of those who have helped us map this plan. I speak for all of the Jesuits when I say how excited and proud I am attest the possibilities for the future.
As you reflect on our mission, I thank you for your prayers and continued support. I look forward to a long, continuing partnership.
Yours in Peace,
Anthony Saulaitis SJ