When the quarantine started in March, various upcoming Christian events in Lithuania started to be cancelled one after the other. This was especially hard for the Lithuanian youth that was eager to go on summer camps, take part in a mass Christian youth gathering in July, deepen their faith in retreats and so on. Sometime in April MAGIS Hungary had to be cancelled as well. So a team of younger Lithuanian Jesuits and non-Jesuits got on Zoom, went through a process of discernment and decided to host a Lithuanian Magis event.  The Lithuanian Magis is planned to take place between the 26th and 31st of July with four experiments being organised in different places in Lithuania as well as one in Latvia. Each experiment is accompanied at least by one Jesuit and involves a daily morning impulse, time of activity, the Eucharist and a discerning reflection at the end of the day. This year we have a team of coordinators for theatre, service, ecology and pilgrimage experiments in Lithuania. There is also another pilgrimage being planned in Latvia (in English). As faith in Latvia is much less well-established than in Lithuania, hosting this particular experiment is very important for us. With so much uncertainty around the organisation of this event, we ask you for your supporting prayers
The Jesuit schools in Vilnius and Kaunas have held their graduation ceremonies online, for the first time ever.  Both schools were the first in the country to set up an online learning system, even as public schools had 2 week obligatory holidays meant to help them prepare.  Various creative initiatives have been put forward during the quarantine: including a talent show with pupils streaming videos of themselves performing and others voting for best performances, a mass quiz in teams for a whole school community, virtual, self-organized Stations of the Cross, a streamed QnA session between pupils and teachers on existential questions, and individualised streaming of masses to separate school classes.  Two of the seniors from the two schools have been offered this year’s only two places for Lithuania in the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service), which covers all study expenses for Bachelor’s degree in any German university. This is a testimony both to Jesuit schools standing in the country as well as to the importance of German-Lithuanian relationship in general.
Ever since the start of the quarantine in mid-March there has been a continuous streaming of Holy Masses over internet channels. One original way it was done from Chicago, Illinois (where our province is active in providing pastoral care for Lithuanian-Americans) was by using Microsoft Teams to switch to different people from wherever they were: so the Eucharist would be celebrated in Chicago, the first reading read from Vilnius, the psalm sung from still somewhere else and so on. This way, a community of faith, separated by long distances was able to find together at the Mass not only passively like spectators but also by actively contributing to it.  Since mid-May all our churches accepted people to „normal“ services in accordance to physical distancing rules of the government. These masses are still being streamed for those not able or not willing to show up in person.  Multiple prayer, catechesis and sacrament preparation groups meet via messenger, hangout, zoom, meet and other platforms.
Members of the Province of Lithuania and Latvia met for two days on February 23-25 at the school‘s outdoor facility near Vilnius, the first such meeting in more than a year, with 26 persons attending, and dedicated to the formation of the new ECE Province. Provincial Vidmantas Šimkūnas spoke of the impression others have of ministry in Latvia, the experience of Soviet occupation and missions in Siberia, the energy of building up the Province and new ministries from 1989, the spread of CLC groups in both countries and Mag+s projects. Others notice how a small province is sometimes seen as reticent, in need of self-confidence. Vidmantas Šimkūnas SJ, Provincial LIT Community reports emphasized school expansion, four scholastics in regency this year, the slow beginnings of parish ministry in Riga, the friendly and grateful conclusion of the 450th year of Jesuit mission in Lithuania with exhibits, publications and social events. A Chicago film about Jesuits in Lithuania from 1979 gave a view of the heritage. Treasurer Artūras Sederevičius confirmed that personal budgets have been introduced and finances streamlined. Our churches are all city churches, different from village ministry. Vytautas Sadauskas presented internet conveniences for communication and programs, Mag+s heads Eugenijus Markovas and Eugenijus Puzynia described activities, plans and cooperation with others, including retreat giving. Gintaras Vitkus presented Minor protection protocols, and each member signed personal commitment documents.. The three most involved in ECE foundation, provincial, treasurer and Aldonas Gudaitis, described the processes of developing the terna, delegates, finance and administration plans. To enhance participation in the new province, a diocesan priest specialist spoke about communication in Church and community. Mass was held in Latvian and in Lithuanian, a province retreat is planned in the fall.
