Pope Francis to visit Lithuania
Pope Francis will visit Lithuania on September 22-23, 2018. He will begin with a bilateral meeting with President Dalia Grybauskaitė. The Pope will also meet with the Lithuanian faithful, youth, people with disabilities, former political prisoners and those who have suffered from Soviet repressions, as well as Holocaust survivors. He will visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Gates of Dawn and the Museum of Genocide Victims. There will be a Mass at the city of Kaunas.
It was in Vilnius where St. Faustina Kowalska received visions of Jesus and asked her a painting of the Divine Mercy image, where it is currently displayed.
The theme of his visit is Christ Jesus- Our Hope. More than 75 percent of the nearly 3 million people in Lithuania are Catholics.
Former parishioner heads the Archdiocese of Vilnius
The Archbishop Metropolitan of Vilnius Gintaras Grušas was born on September 23, 1961 in Washington D.C. in the United States. He grew up in a Lithuanian family and became involved in cultural and Catholic activities. He was active at the Lithuanian parish of St. Casimir in Los Angeles, the Catholic organization Ateitininkai, was the head of the World Lithuanian Youth Association from 1983–1987, and also a member of the Lithuanian World Community.
Prior to entering the seminary, he finished studies in Mathematics and Information Technology at UCLA. He then worked at IBM. He began his studies in Theology at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He then continued his studies for two years in Rome at Beda College. In 1992, he was made a deacon and assigned as General Secretary of the committee to the apostolic journey of Pope John Paul the II. Upon returning to Rome, he continued his studies while living at the Pontifical St. Casimir’s Lithuanian College, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at the Pontifical St. Thomas Aquinas University.
On June 25th, 1994 he was ordained a priest at the Archcathedral in Vilnius by Archbishop Audrys Juozas Bačkis. In the same year, he was chosen as the General Secretary for the Lithuanian Bishop’s Conference. In 1997, he returned to the Pontifical St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome, where he received a PhD in Canon law in 2001. From 2001–2003, he was the Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary, where he taught Canon Law. Since 2002, he has been the General Secretary of Lithuania’s Bishop’s Conference.
In the decade before becoming bishop, he was a member and consultor of the Vilnius Archdiocese Priests’ Council. He headed the commission which was preparing to revise the codes of Lithuanian Canon law. Since 2006, he has been the Spiritual Leader of the Ateitininkų Federation. He is also a Board Member of the Pontifical St. Casimir Lithuanian College, Committee Head for Katalikų Pasaulio Leidiniai, and Vice President of the organization Lietuvių Katalikų Šalpa. He received the title of Chaplain and Monsignor from the Holy Father in 2003.
On July 2, 2010, Holy Father Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Gintaras Grušas as an Ordinary of the Army. The candidate for Bishop was consecrated on September 4th, 2010.
On April 5th, 2013 Pope Francis appointed Gintaras Grušas as the Archbishop Metropolitan of Vilnius. The ordination took place on April 23rd at the Archcathedral Basilica in Vilnius on the feast of St. George, the patron of the Archdiocese. Since 2014 – member of Congregation for Clergy, since 2016 – member of the Secretariat for Communications (Dicastery of the Roman Curia).
President of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference (LBC), as well as the head of the Permanent Council of the LBC. Member of the LBC Commission for Education and LBC Commission for Social Communication.
Archbishop Gintaras Grušas speaks Lithuanian, English, Italian and French.
(from the Archdiocese of Vilnius web page)