“The Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are all celebrating the 100th anniversary of their declarations of independence. This celebration is also a time of reflection on the gift of freedom, as well as the cost of freedom. This gift requires us to work for the common good and for peace”. Mgr. Gintaras Grusas, archbishop of Vilnius and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Lithuania, reflected on the importance of these national anniversaries in the run-up to Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Baltic States. “September – he wrote in an editorial at www.europe-infos.eu, also published by SIR news agency – also marks the 25th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Baltic States, an important visit that gave courage to these three countries at the outset of their new journey as independent republics. The Pope talked of the challenges that lie ahead with respect to reconciliation and rebuilding a society that had suffered greatly. Even the long-standing tradition of harmony in religious and ethnic diversity was undermined by third parties who provoked conflicts for their own political gain”. “As Divine Providence would have it, this September Pope Francis will visit us. This visit will serve to reinforce the unfading support of the Holy See for the self-determination of these small countries and once again to bring hope to people facing the challenges of freedom today”.