Friends of Saint Peter Lithuanian Parish – Update # 11

October 12, 2004

Hello to everyone. In the month since our Jubilee celebration, there has not been much movement from the archdiocese. As you know, we were asked to choose a date for our last mass, for our official closing ceremony. The Parish Council refused to provide a date and Fr. Zukas reported to the bishops that since his parishioners did not agree to set a closing date, he would honor our position and not provide a closing date. This being said and done, we were informed that the archdiocese would set our closing date.

Since we were in the second group of parishes to be closed, the deadline for closing is supposed to be November 1st. To date, Fr. Zukas has not received any official notification about a closing date. So we keep waiting to see what happens.

Meanwhile, as you have read in the press, Archbishop O’Malley has commissioned a committee to look into the whole reconfiguration process. It is not clear what this means but it is the first sign that perhaps some of the decisions already made might be reconsidered. Is St. Peter Lithuanian Parish being discussed? We do not know and only time will tell if this committee’s work will result in any reversals in decisions already made.

Last week, a nun from the office of ethnic apostolate came to the parish council meeting wanting to speak to us about our impending move to our “welcoming” parish, i.e. St. Vincent. The parish council did not leave Sr. Mary with any false impressions that we might be ready to discuss a move to St. Vincent or anywhere! In forceful and eloquent terms, Sr. Mary was told that we have no intention of moving anywhere and we have every intention of fighting to keep St. Peter Lithuanian Parish alive! We expressed the importance and significance of keeping our Lithuanian Parish alive in its present location. It is hoped that Sr. Mary went back to her “bosses” and related what she witnessed – a passionate and committed ethnic group willing to take on the archdiocese.

Members of the steering committee are discussing a sit-in or vigil in our church, once the archdiocese comes to change our locks. It is our belief that the longer we remain in our own home, the better are our chances that the archdiocese will agree to meet with us and talk to us. Sit-ins seem to have had a certain measure of success…the archdiocese wishes they would disappear…the publicity is not to their liking. Before any final decisions are made, we must analyze the feasibility of our staging an effective sit-in or live-in in the church. If we start something, we must be willing to finish the job. Many of our parishioners are commuters making it perhaps more difficult to wage a successful sit-in. We need your feedback. If we had a sit-in, would you commit to “living and sleeping” in the church for certain periods of time? What do you think of the idea? Do you think we could succeed? Please email at wecare@savestpeter.org with your thoughts on this subject. Please pass this info on to others, who might not have computer access and let me know what they think. It is important to organize in advance of need. We just don’t know what the archdiocese is planning. We must be prepared!

Finally, another public demonstration is being planned for the weekend of October 30 and 31st. As you know, November 1st is All Saints’ Day and November 2nd is All Souls’ Day. In Lithuania, these days are marked by religious services and visits to the graves of deceased loved ones. Gravesites are decorated with flowers and candles. Bearing in mind the significance of these religious holy days in Lithuanian culture, it was decided that we shall try to build our own Hill of Crosses (Kryziu Kalnas) in front of our church during the weekend mentioned above.

Kryziu Kalnas or the Hill of Crosses is found in Siauliai, Lithuania. Lithuanians used to plant crosses of every size imaginable on a small hill outside of the town as a symbol of their Catholicism and as a symbol of their opposition to the atheistic Communist regime in Lithuania. Each time the Hill of Crosses would grow to hundreds and perhaps thousands of crosses, the communists would bull doze the hill and destroy the crosses. As soon as they finished, the next day, crosses would begin appearing once again…a sign of the Lithuanian people’s resistance to communism. Today the Hill of Crosses is covered with many thousands of crosses placed there by locals and visitors from all over the world. The Hill is a symbol of the perseverance and final victory of the Lithuanian people against communism.

The Hill of Crosses or Kryziu Kalnas that we hope will grow around our church, will also be a symbol of our perseverance, our tenacity, our determination to protect what is ours and a symbol of our determination to battle the archdiocese. We need everyone to participate. Please bring a cross, big or small, to church on the October 30 and 31st weekend. Take one down from your wall, make a simple one or a magnificent one…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the world will see our church property adorned with crosses…symbolic of our determination to keep St. Peter Lithuanian Parish alive. If you can’t come on the weekend listed above, bring your cross at another time and affix it near the others that will already be there. (See the attached flyer for inspiration.)

When there is any news, I shall share it with you through e-mail. Meanwhile, please think about the possible “sit-in or live-in” and send your thoughts to me. And please get a cross ready to create our own symbol of resistance, our own Hill of Crosses at St. Peter Lithuanian Church.

Click here for more information.

Until next time-

Gloria Adomkaitis
For the Friends of St. Peter Lithuanian Parish