Friday, 29 April 2016

Lithuanian Armed Forces Day

23 November Kariuomines Diena
Lithuania Armed Forces Day

While the Returned Soldiers Association Ramovė was active in Adelaide, each year the members would gather to commemorate Lithuanian Armed Forces Day on 23rd of November.
Lithuanian Armed Forces Day is commemorated on the 23rd of November the date that the Lithuanian army was initiated in 1918. 

An exert from an article written by Vladas Radzevicius (date unknown) reiterates what was written in the Melbourne Catholic newsletter, ‘Tėviškės Aidai’;

We bow our heads to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for their homeland, so that we may be free. 

We bow our heads that one day we will hear the historic cry, ourageous without fear like our father and forefathers, let us pause before the enemy’s path, let us increase our pace for our mother land, and for the Lithuanian State.

On that day, the time worn soldiers would dress in their best suits, nothing less than tie and jacket.  They stood in straight lines as they once must have as soldiers, watched as a wreath of leaves was placed by the statue that stands at Lithuanian House, to commemorate those who died for the homeland. 
They stood proud and tall as the Lithuanian flag was hoisted and sang the Lithuanian anthem with respect and reverence as only those can, who know the price of freedom.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

World Lithuanian Games – Chicago 1983

As Lithuania was occupied until 1991, exiled Lithuanian communities around the world would endeavour to connect in different ways.  One of these was through sport.  Unable to meet in Lithuania at first, the first World Lithuanian Games were held in Canada in 1978. The games were organised by future Lithuanian president, Vladas Adamkus.

It was a way of uniting the youth and instilling a spirit of national pride.  In 1983, Chicago hosted the games.
The World Lithuanian Days and sport festival was held in Chicago from 25 June to 4 July 1983. A team from Australia was selected to participate and represent all the Lithuanians in Australia.

Antanas Laukaitis was the touring party leader, Treasurer and junior boys basketball coach, Don Atkinson, Men’s section leader Jurgis Karpavicius, women’s section leader Marija Atkinson, coordinator of travel and men’s volleyball coach, Jerry Belkus and Public Relations Nita Wallis.

From Adelaide went;

Eddie Taparauskas and Men’s basketball Manager, Jonas Ignatavičius guard, Petras Urnevičius (basketball), Ramunė Grigonis (basketball), Vanesa Kalninš (basketball), Aleksas Talanskas (basketball).
Mens volleyball
Algis Laurinaitis

Women’s Volleyball
Alius Daniškevičius (Assistant coach)
Dale Laurinaitis
Mile Daniškevičius
Wendy Paulauskas
Robyn Paulauskas
Laima Visockis

Table tennis: Vilija Bone, Ona Bone, Harry Bone

Other sports: Aleksas Merūnas (Manager)
Athletics: Mikas Talanskas (athlectics)
Swimming: Irena Petkunas, Rikardas Baškus

Detroit won gold in the finals against the Australian All-Star team.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Our parish priest

Father Juozas Nikodemas PETRAITIS MIC

Born on July 16th 1922 in Milgaudžius village in the Tauragė region to Juozapas and Marija.  He came from a farming family, the eldest child of four.  Juozas was active in the local church, and at about the age of 10 decided he wanted to be a priest.  He studied at Gaurės primary school, Tauragė High school and the Telšiai seminary.   During the war he moved to the Kaunas seminary.  He was drafted in the Red Army in 1941.   He fled into Germany with his mother, sister and two brothers.  They remained in DP camps, he was able to continue his studies at Eichstatte Seminary.  Following the end of the war, he travelled to Rome to continue his seminary studies.  He studied at the Gregorium and Angelicum University. 
In 1946 he joined the Marian fathers and continued his studies in America, Marina Hills Marion Seminary not far from Chicago.  He was ordained on Ascension Thursday 22 May, 1952 at St Raimund Cathedral.  In 1953 he moved to St Gabriel the Archangel Lithuanian parish, in Milwaukee.  Juozas wanted to further his studies, which he did at Jesuit University of Marquette.  In 1956 he served as parish priest  at St Peters in Kenosha, where he obtained US citizenship.

He served as Chicago as provincial secretary of his order. 
In 1963 he was sent to Argentina, where he learnt Spanish.  He worked at Lithuanian parish of Santa Fe then in 1967 transferred to Aušros Vartos parish in Avellaneda Buenos Aires where he worked for 17 years.

When Adelaide priest, Father Spurgis became ill, Juozas came to Adelaide initially for three months.  He returned to Argentina but was again summoned to help in Adelaide. 
From July 1984, he became the Adelaide priest.  During his time here he also became the Spanish migrant chaplain having learnt Spanish in Argentina.

Father Petraitis served the Adelaide Lithuanian community until the age of 91 when he moved into a nursing home.  He was able to recite the Rosary prayer in five languages, Lithuanian, Latin, German, Spanish and English.  He also spoke passable Italian and Portuguese.
He returned home to Lithuania just once in 1994, for a six week visit.

Ilsekis ramybeje.