Jesuits, with a proud tradition in Lithuania since 1569, strive to promote
the moral and intellectual life of the Baltic region by nurturing human
dignity and mature faith, by emphasizing scholarship and excellence in
Catholic education, and by supporting a truly civil society based upon
truth and service to others.
The Baltic Jesuit Advancement Project serves to secure support for Jesuit
programs and ideals in the Baltic Region.
In 1990, Lithuania regained its independence after five
decades of Soviet occupation. While elation swept the country, the citizenry
took stock of the damages this oppression had wrought and the great changes
needed for Lithuania to rebuild for the world of the 21st century.
As they have throughout their 450-year history, Jesuits took a lead in
creating a new Lithuania. They re-opened two formerly Jesuit-owned high
schools - one in Vilnius, the other in Kaunas - despite the deplorable
condition of the existing facilities. They also reclaimed four Jesuit
churches, which barely resembled houses of worship after 50 years of physical
abuse. One church had been converted into a Soviet museum of atheism;
another had been used as a shooting range. Still, recognizing the tremendous
spiritual hunger of the people, Jesuits quickly restored these facilities
to working order and re-opened them. Students and worshippers filled the
churches; it was clear that the demand for moral nourishment was great,
and that once again Jesuits were making a difference.
From 1991 to 1997, Jesuits were able to carry out approximately $1 million
worth of vital facility repairs, thanks to the generosity of donors throughout
the world. Without this swift, extraordinary response there would be few
classrooms, few places of worship or residences for elderly Jesuits. Now
that the most pressing needs have been met, it is time to create a well-designed
plan for the future, identifying and prioritizing the sometimes-overwhelming
requirements for buildings, programs and Jesuit formation. To this end,
Jesuits have established a Baltic Jesuit Advancement Board to oversee
the creation of this plan. The first steps are being taken with Tradition
for the Future.
To build a blueprint for success, the Baltic Jesuit Advancement Board
undertook a comprehensive planning process in the spring of 1998. Over
100 individuals - Board members, Lithuanian-Americans, alumni of Jesuit
institutions, business professionals, and Jesuit priests participated
in a process to determine a vision for the future.
Participants received background information on the components of the
Jesuit mission in Lithuania, the achievements realized to date, and the
general needs and opportunities that have been identified for the next
The discussions were lively, candid and constructive. Participants were
overwhelmingly positive about the work of the Jesuits in Lithuania. Through
this bold visioning process, priorities and enthusiasm began to emerge.
Recurring themes, insights and recommendations included the following:
- Jesuits has made tremendous progress in their Lithuanian ministries
in the short time that they have been publicly re-engaged in Lithuania.
The two high schools (Vilnius and Kaunas) are considered the greatest
success story of Jesuit involvement since Lithuania's independence.
The high ratio of applications to accepted students (5 to 1 in Vilnius,
7 to 1 in Kaunas), demonstrates this success.
- Lithuania have moved beyond the euphoria of independence, and is
looking to build a solid future. The people of Lithuania understand
well the challenges their country faces as Lithuania heads toward the
- To this end, the success of the future rests with the youth of
- Jesuits have always taken a lead in making a difference where the
need is the greatest. Not only has their involvement in Lithuania already
had a positive impact, but it also signals a brighter future for the
- Through his leadership, charisma, understanding and deep faith,
Fr. Anthony Saulaitis S.J., personifies the mission of the Jesuits in
All of this suggests a compelling case for support: the presence of an
urgent and significant need, strong leadership in the person of Father
Saulaitis, and a belief that money invested here can and will make an
immediate and powerful impact in Lithuania and globally.
The Priority Team planning discussions made obvious that the two Jesuit
schools are the heat and soul of the Jesuit mission in Lithuania. Still,
as many observed, there remains the challenge to nourish the life of Lithuanian
Catholics through Lithuania's Churches, and the formation of young men preparing
for the Jesuit priesthood. The needs for the next five years are as follows:
KAUNAS JESUIT SCHOOL
(640 students, opened in 1991)
- Major maintenance and repairs.
- Construction of new labs, cafeteria and athletic complex.
VILNIUS JESUIT SCHOOL
(570 students, opened in 1995)
- Major maintenance and repairs.
- Construction of a new multi-purpose athletic facility.
- Construction of a student campsite and retreat center.
- Equipment, technology, transportation, faculty enhancement,
- Renovation and repair of three Jesuit churches:
St. Casimir in Vilnius;
St. Xavier in Kaunas;
St. Ignatius in Siauliai.
JESUIT RESIDENCES AND ELDERLY JESUIT CARE
- Renovation of Vilnius residence.
- Renovation of Kaunas residence.
- Renovation or retreat center and novitiate.
- Support for formation, education and preparation of Jesuit novices
FOR THE FUTURE
Tradition for the Future is the logical response to the Priority Team
process. It seeks to forge a partnership among a broad spectrum of people
who are committed to bringing the vision of the Jesuit ministry in Lithuania
All of the needs of the Lithuanian Jesuit mission cannot be met immediately.
Nevertheless, before the inaugural of Tradition for the Future, over $1
million had already been secured from local and global philanthropists
for critically urgent facility repair and for funding Jesuit novice formation.
This campaign seeks to take the next dramatic step in advancing this mission
toward a brighter tomorrow.
In May 1998, the Baltic Jesuit Advancement Board launched Tradition
for the Future with a short-range goal of securing $1 million for funding
the project's next - and most immediate - objectives. These include:
- Continued renovation and repair of the school facilities.
- High school furnishings, supplies and program enhancements.
Support for novice formation.
- Urgently needed repairs to Jesuit residences and churches.
- A "seed fund" for construction of new facilities.
Following the achievement of these objectives, Tradition for the Future
will move immediately into its second phase, which will focus on the following:
- Construction of new high school facilities, including science labs,
a cafeteria and athletic centers.
- Completion of renovation of residences and churches.
- Establishment of endowment funds for faculty and student development
- Establishment of endowment funds for Jesuit novice formation.
Advancing the Jesuit mission in Lithuania - and making a difference in the
lives of today's young Lithuanians - begins with you. Supporting this effort
with a "stretch" investment will have an immediate impact on the students
and Jesuit novices who are preparing to lead Lithuania in the next century.
Most importantly, it will send a resounding signal of endorsing the value
of moral development in a nation rediscovering itself.
There are a variety of ways to invest in Tradition for the Future:
INVESTMENT OF CASH
Tradition for the Future seeks commitments over a period of three to five
years, or any other appropriate timetable. Spreading out such an investment,
with the option to make annual, semi-annual or quarterly pledge payments,
allows for a far greater impact on the project.
INVESTMENT OF STOCKS OR SECURITIES
Securities Gifts of Stock - one time gifts or multiple gifts over a period
of years - are ideal for both the donor and the Baltic Jesuit Advancement
Project. In giving appreciated stock, the donor avoids capital gains taxes,
receives the full benefit of a charitable contribution and provides the
Jesuits with a significant and immediate gift.
INVESTMENT OF REAL ESTATE
Gifts of real estate extend the same advantages as stock gifts. As in gifting
stock, the donor provides meaningful impact on the Jesuit mission, benefits
from significant tax savings and does not suffer any decrease in regular
INVESTMENT THROUGH A WILL OR PLANNED GIVING VEHICLE
An estate gift provides a donor with the gift of a lifetime. Life insurance,
annuities, trusts or a remembrance through one's will is an excellent way
to make a lifelong testimony to the Baltic Jesuit Advancement Project.
Please consult with your financial adviser on the right strategy for
MADE A START - WILL YOU HELP