Lithuania Father General Arturo Sosa‘s 45-hour visit on the 450th year of the Jesuit mission in Lithuania on May 6 and 7, served to encourage and inspire Jesuits, their coworkers and Ignatian groupings. Assisted by Fr. Tomasz Kot and Fr. Marc Ravizza, Fr. General spent one day in Vilnius, celebrating Mass at St. Casimir‘s church, and in Kaunas, with Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier‘s on Mothers Day, both Masses enriched by the local Jesuit school choir and a daffodil for each mother present. People appreciated clear homilies with four (not the traditional three...) points and the guests‘ friendly approach and disposition. In both Jesuit Schools teachers, parents, staff, CLC groups, religious Sisters, ministries gathered to hear responses to questions they posed in advance, as well as spontaneous additions. Two Jesuits came from Riga, Latvia, more than 20 persons came from St. Ignatius church and the Jesuit Primary School in Šiauliai. The guests also visited the four Senior Jesuits and spent time with both Jesuit communities, sharing stories, impressions, questions, hopes and plans. There was little time for sight-seeing except for the schools and the immediate surroundings of the Jesuit houses, and a moment in the bell-tower of Sts. John Church of Vilnius University, celebrating 440 years since its founding by Jesuits, who serve in this church now as well. Antanas Saulaitis SJ   Father General in Poland  From May 6-18, Fr. Arturo Sosa, General of the Order, was a guest in the Polish Provinces. During his visit he visited Krakow, Gliwice, Nowy Sącz, Tricity, Warsaw, Łódź and Lublin. He also had several meetings with Jesuits working in Poland, Ukrane, Denmark and Russia. During his visit, the general also met with lay people working with the Jesuits. He visited the Ignatianum Academy in Krakow, where he said that the Jesuit university is a place of reconciled life, and its graduates should be recognized more by their human qualities and pro-social sensitivity than by the way they cope with the labour market or the wealth of their wallets. During his meeting at the WAM Publishing House with the employees of the Jesuit media, he said that the media should never remain silent, but should tell the truth in such a way as to make it liberating and not stigmatizing. The general also answered the question of how to reach those who have moved away from the Church, the role of women in the Church and the Jesuit understanding of the "borders" to which the Jesuits are sent. During the meetings with the students at the school in Krakow, Nowy Sącz and Gdynia, he answered questions: Why do the Jesuits have a general, what is the best in this work and to whom is the Jesuit general cheering?  The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, for his part, encouraged the students not only to increase their knowledge, but above all to develop their ability to think and act in a civic way in terms of the common good and to build good relationships with other people based on the Christian faith and its values. During the Mass in the Gdansk academic pastoral ministry, he encouraged students to go beyond the safe framework of the "fold that provides comfort and security" to go to the life-giving pastures of freedom that enables us to love. He said: "Let us follow Him from the safe-haven of our lives and let others join us, even if they think or live differently than we do. During the meeting with the Jesuits and lay people involved in the work in the retreat centres, he spoke: The retreat centres are not "factories of true Christians" where the Ignatian method is a kind of technology for the transformation of human hearts. The Spiritual Exercises are effective in so far as the spiritual guides have allowed themselves to be transformed by them and they live this experience daily. The Jesuit general in Warsaw encouraged lay people to cooperate in the work of reconciliation with God, humanity and creation during a meeting with representatives of communities and movements working at Jesuit-led centers. During the indulgenced feast (May 16) at the Sanctuary of St. Andrew Bobola in Warsaw, Father Arturo Sosa said that the blood of the martyrs is a foreshadowing of the Spring of the Church. The preacher recalled the martyrdom of many Jesuits over the centuries who preached the Gospel in various parts of the world. There was no shortage of Poles among them. Even if today we are not always threatened with death for belonging to Christ, His love requires us to respond to contemporary challenges, such as migrations, wars or natural disasters. By helping their victims, we will probably not remedy all the misfortunes of the world, but even a drop makes the sea bigger - said Fr. General.   