Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving: For Our Lady of Vilnius, NYC

  • For the home Father Sestokas' parish gave to my grandparents, a place where Lithuanian immigrants could meet each other and form a community, speak their language which, in other circles was obscure and comical, and, most important, not be "different".
  • For the home it gave to my father; American born and driven by his parents to become totally American, a place where his heritage was lived rather than preserved, a place for him to remain Lithuanian despite the imperatives of upward mobility.
  • For giving me, a prodigal daughter, a home to which I could return.
  • For the people that I met there, attracted to the unique culture and charism of this parish like iron filings to a magnet: the Lithuanians at Sunday Mass, the Portuguese neighbors, the weekday lunch crowd, Council 12 of the Knights of Lithuania, Knickerbocker Council of the Knights of Columbus, the people who came to listen to Father Eugene's encouraging preaching of the gospel, Edvinas Minkstimas who worked miracles on the gap-toothed basement piano, the members of NSM who brought good fellowship and good times to the basement hall as they promoted Lithuanian culture, all the lecturers, artists and performers who shared their gifts with us in the cozy, time-battered basement hall.
  • The lore of the parish passed on to me by all of the above.
  • For "Marija, Marija"
  • For the gradual movement of my soul closer to God
  • For all of you


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