Religious Affairs Council
The Religious Affairs Council’s major purpose is seek out the methods and means for fostering religious education through the Lithuanian language and heritage schools. The goals of the Council are:
- To raise the children’s religious consciousness
- To provide assistance to religion teachers
- To create awareness and clarify the importance of religion in the education of our children
- To provide a link between the importance of maintaining the Lithuanian culture and the religious traditions that are inherent within the culture
- Rev. Valdas Ausra, PhD, Chair
- Rev. Gintaras Jonikas
- Rev. Jonas Kelpsas
- Gracilda Petkus
The first Lithuanian Roman Catholic parish was the St. George parish in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, founded March 30, 1891. In 1941 there were 124 parishes. Most of them had a grammar school headed by Lithuanian priests and nuns and had Lithuanian language classes.
After World War II, refugees from Soviet-occupied Lithuania arrived in the U.S. and rejuvenated Lithuanian parishes. Lithuanian Heritage Schools were established in many parishes. However, the number of priests began to decline and parishioners began to leave for the suburbs. The number of parishes dropped to 98. As Lithuanians left the parishes, their place was taken by parishioners of a different heritage and, when they became the majority they took over the parishes. As such, it is very important that Lithuanians who are arriving from Lithuania today join Lithuanian parishes and become active parishioners.
There are some Lithuanian parishes without a Lithuanian-speaking priest. Wheverer possible, we try to find a Lithuanian-speaking priest at least for major occasions.
List of Lithuanian ParishesView list
Religious Sisters and Brothers participate in the life of the Lithuanian community both in the U.S. and Lithuania where they work in various capacities. They welcome inquiries from young men and women who feel a calling to dedicate their life to working with Lithuanians.
*The Sisters work with young people in Vermont (Camp Neringa), Michigan (Camp Dainava), Illinois (Lemont, World Lithuanian Center), and with those in need of nursing care (Matulaitis Nursing Home, Putnam, CT).
The Sisters host groups at their Motherhouse in Putnam, both for spiritual renewal and to hold meetings. Much of the Sisters’ mission is carried out in Lithuania. The congregations was founded by Bishop Jurgis Matulaitis. Sister Laimute Kabisaityte publishes Viespaties Spindulelis, a weekly bulletin for children.
Visible signs that confer God’s grace.
- BAPTISM makes us children of God.
- CONFIRMATION gives our souls strength by the grace of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for
our faith in word and in good works.
- COMMUNION/EUCHARIST is Jesus Himself in the bread and the wine. In order to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we should be in a state of grace – ask God for forgiveness of our venial sins. If you have committed a mortal sin, you must confess it to a priest (Sacrament of Reconciliation), receive forgiveness of your sin and do penance. One hour before receiving the holy Eucharist (communion), abstain from food and drink. You may drink water.
- RECONCILIATION helps people who have sinned to get back to God and to make peace with the community of believers.
- HOLY ORDERS confer the grace and the right to perform priestly duties.
- MATRIMONY blesses the love of a man and a woman who join to form a family.
- ANOINTING OF THE SICK strenghtens the sick person and helps him or her bear their sickness.
The Council has produced two children’s workbooks for Christmas and for Easter outlining the connection between the cultural and religious traditions. These workbooks are available by contacting the Council directly.
Musu Sventes is a Lithuanian-language workbook describing the significance of our holidays and Holy Days throughout the calendar. Editor: Sister Ona Mikaila.
The Council also publishes a column in the LAC, Inc. journal Bridges.
The Holy Bible
The Holy Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) was published in 1998. The Old Testament was translated from Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic by prel. prof. Antanas Rubsys. The New Testament was translated by Father Vaclovas Aliulis, MIC and an editorial staff. Published by Lithuanian Catholic Bishops Conference, printed by Kataliku Pasaulis, 1998. Contact Draugas for more information.