Papal visit to Lithuania: ten most memorable quotes
Pope Francis visited Lithuania on Saturday and Sunday. BNS Lithuania provides ten most memorable quotes:
About the centenary of Lithuania's independence: "This visit takes place at a particularly important moment on your life as a nation, for you celebrate this year the centenary of your declaration of independence. It has been a century marked by your bearing numerous trials and sufferings: detentions, deportations, even martyrdom. Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of independence means taking time to stop and revive the memory of all of those experiences. In this way, you will be in touch with everything that forged you as a nation".
About victims: "Lithuania as a whole can testify to it, still shuddering at the mention of Siberia, or the ghettos of Vilnius and Kaunas, among others. (...) Let us think back on those times, and ask the Lord to give us the gift of discernment to detect in time any recrudescence of that pernicious attitude".
About the mission in Europe: "Through dialogue, openness and understanding, you can become a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe. (...) We can build a country capable of accepting everyone, of receiving from the Virgin Mother the gifts of dialog and patience, of closeness and welcome, (...) a country that chooses to build bridges not walls, that prefers mercy not judgement."
About hope: "Lord, may Lithuania be a beacon of hope. May it be a land of memory and action, constantly committed to fighting all forms of injustice, promoting creative efforts to defend the rights of all persons, especially those most defenseless and vulnerable. And may Lithuania be for all a teacher in the way to reconcile and harmonize diversity".
About tolerance: "If we look at the whole scene in our time, more and more voices are sowing division and confrontation – often by exploiting insecurity or situation of conflict – proclaiming that the only way possible to guarantee security and the continued existence of a culture is to try to eliminate, cancel or expel other. Here you, Lithuanians, have a word of your own to contribute: "welcoming differences".
About the openness of the Church: "They say: people don't come. Go and find them! Go and find them! Our children don't come? Think something and help! The Lord wants male and female shepherds as people, not state clerics. What does a statesman priest do? He has a schedule, he opens his office at that very time, he makes his job, he closes the office ant the people are out. He does not get close to the people. Following Jesus does not mean living the life of a state official".
About individualism: "Let us swim against the current of that individualism which isolates us, makes us egocentric and vain, concerned only for our image and our own well-being," the pope said. Life is ugly when you stand in front of the mirror. But life is beautiful when you are with others: in the family, with friends, when you fight together with your people".
About caring: "Who will be the smallest, the poorest in our midst, whom we should welcome a hundred years after our independence? Perhaps it is the ethnic minorities of our city. Or the jobless who have to emigrate. May be it is the elderly and the lonely, or those young people who find no meaning in life because they have lost their roots".
About priorities: "It makes no difference whether Žalgiris Kaunas or Vilnius Rytas are in first place. (...) What matters is not the result, but the fact that the Lord is at our side".
About Sunday lunch: Finishing the Holy Mass, the pope bid farewell to the crowd in Lithuanian, saying: "Have a nice Sunday! Enjoy your lunch!"