Education Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR Decree No. 239
August 2, 1977
Re: The unprincipled actions of the Vilnius Rayon Šumskis Grade School administration and faculty on the occasion of the funeral of 5th-grade student pioneer M. Mikulskis.
Vilnius Rayon Šumskis Grade School 5th-grade student pioneer M. Mikulskis, the son of Teacher A. Mukulskaya, died on October 19, 1976 and was buried with religious rites.
The student's body was laid out at home without religious symbols. However, as it was being carried from the house, it became apparent that the casket containing the student's remains would be taken to the church. Many students, teachers and local residents had come to the funeral. The students accompanied the casket to the church with flowers and wreaths. They did not attend the religious ceremonies but waited in the street until they ended. The teachers of the Šumskis Grade School, except for N. Shutov. . . Gurin, H. Hrinovich and A. Mikulskaya and some of the students, did not participate in subsequent funeral rites.
After the religious services in church, the funeral procession, attended by a priest with church symbols, and the remaining students who carried flowers and wreaths, and local residents, proceeded to the cemetery where concluding burial rites were held.
The school administration (principal, Party-member J. Sidare-vich, vice-principal S. Sobolev) and the teachers played a passive role when arrangements were made for the student's burial. They did not take the initiative to see to it that it would be conducted according to civil funeral customs.
As a result of the unprincipled attitude of the school's administration and faculty, the Šumskis Grade School student was buried with church rites; a sizeable number of students and even several teachers attended these ceremonies.
The faculty later remained indifferent regarding this incident and merely held a regular discussion within the professional union organization.
Director A. Ditkevičius of the People's Education Department did not make the necessary evaluation of this attitude and did not place obstacles in the way of possible future similar incidents.
I decree that:
1. It is to be noted that the Šumskis Grade School faculty (Principal J. Sidarevich) did not act responsibly by failing to prevent the student's funeral with religious rites, left the students to their own devices who were then used by others in the religious procession to the cemetery. The students' atheistic work has been neglected in school, it should be carried out in concrete ways.
2. A strong reprimand is being issued Šumskis Grade School principal J. Sidarevich for his passive stance regarding the student's religious burial and for permitting students to attend those rites as a group.
3. It is to be noted that teacher A. Mikulskaya acted in an unprincipled manner by burying her son with religious rites, thereby violating the ethics of a Soviet teacher.
4. The school administration and faculty is to be advised to assume more responsibility in the Communist upbringing of students, shaping their scientific-materialistic outlook.
5. A reprimand is being issued Director A. Ditkevičius of the Vilnius Rayon People's Education Department for his irresponsible attitude toward the behavior of the Šumskis Grade School administration and teachers in charge; for his unprincipled evaluation of them in not taking appropriate measures to punish the guilty persons and stop the recurrence of similar incidents.
6. The Vilnius Rayon People's Education Department (Dir. A. Ditkevičis) is hereby charged with evaluating during the first term of the 1977-78 school year how the Šumskis Grade School is instilling a scientific-materialistic outlook in students through the educational process and questionnaires and with filing a report with the Education Ministry.
7. To the directors of Rayon and city educational departments:
1. Assure that school activities strictly adhere to the decision of the Lithuanian SSR Education Ministry Council "On the methods of the Education Ministry to improve the atheist upbringing of students, by carrying out the April 11, 1977 decision of the Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee bureau regarding the work of the Pabiržė Middle School in instilling a scientific-materialistic outlook in students.
2. Strengthen the atheist upbringing of students in schools, improve the forms and means of atheist propaganda, ensure that students do not participate in any activities conducted with religious rites.
Council Chairman Education Minister A. Rimkus
On August 21, 1977, the powerful words of the prayer "Hail Mary full of grace" rang out in unison from the hearts of thousands; they were echoed by the forest's mysterious rustle, and the air itself seemed to quiver with joy, in concert with the rhythm of the marching crowd.
They were the participants of the Third Eucharistic March sponsored by the Eucharistic Brotherhood; they formed orderly columns, and went with flowers in hand to greet the miraculous Mother of God at Šiluva and ask Christ in the Eucharist, through her intercession, to grant Lithuania sobriety, decency and the spirit of faith; they went to entreat the Lord to forgive the nation's sins and to draw strength, courage and fortitude for themselves.
