~ 2007-02-09 (press release)
President Adamkus asks the Archbishop of New York to preserve Our Lady of Vilnius Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan for the generations of tomorrow
Friday, February 9. (Washington). President Valdas Adamkus sent a letter to Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, asking him to give special attention to the role played by the Parish of Our Lady of Vilnius in fostering national identity and spirituality and to preserve the Church for the society of today and the generations of tomorrow.
In his letter President Adamkus writes that upsetting news reached Lithuania in January that the Archdiocese of New York intends to close Our Lady of Vilnius Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan.
“Recalling the history of Our Lady of Vilnius since its founding on 10 December 1909 and knowing the religious and cultural significance it bears for the Lithuanian American Catholic community of New York and its vicinities, such an intention concerns me greatly,” writes President Adamkus.
Valdas Adamkus underlines that tolerance and respect for the heritage and religious traditions of ethnic minorities with whom we have lived together throughout the history of our countries are among the values that are followed and cherished by both of our societies.
“Almost a century ago Lithuanian immigrants in America built, using their own funds, the Church of Our Lady of Vilnius to have a place for worship and witness their love and faith in God. With time the church acquired yet another mission: it became a center fostering not only religious belief but also Lithuanian culture and national identity. People rallied around their church to maintain community bonds and remain close to their homeland.”
President Adamkus further writes that extraordinary Lithuanian American cultural treasures have been assembled in the church. Because of its architectural and artistic value, the church building has been included in the “List of U.S. Heritage Objects Important for Lithuania” compiled in accordance with the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on the Protection and Preservation of Certain Cultural Properties, which came into force on 3 August of 2006.
Valdas Adamkus points out that now many young people from Lithuania arrive to live, work and study in the United States of America, Our Lady of Vilnius in Manhattan is gaining an ever more important role.
“It has become a growing house of spiritual guidance and ethnic culture, giving generous spiritual and moral support. Its activities could strongly contribute to the process of evangelization of the young generation. Being greatly concerned about the preservation of the Lithuanian national identity and the devotion of the Lithuanian people to Christian values, I appeal to you, Your Eminence, to give special attention to the role played by the Parish of Our Lady of Vilnius in fostering national identity and spirituality and to preserve the Church for the society of today and the generations of tomorrow,” writes President Adamkus.
Press Service of the President
© Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Message from the Office of President Adamkus of Lithuania: Our Lady of Vilnius parish in New York
~ 2007-02-09 (press release)