Several kilometers from Druskininkai is a beautiful cluster of lakes tucked in between Parieče and Aziorū. When Sunday arrived. I decided to look around, and to feast my eyes, especially since there was nothing for one who was free from legal actions to do in Druskininkai itself. Having convinced a friend to go along with me, and having found a car, I wound up in Byelorussia, where through the evergreens, the watershed was an impressive blue. On the way, we happened upon the little town of Naujoji Rūda, tucked in between two lakes. As beautiful as the scenery was, so were my other impressions depressing, not recalling the feeling of Sunday at all.
We saw people working: they were cutting wood and stacking straw. Every man we met in town had been drinking. A couple was strolling along, a soldier and his girl. It was not he who was leading her, but she who was dragging him along. We noticed the church, wooden, not too old, fairly imposing; it did not look bad from the outside. We wanted to see it from inside. Upon inquiring, we found a woman who unlocked it for us. Our eyes fell on a sad sight, as though a war had taken place. In the sacristy, the closet doors had been broken open, the altar pictures had been torn down, the tabernacle broken open; only the crucifix over the main altar was undamaged. This, apparently, they had been unable to demolish.
The woman told us that on Sundays, people gather, pray and sing hymns. That very day, people had been there to pray. In place of the old pictures which had been torn out, on the side altars were hung some pictures in the primitive style, and the remains of burning candles could be seen.
It is many a year since the priest has been here. Now they allow a priest to come only once or twice a year from Goza, not far from Gardinas, and bless the graves in the cemetery. One day, a few years ago, some men, dressed as militia, came from the rayon and tearing out anything that was worthwhile in church they threw it into a truck and drove off.
On the face of the woman recounting this, we could see the pain, her eyes welled up . . .
Sunday bells do not ring any more and what is left for the people: the life of a work-horse and the bottle . . .
Lietuvos Ateitis (Lithuania's Future) No. 3. The publication appeared at the end of July. It consists of twenty pages of typescript and deals with national and religious questions. The editors do not forget those who are suffering for God and country; they give their addresses in prison and excerpts from letters.
LITHUANIANS, DO NOT FORGET
Sergei Kovalev Vytautas Vaičiūnas
Balys Gajauskas Mečislovas Jurevičius
Vytautas Skuodis Gintautas Iešmantas
Povilas Pečeliūnas Antanas Terleckas
Algirdas Statkevičius Viktoras Petkus
Julius Sasnauskas Petras Paulaitis
and others who wear the shackles of bondage so that you might be able to live and believe in freedom!