These marches have already become a beautiful tradition. They began in 1975. It is also a journey of repentence. All who are concerned (mostly children and youth) about their forefathers' land
gather from all corners of Lithuania; the future of Lithuania, prayerfully saying the rosary, walks to Šiluva.
In 1975 and 1976, this journey was relatively peaceful, although some drivers were stopped, attempts were made to intimidate participants, and the license numbers of private cars were recorded with great show.
This year, the government was especially active. The militia and Security police guarded the woods where we began to gather as early as 5.00 A.M. for the journey together. Militia vehicles patrolled every road leading to Šiluva and suspiciously checked passing cars, forcing passengers to alight before reaching their destination, revoking the driver's licenses of some. The militia recorded the license numbers of private automobiles and checked the owners' papers. Many were forced to rush a long way on foot to the gathering place. But the people, full of enthusiasm and courage, were not intimidated.
At the gathering place, in a small woods, a cross was erected, the young people adorned it with a Lithuanian wreath and rue and, surrounding it, said the rosary aloud. The militia and Security police walked around confusedly. They found themselves in an unenviable position, since the pilgrims paid not the slightest attention to them.
Finally everyone arrived, formed columns and the intention of the pilgrimage was read:
"We will pray for Lithuania, asking Mary to protect us from the flood of alcohol, from indecency and ungodliness. We will ask for strong faith, courage and determination for ourselves and for others. We will also pray for those who prevent us from praying, that the Good Jesus would grant them the grace to understand their errors. For they are also God's children and of the same nation—the sons of Lithuania. We do not have enemies (although many might consider us enemies), but only wayward brothers, and so there is one great yearning in our hearts: that all may come to understand "that man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
The lined-up procession moved in an orderly fashion toward Šiluva, repeating with hearts and lips: "Hail Mary . . . Hail Mary . . . Hail Mary . . ."
And security police and militia vehicles (over 10 of them) buzzed around the pilgrims the entire way. The procession was filmed in secret from one vehicle. Militiamen stood in the town, at crossroads and along the sidewalk and attentively scrutinized the passing pilgrims.
After the services, as the participants were dispersing for home, two militiamen tried to drag one participant away by force, but the pilgrims then passing in the street saw the militia drag the man and shouting loudly rushed to rescue the innocent man. And so the crowd saved the man who had been seized. Because there were many people around, the militia did not dare seize anyone else.
On the way home, motor vehicle inspectors still patrolled the roads and checked passing cars, even searched for "offenders"— peaceful pilgrims—among the passengers of regular route buses.
The next day, (Mrs) J. Petkevičienė was summoned to the Vilnius security police, and the Šiauliai security police summoned K. Jurevičius.
This is just one more striking example of the persecution of faith in Lithuania: It is forbidden to pray, it is forbiddent to profess one's faith, although the state law—the Constitution and its new draft— guarantees this, but this guarantee is a mere show, mere propaganda, and in real life everything is the opposite.
Here are some statistics: Approximately 800 to 1,000 pilgrims participated in this Eucharistic March; in 1975 there were about 500-600 participants; in 1976 600-700 pilgrims attended.
During the last days of December 1976, Šilalė Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairman P. Baguška visited all Rayon priests and examined their living quarters, bedrooms and kitchens. And why is this necessary? Because he assumed his position in the fall of 1976 and this was his first step in attacking priests.
On January 3 or 5, 1977 , the pastor of Kvėdarna Father Julijonas Miškinis and parish committee chairman Antanas Poška were summoned to the Šilalė "Rayon" Executive Committee for the annual accounting. RayonVice-Chairman P. Baguška ordered in a loud tone of voice; "If children continue to serve or sing at Mass, the priest and committee chairman will have to yield their places to others."