Reverie and silence... - General's visit in Auschwitz-Birkenau 9 May, this day of the General's visit to Poland, was a day of silence and deep reflection on the most painful aspects of history, which was the extermination of many people during the Second World War. Father Mark Ravizza SJ, who was accompanying the General Father, and who presided over the Eucharist celebrated in the Carmelite Sisters' monastery in Oświęcim, invited to remain silent. This Mass was the culmination of the visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, which, as a museum of extermination, is at the same time a timely warning against all that hatred, hostility, racism, and contempt for others can lead to.   Jesuits of Russia, Belarus, Kygrzyzstan celebrate the solemn vows and meet Fr General. On Saturday, May 18, after the Mass during which three fellow brethren Stephan Lipke, Tadeusz Drozdowicz, Piotr Kropisz took the solemn vows, the Jesuits of the Independent Russian Region met with Fr Arturo Sosa in Warsaw-Falenica on the last day of his visit to the provinces of Poland and Lithuania. This was an opportunity to tell about the ministry in those places where the Jesuits are currently present in the territory of Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, as well as to have a “question and answer” session with the Father General. For the confreres of the Region, often separated by vast distances, such events are a rare occasion to meet and socialize with each other in person. Some assistants of the Fr General from the Roman Curia, as well as Jesuits from Poland, collaborating with the apostolates of the Region also joined the meeting. The expression “ad dispersionem” was pronounced several times, reflecting the reality of Jesuit missionaries, who nevertheless seek to maintain unity of spirit thanks to a common vocation and charisma. Father General reminded his fellow brothers that for Ignatius, the Society of Jesus, despite its impressive growth in the first decades of its existence, always remains the “mínima Compañía”, not because of the number of members, but because the mission of the Society is always integrated into the universal mission of the Church, from which stems the need to cooperate with everyone who seeks to bring closer and embody the reality of the kingdom of God. Victor Zhuk SJ  
From the 23rd to 31st of July 2019 the Lithuanian Province of the Society of Jesus in collaboration with other Jesuit Provinces is organizing a summer Magis Europe 2019 event for young people. It’s a program for 18-35 year old youth, who are interested in Ignatian spirituality, intended for young people from Europe but everyone from all over the world will be very welcome. The meeting is divided in two parts: Ignatian experiments and the Closing event. The Ignatian experiments are the most important part of the Magis experience. Magis Europe 2019 experiments will take place in Lithuania and Latvia from the 23rd to 29th of July. The activities are designed to show young people the meaning of teamwork, to give them a sense of international community and to place them into unusual situations which contribute to their human and spiritual growth. Magis Europe 2019 event will offer a number of different experiments to choose from, grouped in several categories: Pilgrimage, Spirituality, Service, Ecology, Arts and Culture. The Closing event will take place in Kaunas, Lithuania from the 29th to 31st of July. All the participants of Magis Europe 2019 will gather in one place to share their experiences from the experiments, to participate in Magis workshops, to experience the Evening of Reconciliation and to celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola together. Magis Europe 2019 program will be linked to the world MAGIS 2019 event in Central America and World Youth Days in Panama. 2019 marks the 450th anniversary of the Jesuit Mission in Lithuania. The jubilee will be celebrated throughout the year and European Magis 2019 program will become one of the key events of the celebration. The main theme for the Magis Europe 2019 event will be the same as of the jubilee year - “To know, love and share”. Participation fee: 120,- EUR.The price includes the entire stay (including accommodation, food, event merchandise and transportation from the experiment to the Closing event in Kaunas). The price doesn’t include the transportation from your country and back – it must be arranged personally. Registration:www.magis2019.eu/registration Contacts:info@magis2019.euww.magis2019.euwww.facebook.com/MagisEU