Friends of Saint Peter Lithuanian Parish- Update
#10 September 20, 2004
Jubilee Greetings to all!
Well, our wonderful parish celebrated its 100th
birthday in grand style and enthusiasm on Sunday, September
Folks gathered at 9:15 a.m. in front of the church
on a gloriously sunny and brilliant morning to make history.
The assembled group posed for a picture in front of the church
that was decorated with a large banner proclaiming our Jubilee
and a lovely homemade banner, adorned with rutas, pleading for
the life of the parish. Parishioners, clergy, confirmation candi9dates
and friends smiled and hoped that they would be together for
a photo to celebrate the 101st birthday of the parish.
The Jubilee mass began at 10:00 a.m.! What an
emotional experience…seeing the church full to capacity,
standing room only! Young and old parishioners, each reveling
in the significance of the day. The altar was beautifully decorated
with yellow mums wrapped in green paper and adorned with red
ribbons. A subtle hint at our patriotism and pride in our Lithuanian
roots. Most parishioners wore their red, yellow and green Save
St. Peter Lithuanian Parish buttons on their Jubilee finery.
The mass was enhanced by the Jubilee choir whose
melodic voices filled the breadth and depth of the church. They
sang the mass responses, the psalms, specially chosen hymns
and musical pieces composed by Jeronimas Kacinskas, long time
choir director and Julius Gaidelis, a log time parishioner.
Kudos to Daiva Navickas, the choir director and all Jubilee
choir members, for a magnificent performance.
Bishop Baltakis celebrated the mass. In attendance
on the altar were Msgr. Contons and Fr. Zukas. Other guest priests
included Fr. Shakalis, Fr. Prusaitis, Fr. Cannon, Fr. Carr,
Fr. Zarauskas and the pastor of the local Polish parish.
Msgr. Contons preached the sermon in Lithuanian and English.
He addressed the Archdiocesan plans to “reconfigure”
the archdiocese and close our parish. At the conclusion of his
heartfelt, logical and emotional homily, he was heartily applauded
and honored by a standing ovation by the assembled throng. You
may read Msgr. Conton’s homily in its entirety by clicking
Bishop Baltakis confirmed six candidates and spoke
to them and the congregation in a short homily.
At the conclusion of mass, Fr. Zukas unveiled a magnificent
clay model of St. Peter Lithuanian Church. These clay replicas
of our church were made in Lithuania especially for the jubilee.
They were sold at the Jubilee luncheon and will provide a wonderful
memento in the years to come.
After mass, almost 500 parishioners traveled to
Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant to continue the celebration.
Others, went into the church hall and lit 100 candles on a cake,
sang Ilgiausiu Metu and shared the delicious pastry.
At Anthony’s Pier 4, guests purchased souvenir clay models
of the church and received a juosta (sash) woven in Lithuania
as a souvenir of the luncheon. English and Lithuanian versions
were available…1904 Sv. Petro Lietuviu Parapija 2004/1904
St. Peter Lithuanian Parish 2004.
A table was festooned with 3-foot tall silver numbers –
100 – a 2-foot tall raguolis, ruta and other flowers and
100 votive candles.
The mood was festive and celebratory! It was like a reunion
for many parishioners. Each table centerpiece was a mini- raguolis
sitting in a field of greens. It was taken home by the individual
who had been a parishioner the longest. All socialized and were
treated to a wonderful luncheon comprised of salad, onion soup,
popover rolls, prime rib, dill potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Dessert followed the program and was eagerly anticipated as
the waiters scurried to serve baked Alaska covered with strawberries
and pieces of the raguolis.
The highlight of the afternoon was a power point
presentation highlighting the 100-year history of our parish.
Everyone enjoyed seeing old photos and familiar faces. The computer
program was enhanced by the live performances of Egidijus Stancikas
from the Kaunas Drama Theater. He played the role of Petras
Lazauskas, one of the church founders. He was dressed in period
clothing and made you believe that Lazauskas had come back to
visit. He also portrayed Msgr. Virmauskis quite realistically.
Those who did not understand the Lithuanian text could follow
along on the screens where the text was written in English.
Additional vignettes were presented by Sr. Eugenia Glineckis,
Alice Ruseckas, Gita Kupcinksas and Arnold Plevock. Ms. Daiva
Navickas, a talented and creative talent, prepared the program.
An Anniversary moment followed. Parishioners of
Parish Past were invited to light a candle. Among these were
Bronis Kontrim, Albert Kleponis, Blanche Razwad, Ann Norinkavich,
Robert Ruseckas, Eleanora Chaplick, Albert Siauris, and Albert
and Aldona Kropas. Some of these parishioners were 6 or 7 years
old when the parish was consecrated. Parishioners of Parish
Present were then invited to light candles. These individuals
represented those individuals who are active and ever-present
in parish life. Finally, Parishioners of Parish Future, those
under thirty years of age, approached to light candles. When
all had returned to their seats, the table was ablaze with 100
votive candles that seemed to illuminate the large 100 digits
on the table. Five hundred voices joined together in singing
Ilgiausiu Metu! There was a depth of emotion visible on faces
as each one of us was probably privately hoping that a miracle
would occur and our beloved Parish would survive.
Fr. Zukas and Msgr. Contons briefly greeted the
assembly. Gloria Adomkaitis, the mistress of ceremonies, extended
greetings from the Friends of St. Peter Lithuanian Parish. She
thanked everyone for his or her financial, spiritual and emotional
support during the past months. She encouraged everyone to send
his/her ideas, comments, suggestions to the website. She also
reminded everyone that the fight to save the Parish would begin
in earnest when the official letter of closure is received.
Danute Dilba took many photos of the celebration. We shall enjoy
a visual history of our 100th Jubilee celebration for many years
to come. Please visit the website to
see photos of the wonderful Jubilee celebration of St. Peter
Until next time –
Gloria R. Adomkaitis
For the Friends of St. Peter Lithuanian Parish
PS Please share this update with friends and family who may
not have computer access.