On June 13, 1977, Vice-Chairman P. Baguška of the Rayon of Šilalė summoned the Rev. Julijonas Miškinis and the church committee chairman. Baguška sternly forbade children to serve at Holy
Mass and said that the priest must not accompany the deceased to the cemetery at funerals. The pastor explained that there is a Ritual Book approved by the Council of Ministers and that he conducted funerals according to that book. Moreover, it is the diocesan chancery which determines rituals and how they are to be conducted. A shout was heard, that he did not acknowledge any ritual book or any diocesan chancery. If his directions are not carried out, the Vice-Chairman will "cut him down to size".
In July 1977 the Rev. J. Miškinis, the pastor of Kvėdarnai, was again summoned to the office of the ŠilalėRayon Vice-Chairman. This time P. Baguška was assisted by Security agent Jackus. Again, reproaches and threats were made; The deceased cannot be accompanied to the cemetery because this disrupts the procession, but without the priest there is no disruption. In the meantime, funeral processions are held along out-of-the-way Jūros Street, not to distrub anyone.
Security agent Jackus accused the pastor of antagonizing and not communicating with Rayon Vice-Chairman P. Baguška. The pastor explained that it is impossible to communicate like intelligent people simply because the tone of voice used and also mentioned the Vice-Chairman's words: "This is my office and I do what I please . . ."
Both officials again berated the pastor for not obeying the dean, Msgr. Feliksas Valaitis; they were even upset by the Pope's age. To this, the pastor replied that even the leaders in Moscow are too old and merely seek to perpetuate their personality cult.
To: LSSR Council of Ministers Commissioner for Religious
Affairs K. Tumėnas A statement from:
Rev. Julijonas Miškinis, residing in Kvėdarna, Rayon of Šilalė
On October 1st of this year, Rayon newspaper editor Alfonsas Briedis printed in the Šilalė Rayon newspaperArtojas (Plowman) an article entitled "Fishing While Muddying the Water." This article is an open and public insult to me, a USSR citizen. When a trial is held, both sides are always heard. Here, I am being tried, condemned and accused of something I am certainly not guilty.
The article mentions children who serve at Holy Mass and sing in in the choir. I have no right to chase them from the church or from the altar as demanded by Vice-Chairman Petras Baguška of the Šilalė Rayon Executive Committee, because the church does not belong to me, but to the community. The religious community is composed of all those who have been baptized, both adults and children. The church is supported by the members of the com munity. Therefore, it is their right to go to church with children or without them; they also choose where they want to be in church. The same holds true for singing. If parents who like singing and music also take their children up to the choir loft, the priest will not climb to the loft to chase them from there. My duty as a priest is to urge believer parents to concern themselves with the religious upbringing of their children. I am certain that the children who are brought by their parents to church did not break the windows of the new bus station and the windows of the "Lelija" newspaper stand and did not place pots on the heads of statues in the churchyard. And when such incidents do occur, can we remain silent, should we not remind the parents to supervise their children and their behavior? It is better for parents to take their children to church than leave them to the whim of fate!
A Briedis states that in my sermons I flung accusations at parishioners and told the names of "sinners" to church trustees. What names? Whose, to whom and when? There is a saying that when you want to hit someone, you can always find a stick. Perhaps that is why the article's author does not mention names, but himself invents names and merely writes initials: B.D.M.J, and P. If this is true, why, conceal the names? Only to denigrate and conceal the truth, it would appear. I did not settle accounts with anyone, I did not slander any visitor, I did not call anyone thief or slut; only the article's author could have called them that and then only through the newspaper. In fact, he could have bribed someone to lie against the priest. And why doesn't he prove the things he uses to denigrate me? There should be witnesses. And can anyone be tried without witnesses?
There have not been any robberies in the church since I have lived in Kvėdarna. But the newspaper refers to a stolen cross.
If one so-called writer pens a slanderous article about children and abortion, there arises the question of whether such things can be made public in the press without benefit of a court ruling and whether such things can be constantly repeated? Everyone has a right to his good name. I did not order anyone to have an abortion. If such things can be repeated, then it can clearly be said that I am a murderer, that I set fire to houses, broke store windows and the like, and will that be true?
