1979 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Eucharist movement in Lithuania, listing among its ranks the finest sons and daughters of the Lithuanian Catholic Church. They include persons of varied ages and professions. However,their love of God and Country unites them. They are determined, with the help of Christ in the Eucharist, to revive the Nation and Church currently being stiffled by godlessness.
The Friends of the Eucharist commemorated their tenth anniversary on July 7th during the recollections of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Žemaičių Kalvarija. (Calvary of the Samogitians) The Friends of the Eucharist gathered at the famous Samogitian shrine from all corners of Lithuania to thank God for ten years of blessings and draw strength for new future tasks. On the occasion, Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius addressed the Friends of the Eucharist in church and all the members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Believers con-celebrated the Holy Mass offered for the Friends of the Eucharist. The people of Samogitia say it has been long since they have seen so many people, especially young people, at Žemaičių Kalvarija. After the solemn High Mass, the Friends of the Eucharist made the outdoor Way of the Cross. Several sermons were preached by Father Kauneckas.
On July 22nd, hundreds of Friends of the Eucharist gathered in the church of Meškuičiai for a procession of reparation to the Hill of Crosses. Everyone received Holy Communion at Holy Mass and afterward began to line up for the procession. Twelve men used traditional Lithuanian sashes to lift a large wayside shrine which they intended to erect on the Hill of Crosses on this tenth anniversary. The militia, security police and other government officials attempted to prevent the procession, but were unsuccessful in detaining or dispersing the crowd. Father Algirdas Mocius joined the procession. He placed a large cross on his back and carried it barefoot 8 km (5 miles) to the Hill of Crosses.
The procession was followed the entire distance by militia and security police vehicles. The pilgrims were photographed and filmed from every angle by security agents. Several men were arrested, but were quickly released. An exposed film was confiscated from one man.
On the way to the Hill of Crosses, the Friends of the Eucharist said the Rosary and sang hymns. The people they passed removed their hats; tears rolled down the cheeks of many: the sight was awesome. At the head of the huge procession, bent under the weight of the cross, staggering, a priest who left his health in the hell of the Gulag carried a cross, followed by the wayside shrine carried by men, mostly young men, and following them hundreds of youths from godless schools, singing holy hymns.
At the Hill of Crosses, after the cross and wayside shrine had been erected, Father Mocius preached an appropriate sermon.
After praying at the Hill of Crosses, the Friends of the Eucharist departed for home, carrying in their hearts a great love and determination never to be intimidated, never to hesitate and to rely completely on Divine Providence and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania congratulates the Friends of the Eucharist on behalf of the Church and the Nation and wishes them to stand courageously under the banner of Christ in the Eucharist.
Be Lithuania's flower and light!