Virginijus Sinkevičius | The Lithuania Tribune
On 25-28 July, 2013 one of the oldest Lithuanian diaspora organisations – the Knights of Lithuania – celebrated its 100-years anniversary in Boston.
The celebratory event began with a holy mass led by priests from the US and Rome. On behalf of the Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, Žygimantas Pavilionis, guests were welcomed by temporary heads of Lithuanian representative in the US – Simonas Šatūnas and Lithuanian General Consul in New York Valdemaras Sarapinas.
Simonas Šatūnas relayed to the audience the words of Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis: “You have to feel extremely happy knowing that throughout this century, Lithuanian language, tradition and culture not only lives in your organisation, but has even spread widely beyond its boundaries, i.e. throughout the United States and is now a part of the country’s cultural heritage.
“Roman Catholic principles, which are the motto of your organisation, helped your members to become stronger spiritually, and served our country to build the foundation that helped to survive our struggle for existence,” said Šatūnas.
In his own welcoming speech, Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Lithuania, Šatūnas noted that the activity of the members of the organisation not only supports a variety of projects, provide scholarships and promotes Lithuania in the US, but also inspires future generations.
“Today, to this extraordinary celebration I came with my kids, who must meet people and the organisation that even during the toughest times strived to preserve and promote our language and culture of Lithuania so far from domestic soil.
“This is the greatest example for all Lithuanians around the world. I hope that we will continue to glorify our country name, language and culture, not only this year, while Lithuania chairs the European Union, but also in the future,” he continued.
Valdemaras Sarapinas, Lithuanian General Consul in New York, noted that since its creation in 1913, the Knights of Lithuania have actively pursued its mission to promote Lithuanian culture, heritage, traditions and language. They actively fought to maintain the identity of Lithuania and the Lithuanian spirit. Helping Lithuanians to not lose hope during the worst periods for their motherland and spreading Catholic values.
“I think you all will agree with me that this wonderful jubilee is the best time to stop and look at what has been done during a hundred years of existence. This is also a great opportunity to set new goals for the next century. I hope you continue to faithfully serve God and our motherland,” said Sarapinas.
The Knights of Lithuania also received anniversary congratulation letters from Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Washington Mayor Vincent Gray.
The Knights of Lithuania is an organisation of Roman Catholic men and women of Lithuanian ancestry and their spouses located in the US. Adhering to the motto, “For God and Country”,’ the Knights of Lithuania aim to keep alive among its members an appreciation of the Lithuanian language and culture while also stressing the importance of Roman Catholic values.
Founded on April 27, 1913, the Knights of Lithuania began as a youth organisation. Its purpose was to unite the Lithuanian youth living in the US, and through them, preserve Lithuanian culture and help to restore freedom to Lithuania, at that time divided between Russia and Germany. It has since become a family organisation. St. Casimir, patron saint of Lithuania’s youth, is honoured as the organisation’s patron.
With Lithuania’s regained freedom, the Knights of Lithuania have worked to continually expand on current goals and work towards the new ones.
Currently, the ancillary organisations are aiding the Lithuanian Pontifical College in Rome through the St. Casimir Guild, Inc.; supplying Roman Catholic reading materials and additional needed aid through the Knights of Lithuanian Foundation, Inc. and promoting a deeper understanding, reverence and knowledge of the Blessed Mother’s appearance in Šiluva, Lithuania in 1608.
The organisation also works to assist the needs of Lithuanian causes through our Lithuanian Affairs Committee which works to disseminate information on current issues both here and abroad.