Finally, the author of that same article, A. Briedis, calls me a thief. He states that I paid workers out of community funds. When, to whom? He should have thoroughly checked the facts before writing such things. There is a committee which negotiated the contract and paid for the work; it keeps a record of its income and expenses. But the newspaper accuses me.
On June 13 of this year, I was summoned by Šilalė Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairman P. Baguška. I had barely stepped into his office when he began to shout: "We will break your horns." When I remarked about his tone of voice he retorted: "This is my office, I do what I please . . ." He attacked me the most for not obeying the law in burying the dead, for accompanying them to the cemetery. I tried to explain that a "Ritual Book" was published in 1966, that I conduct burials according to this book, that it is the Curia which determines rituals and how they are to be conducted. There came a very brief reply: "I do not recognize any curia or any ritual book, you can go to the cemetery either before or after, but, most important, separately." When I asked how this can be explained to the people, he replied that it is not his business to explain the law, but merely to enforce it.
On July 26th, I was again summoned to Šilalė on the same matter. At the end of the meeting, he stressed that if I continue to conduct funerals I would no longer have the right to live in the Šilalė Rayon.
On October 3rd or 4th of this year, at the Kvėdarna Middle School, during a Lithuanian language class, teacher (Mrs.) Krasnickie-nė explained to the students the meaning of exploiter and emphasized that a living example is Kvėdarna pastor Julijonas Miškinis. I, who does not even know her, could have exploited and injured her? Does she have the right to tell students such things?
I have worked for sixteen years, and this is not the first place. 1 have always gotten along with everyone. Now I wonder whether truth exists anywhere and where it can be found? If truth does exist, then the lie should be retracted in the press. Or perhaps, we priests are outside the boundaries of the law? I sincerely ask you to clarify the truth.
Rev. J. Miškinis Pastor of Kvėdarna
Kvėdarna, October 7, 1977
(The statement has been shortened — Ed. Note.)
It is clear from the newspaper article itself, "Fishing While Muddying the Water," why the Šilalė "Rayon" officials are angry at Rev. J. Miškinis. The article writes: "At first several, then later, a whole group of under-age girls were enrolled in the church choir. Boys also came to serve at religious services . . ."
In Lithuania, those priests who attract youth to the church incur the atheist government's strongest hatred.
To: First Secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party,
P. Griškevičius A statement from:
The believers of the Viduklė Roman
The Soviet press, and in particular Valstiečių laikraštis (People's Newspaper) intended for the countryside, constantly assures us that the law guarantees full freedom of conscience in Lithuania. Unfortunately, it is different in practice. We have not yet forgotten the injury done the church by the conviction of the priests A. Šeškevičius, J. Zdebskis and P. Bubnys for examining children for First Confession and Communion. Now, the Viduklė parish is undergoing the same hardships. Last year, a crowd of a thousand Viduklė residents went to pay respect to their dead on the eve of All Souls' Day. That did not please the area atheists (we can count them here on our fingers) and the Administrative Commission of the Raseiniai Rayon Executive Committee leveled a 50-ruble fine against our pastor the Rev. Alfonsas Svarinskas. It appears that atheists have the right to pay respect to their dead, but believers are forbidden or they can pay respect to their dead only under the direction of atheists with soviet songs and atheist poetry, but not with prayer or religioius hymns.
On July 26th of this year, in the Viduklė church, the pastor was examining children in preparation for First Confession and the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is common knowledge that instructions from the bishop obligate the priest to examine the children and if necessary to tell them to prepare better. That is the pastor's holy duty. At about 5:00 P.M. in the afternoon, District Chairman A. Zigmantas, a militiaman and three teachers entered the church. And, without saying a word to the pastor, the children or their parents, who were in the church during the examination, quickly left, went to the firehouse and secretly compiled a report that the pastor was instructing children. There are rumors that the pastor's case has been handed over to the Vilnius prosecutor's office. We feel that the government officials should have identified themselves, explained the reason for their visit and asked the pastor for an explanation. But, by behaving in this way, they merely frightened the children and outraged the faithful of Viduklė parish. How unfortunate that no militia, no government representatives and no teachers are present when children really do commit offenses. Recently a school-girl was put on trial at the Viduklė Cultural Center for petty theft. Everyone knows that bicycles cannot be left in the street or yard, but everyone is silent. . .
