Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Between Shades of Gray

Its not every day you find a book either about Lithuania, or by a Lithuanian. This week I happen to come across the book "Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys, an American of Lithuanian decent. Ruta chose to write about the harrowing theme of the mass deportations that occured in the Baltic states in June 1941. The story is told through the eyes of 15 year of Lina, who with her younger brother and mother are deported to the remote Siberia. It tells of the hardships, sorrows and survival of people who were labelled criminals by the Soviet government. Thousands of Balts were given half an hour to pack belongings and transported in the still of the night to be placed on freight trains bound for work camps in remote regions. They were forced to work, usually on farms for little food and no contact with the outside world. Many did not survive.

The book, although graphic in its content is well researched and written. I would recomend this to anyone who would like to know more about this period in history.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

St Casmir's Church

J. Langevicius made three crosses that grace the rear of the altar. A sculpture by G Butauskaite – Firinauskiene of St Casmir (statue funded by Navakas family) also stands by the altar. A Jucius built a Lithuanian style confessional booth on P. Pusdersys design.

Father Jatulis returned to Rome in 1957 at which time Fr Juozas Kungys became the Parish Priest.

The church was christened on 20 November 1960. Arch bishop Beovich was present, along with 650 Lithuanians.

Fr Kungys died in 1962 and pastoral care of the community was entrusted to the Marian Fathers. In the same year Father A. Kazlauskas arrived from London to take up duties as Parish Priest. He was assisted by Fr P. Dauknys. During this time a hall, newspaper room and library were built and extension were added to the original building.

In 1968 Father Dauknys was appointed to Geelong and in 1969 Fr A. Spurgis came from Chicago to lighten the duties of the ailing Father Kazlauskas. He passed away in 1976.

Under the guidance of Fr Spurgis a national shrine was erected, a baptistery and five stained glass windows commemorating the five dioceses of Lithuania were added to the chapel.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Beginings of Lithuanian Church

By the end of 1948 there were 1000 Lithuanians in Adelaide. Shortly before Christmas the Catholic Immigration Office organized an afternoon tea in St Francis Xavier Cathedral hall which became the venue of Lithuanian social activities in the first few years.

The Archbishop of Adelaide at that time, The Most Reverent Mathew Beovich appointed Father P. Jatulis then residing in Rome to minister to the spiritual needs of the community in Adelaide. Holy mass was celebrated in St Josephs in Pirie Street.

By 1953 there had been in the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic community

  • 26 christenings (12 boys, 14 girls)
  • 11 marriages (6 with other nationalities)
  • 3 deaths all men

In 1956 Fr Jatulis called a meeting at which the Lithuanian Catholic Parish Organisation was constituted and officially registered as “Lithuanian Caritas Inc”.