Vilnius (Photo: Unsplash/Dan Marian Stefan Doroghi)

Lithuania: "Something precious for my life"

CL celebrated thirty years in the Baltic country. An event in Vilinus attended by many friends, including from Italy: "We felt part of the same people".

On 14 October we celebrated thirty years of CL in Lithuania. It was all born from the desire to organize a public gesture for the presentation of The Religious Sense, which was published in Lithuanian twenty-three years ago. We thought of tying both events into one. There are about seventy of us friends in Vilnius. Many, whom we had not seen for years, came for a place that they still feel is home. We were also joined by some Italians particularly dear to us, such as Roberto, who together with Maurizio had started the movement in Lithuania in 1993, along with Dario and his wife Titti and Federico, and Lithuanians living in other countries.

After the mass celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Petar Raijc, who wanted to participate in the whole gesture, the celebration began. Through videos, songs and games, we retraced the history of the community. Audio and video greetings also arrived from many friends scattered around the world, such as Monsignor Paolo Pezzi from Moscow, and thanks from people who encountered our community and have seen their lives changed.

During the preparation of the event, among the friends in charge there was concern about what we could, there being so few of us. Instead, in recent years, there has been a growing certainty and awareness in me that the movement is a precious thing for my life. As I said during my testimony, I have been amazed at the change that has taken place in me thanks to the education of the movement. To the point of inviting people to celebrate the anniversary – dear friends and strangers – with the desire to share something true and great. I realised that community life is a tangible asset for me. And allows me to exclude nothing: not even the fatigue of dealing with my limitations and those of my friends. Life is changed to the point of opening my heart, my home, my wallet. I can say that despite our uncertainties, fears and worries, the celebration was proof of a Presence that conquers all.

This was the case for my Italian friends Dario and Titti. On their return home they wrote: “Thirty years of marriage. Thirty years rich in gifts and grace. We had thought of going, over a weekend, to visit some beautiful European city, but on our return from the International Assembly of Responsibles in La Thuile at the end of August, Kristina, a dear friend of ours, came to our house and enthusiastically invited us to Vilnius to celebrate thirty years of the movement in Lithuania. We accepted more for the chance to spend time with her and her husband than for the celebration itself, which we felt was not something ours. Instead, the good Lord always surprises you and uses your yeses, even if unconscious, to change you.”

Read also - The war in Israel and Tamara's heart

On the day of the event Dario, my husband, said to me: “During the meeting let's go for a walk”, but instead we were met by Paola (an Italian Memor Domini who had been in Vilnius for 23 years) and she gave us two headphones: she would translate the whole meeting live. What attention and what a desire to make us participate in what they were experiencing. From there it has been a continuous discovery. We felt part of them, of a people. Domantas' testimony of her encounter with a Christianity full of joy and vitality, described exactly what had happened to me in high school with GS. We were no longer there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their community, but we were there to give thanks for the encounter we had, some in Milan and some in Vilnius, which made us part of the same people. What moving! The evening ended with a group of Lithuanians and a few Italians singing songs by Lucio Battisti and Chieffo's Canzone del Melograno. How can you feel more at home than this… at home than this...”

Kristina, Vilnius, Lithuania