And the events of August 9, 1977 stunned us completely. The militiaman Lieut. Butkus of the Viduklė Rayonand two teachers tried to catch children in the streets and apartments and, without the knowledge or consent of parents, dragged them to the middle school for questioning.. Suppose the children had committed some offense (in this instance it is the catchers who committed the offense), then the parents should have been summoned and the children questioned in their presence. Every decent persons understands what forcibly obtained evidence from children and dictated statements are worth. Unfortunately, only the atheists cannot understand this. They use any means. Viduklė had not yet seen such entrapment. In such cases, the school loses its authority in the eyes of both parents and children. It is doubtful that any believers will accept the assurances that there is full freedom of religion in Lithuania.
We are fully convinced, and postwar life in Lithuania confirms it, that only a deep faith in God can turn our children into good persons. The atheists of Lithuania are fully responsible for the present catastrophic morality among the youth and people. They will not make either us or our children godless through force. On the contrary, they will force us even more, with their persecutions, interrogations and trials, to congregate around the Church. Up to now, the atheists have not provided us with any shining or attractive examples—everyone knows what kind of families they themselves have.
If our pastor, the Rev. A. Svarinskas, is prosecuted for examining children (We taught the children ourselves and will continue to make every effort to keep them from becoming atheists.), we will consider it a common attack against a good priest faithful to the Church.
This painful incident affected not only those parents whose children were entraped and forcibly interrogated, not only those parents whose children were preparing to receive First Confession and Holy Communion this year, not only the deeply religious Viduklė parish, but all believers of Lithuania. It is a brutal violation of human rights and the Soviet Constitution. We therefore strongly protest such illegal actions by the atheists and ask that every measure be taken to ensure that similar incidents, which do no honor to the Soviet government, arenot repeated in either Viduklė or Lithuania. We will never accept the position of second-rate citizens foisted on us in our native land.
Viduklė, September 14, 1977 Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
Signed by 192 Faithful of the Parish of Viduklė
Diocesan Ordinaries have issued a memorandum in which they requested that, following morning services, where suitable conditions exist—for instance, where the church vestibule is separated by a locked grate—the vestibule be left open throughout the day, so that the faithful might have the opportunity to stop in and pray as they pass the church. In Kaišiadorys, the vestibule used to be left open throughout the day and only the grate which prevents entrance to the body of the cathedral was locked.
Around 2:00 P.M. on September 14, 1977, vandals unlocked the grate and entered the church, broke open the doors of the tabernacle and desecrated the Blessed Sacrament. From the side altar tabernacle where baptismal objects were kept, they took containers of Holy Oil, spilled the holy water on the ground, poured a foul-smelling liquid into another holy water container and spat on the floor.
It is clear from all this that the vandals intended not to steal a couple of rubles, but to desecrate the church and the Blessed Sacrament.
The reaction of the militia is worth noting. When the pastor reported the entry into the church, militia officials stubbornly insisted that the grate to the body of the church must have been left unlocked . . . When asked to investigate the crime at the site, they did not deign to come.
Kirdeikiai (Utena Rayon)
At 6:00 P.M. on July 28, 1977, the Rev. Petras Kražauskas, Pastor of the church at Kirdeikiai was with the assistance of mothers, examining children who were preparing for First Confession and Holy Communion. At 6:15 P.M., Utena Rayon Executive Committee Chairman Vytautas Talmantas, Kirdeikiai state farm director Gediminas Mačinskas and the Kirdeikiai district secretary appeared at the church. They entered the church, began to count the children and make notes in a notebook. After approaching the pastor, Talmantas stated that the pastor had violated laws, which allow only one child to be examined at a time (there were 31 children present). The pastor explained that such an accusation is unfounded since the ban violates the USSR Constitution and Helsinki agreement pledges. The Executive Committee chairman threatened the pastor with imprisonment and ordered the secretary to draft a report, but the pastor refused to sign it.
