May 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 101

NEWS for Wednesday, May 31, 2000

    Pope John Paul II recalled yesterday the "authentic witness of the Gospel" given by Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius, Archbishop emeritus of Kaunas (Lithuania) , who died Sunday night at the age of 79. "He was a priest of great faith and fervent piety and, although prevented for many years from practicing his episcopal ministry and placed under confinement, he never allowed himself to be intimidated, always giving a shining example of indomitable faith in Divine Providence and faithful loyalty to the See of Peter", wrote the Holy Father, in a telegram sent to Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius, of Kaunas.

    "I give thanks to God for this heroic priest and bishop that He gave to His Church and raise fervent prayers that He may accept him into eternal joy," the Pope said, recalling the Lithuanian Cardinal born in August 1920 and named by Pope Pius XII Auxiliary Bishop of Kaisiadorys in 1957. He was not able to reach this see, as communist authorities deported him from the archdiocese. Pope John Paul II would name him Apostolic Administrator of Kaisiadorys, and created him Cardinal in 1988, before naming him Archbishop of Kaunas. The funeral ceremony will take place June 1.

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