Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Lady of Vilnius: where the language of the heart was spoken

"When the day of Pentecost had come, the Disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?"

Even though archdiocesan publicity states that Mass was not said in Lithuanian, it was. Father would say the Mass in Lithuanian, Jurgis Aleliunas would read the gospel in Lithuanian and Father would deliver the homily in English. The Mass was attended by Americans of various ethnic backgrounds: Irish, Italian and Portuguese in addition to Lithuanians and Lithuanian/Americans. Most important was the language of the heart that was lived by the community. None were more fluent in it than Jurgis and Stasia Aleliunas. They arrived before Mass, started the coffee and prepared the refreshments for the gathering after Mass. They spoke a little English, fluent Russian and Lithuanian. Their devotion to the details of preparing the altar for Mass and their radiant smiles said all that we needed to know. God bless them and all members of the scattered community of Our Lady of Vilnius this Pentecost. May the Holy Spirit inspire archdiocesan leaders to restore our community and its home.

1 comment:

Ellen Halloran said...

Here's an excerpt from "Fr. Joe's Corner" in the current bulletin from the shrine church of St. Anthony of Padua on Sullivan Street.
"How do we adequately mark this feast, and mark the coming of the Holy Spirit into our own lives?
Today, Catholic parishes measure their success by numbers. When evaluating parishes, for example, chanceries want to know how many families, how many marriages, how many baptisms, how many confirmations, how many marriages, how many first communions. They also want to know financial statistics--how much money, how much in the collection, how much debt, what condition the buildings?
All of this is well and good, but does it measure the success of a parish. The most important statistic is missing--discipleship."