When he learned from the pastor that the children's First Communion would be held on August 14th, the chairman taunted him in a mocking tone: "It's too bad that after all this work you won't be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, because by August 14th there won't even be a trace of you here. We'll take care ot you!"
Around 4:00 P.M. on July 31st, Utena Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairman Labanauskas, G. Mačinskas and the teacher Krasauskas came to the church. Although they found no children, they still filed a report. This time, Labanauskas tried to change his tactics: He tried to convince the pastor that he should look after his failing health, which would worsen in prison (he was threatened with two years imprisonment) and therefore, it would be best not to let the children receive First Holy Communion in a group. Otherwise, he will have to pay a fine and move from the parish.
On August 3rd, Father Kražauskas received a telegram summoning him to the Curia. Diocesan Administrator Msgr. J. Andrikonis berated Rev. P. Kražauskas for not getting along with the Rayon government, for making plans for a solemn group First Communion. As a result of this he might have to move from the parish. When Father Kražauskas explained that he would not move from the parish because of this, administrator Msgr. J. Andrikonis threatened to suspend him.
At 8:00 A.M. on August 5th, Executive Committee Vice-Chairman Labanauskas came to Kirdeikiai and drove the pastor to the Rayon. There the administrative commission imposed a 50-ruble fine on Rev. P. Kražauskas and warned him that, if he continues to work work with children in the future, he will be indicted.
That same day at 6:00 P.M., children came to the church with their mothers, asking to receive First Confession. At that very moment the pastor was called away to visit a sick person. He had not yet returned to the church when Labanauskas again appeared, acoompanied by Mačinskas, Principal of Kirdeikiai Middle School Principal (Mrs.) Rastenienė and another woman. Vice-Chairman Labanauskas began to intimidate the mothers, telling them that their visit would ruin the pastor, and showed them the two written reports and the fine imposed, warning them that if the pastor were to return now he would immediately be arrested. The school principal began to frighten the children, telling them that they would now have to speak with her in school. And so, the terrified mothers and children dispersed, and when he returned, the pastor did not find a single child.
On August 7th, the pastor, not heeding either the Curia or the government threats, announced that group First Communion would be held the following Sunday and also encouraged the mothers not to fear any repression.
At High Mass on August 14th, the church was full of people praying for their persecutors. In his sermon, the pastor pointed out to the believers the fruits of atheist activity in Lithuania and urged them to treasure prayer, if parents and children do not wish to become disgraceful victims of atheism.
Ceikiniai (Rayon of Ignalina)
On September 28, 1977, the Ceikiniai District Chairman summoned Rev. Karolis Garuckas to his office in Ceikiniai and ordered the pastor to fill out the following questionnaire:
"To the Chairman of City and District Executive committees: "Before October 5th of this year, you are to submit to the Executive Committee a list of names of church choir members, indicating family name, first name, age, education and place of work.
Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairman A. Vaitonis." Ceikiniai parish pastor Rev. K. Garuckas refused to provide information for this questionnaire.
Ceikiniai (Rayon of Ignalina)
The pensioner, Mrs Stasė Kazimierėnienė worked as a bell ringer at the Ceikiniai church. The church committee paid her a salary of 5 rubles per month. As a collective farm worker she received a monthly pension of 21.90 rubles.
During August 1977, Ignalina Rayon social welfare department chief A. Kajėnas warned (Mrs) S. Kazimierėnienė that she will forfeit her government pension if she continues to work as a bell ringer at the church of Ceikiniai. (Mrs) S. Kazimierėnienė gave up her position of bell ringer.
Palūšė R a y o n of Ignalina
Pensioner Ignas Bečelis (born in 1902) lives in Palūšė. He receives a monthly government pension of 25.80 rubles. The elderly man worked as a sacristan at the Palūšė church. The church committee paid him 13 rubles per month.
During July 1977, Ignalina Rayon social welfare department chief A. Kajėnas informed I. Bečelis that, as a pensioner and under some law, he cannot work as a sacristan. He must either give up his pension or his work at the church. For the time in the past when he received his pension and also worked as a sacristan, he must refund 2,500 rubles to the state by November 15, 1977.
