By Robin Gomes
Lithuanians are eagerly awaiting the visit of Pope Francis to their country in a little over a week’s time. The Pope will dedicate two days to Lithuania, and follow it up with a day each in Latvia and Estonia.
Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, spoke to Vatican News explaining the mood in his country ahead of the papal visit.
The archbishop who is president of the Lithuanian bishops conference said there is “great anticipation” among the people of Lithuania for the Holy Father’s visit, for which the last-minute touches are being given to the preparations, such as setting up stages for the papal events and registrations of participants.
The upcoming visit, Archbishop Grusas said is coming close on the heels of the celebration of 25 years since the visit of St. Pope John Paul II, in September 1993, which Lithuanians regard as a “great gift” of the late Pope.
This time, the people are waiting to hear from Pope Francis his encouragement and the Gospel message that he proclaims wherever he goes.
In Lithuania, Pope Francis will visit Vilnius and Kaunas, September 22-23. The theme of the Lithuanian trip is “Christ Jesus Our Hope.”
The Holy Father will dedicate a day each to Latvia and Estonia, September 24 and 25 respectively, before flying back to Rome.