The Plenary Assembly of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference in Vilnius on 14-16 March focused largely on the preparations for Pope Francis’ trip to Lithuania on 22-23 September 2018. This is according to a statement published on the Bishops’ website today. Among the issues to be agreed upon, some practical aspects of the visit, which were discussed together with nuncio Pedro Lopez Quintana, the preparation of a letter of thanks to Pope Francis entrusted to Mgr. Quintana, the drafting of a “message to the faithful and to all people of good will in preparation for the apostolic journey to Lithuania”. The head of the Preparatory Committee, Dominican Br. Saulius Rumšą, presented the “guidelines” and the list of “coordinators for the visits to the Lithuanian Dioceses”, with a view to preparing the faithful to meet the Pope. It was decided that the proceeds of the collection on Sunday, 3 June, will contribute to the costs of the visit. The Bishops also called for a “Day of solidarity with persecuted Christians in Syria, Iraq and around the world” on 26 March. The bells of Vilnius Cathedral’s bell tower, of the Monument of the Three Crosses, and of the Basilica of Christ’s Resurrection in Kaunas will ring at 8pm. And Masses will be celebrated at that very time in Vilnius and Kaunas. “All believers are invited to attend and pray for our brothers and sisters who, in the twenty-first century, bear witness with their blood to their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”, the Bishops encouraged.