Stasys Makoliūnas worked as a linotyper in Vilnius at the printers of the Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee (Tiesos g.). On Saturdays he used to return to Palūšė where his family lived. There, on Sundays, he used to play the organ at church services. The printing firm's management learned of this. In 1976, the printing firm's personnel head (Mrs.) Bieliauskienė warned him that as an employee of the printing firm he cannot play the organ in church.
Maskoliūnas' family is living temporarily with his wife's parents in Palūšė. The printing shop's management had promisecd to assign him a government apartment by 1977. In May of this year, the head of personnel informed him that he has committed an offense—played the organ at the Palūšė church—and therefore would not get the promised apartment.
Maskoliūnas resigned from his job as linotyper at the printing firm and is looking for work outside the city.
Žvirgždaičiai (Rayon of Šakiai)
On September 27, 1977, Šakiai Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairwoman (Mrs) D. Noreikienė summoned the Rev. J. Žemaitis, Dean of Šakiai, the Rev. J. Jakaitis pastor of K. Naj-miestis, and Parish Committee Chairman Kuraitis, of K. Naumiestis. This meeting was also attended by the following People of Žvirgždaičiai Parish: (Mrs) E. Daniliauskienė, J. Strimaitis, A. Kėvelaitis and (Mrs) A. Gurgždienė. The ŠakiaiRayon Executive Committee decided to annex the Žvirgždaičiai parish to the K. Naumiestis parish, and include three Žvirgždaičiai parish members on the K. Naumiestis parish committee.
Vice-Chairman (Mrs) D. Noreikienė handed the K. Naumiestis parish committee chairman a document fromRayon Architect A. Švedas allowing repairs to the Žvirgždaičiai chapel. The Rayon government will allow the pastor of K. Naumiestis to serve Žvirgždaičiai only temporarily, for under the new statutes on religious congregations, "each religious community or group of believers is allowed the use of only one house of worship" (art. 10).
The Šakiai Rayon government annexed the Žvirgždaičiai parish to the K. Naumiestis parish so that it might be liquidated in the future. As the number of priests declines, only those parishes which are registered can expect to be served by a priest for any length of time. Annexation to another parish is tantamount to the elimination of a parish. It is therefore very understandable that the faithful of Žvirgždaičiai are not rejoicing at their parish's annexation to the K. Naumiestis parish and are determined to fight for their parish's independence.
When the dead are buried without church rites, the atheists of Vilkaviškis allow the funeral procession to proceed along the main street, Pergalės g.; but when the funeral is conducted with church rites, it can only go 200 meters from the church to the nearest street corner.
Is this equality?
Pajūralis (Rayon of Šilalė)
On October 7, 1977, the Šilalė Rayon Vice-Chairman summoned the pastor of Pajūralis Father Julijonas Budrikis, and with the help of a Security police representative "educated" him for an hour and a half on how to preach and on the fact that it is not fitting for him to defend the Church and priests.
Upyna (R a y o n of Šilalė)
At the beginning of September 1977, Vice-Chairman P. Ba-guška of the Rayon of Šilalė summoned the pastor of the Upyna and Gidiškė parishes, the Rev. Adolfas Pudžemys, to the Rayon. When the pastor declined to come to the Rayon, Baguška personally came on September 13th and berated the pastor for disobeying. He also forbade him to escort the dead to the cemetery. Father Pudžemys refused to carry out his instructions and mentioned that every Rayon seems to have its own regulations. Moreover, the pastor affirmed that he had not instituted anything new, but intended to continue old customs.
Kvėdarna (Rayon of Šilalė)
On October 14, 1977, Vice-Chairman P. Baguška of the Rayon of Šilalė summoned 70-year-old (Mrs) Rupšlauskienė from Kvėdarna and berated her for teaching children their prayers.
Leipalingis (R a y o n of Lazdijai)
On October 20, 1977, Leipalingis Middle School teacher (Mrs) Ona Vaičiulienė demanded answers to the following questions from her 5B homeroom class during a meeting: "Do you believe?" "Do you doubt?" "Do your parents believe?" and so on. There were 17 questions in all. Each student had to sign his or her full name to the questionnaire!