Holy Father, today it is difficult to find suitable words for Catholic Lithuania to express to you as it wishes its sincere gratitude and love for all the attention you have lavished on our tiny nation.

A fresh piece of good news has reached us that Bishop Vincentas Slad­kevičius has been appointed President of the Bishops' Conference and Cardinal for Lithuania. The Cardinal's appointment is a precious gift; it is an important and meaningful event for the entire Catholic Church of Lithuania, and for the nation. We resolve to be worthy of it.

The elevation to the cardinalate of Bishop Sladkevičius - who has suf­fered many injustices, insults, and persecutions - is for us, like a beacon on the stormy sea, where there is often a great danger of becoming lost when it is dif­ficult to distinguish truth from lies; it is an encouragement to us not to run from difficulties and dangers, but to stand fast beneath the banner of Christ through frequently difficult days in the life of the Church in our country.

Holy Father, may our thanks for the love and concern you have shown our nation and Church be the solemn resolve of all of us to remain faithful to the Roman Catholic Church, and to support you ceaselessly by our sacrifice and prayer.

With respect and love, The Catholics of Lithuania