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Lithuania: 30,000 gathered in the square for Beatification of Bishop Matulionis. Mgr. Grusas, “example of love for the truth”

Thirty thousand people attended the ceremony yesterday in Vilnius during which Teofilius Matulionis was solemnly declared a martyr. The Lithuanian priest and bishop is the “first Lithuanian victim of the Soviet oppression to be beatified by the Catholic Church”, having spent 15 years in Soviet prisons. Teofilius Matulionis has been “a pastor according to the heart of Christ, a heroic witness to the Gospel, a courageous defender of the Church and human dignity”, Pope Francis wrote in a message read out by Card. Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who presided over Mass at the Cathedral’s Square concelebrated by 50 cardinals and bishops and 500 priests. President Dalia Grybauskaitė also attended the celebration alongside numerous civil authorities and pilgrims from the United States, Canada, Australia, Belarus, Russia, Latvia, and Poland. “There are still martyrs today”, Card. Amato said, referring to Christians being slaughtered in Egypt. “The Church, looking at the Risen Christ, has responded by expressing out loud her forgiveness and prayers for the conversion of the murderers. To show hatred would mean to betray the blood of the martyrs”. The Archbishop of Vilnius Gintaras Grušas then went on to address the young people who had flocked to the square after participating in their National Youth Day in the past few days, inviting them to look at Blessed Teofilius as “an example of love for the truth and of trust in the victory of good over evil”.

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