Focus 2003

Lituania - ILE01-11-2003

Project: Lietuviu Salezieciu Centras
Date of foundation: (1938) 1992
Place: Kaunas – Palemonas.
Province: Europa Est - EST

The Salesians of Don Bosco in Lithuania, a small Baltic nation, have been there for many years already, thanks to the clever and tenacious activity of the first Lithuanian Salesian, Fr. Antanas Skeltys, who formed around 60 confreres up to just beofre the Second World War and the Soviet occupation. As is well known, during the long period of Soviet occupation in Lithuania -around 50 years-, the Salesians, as with other priests and religious, were forced to substantially limit their activities, and often to live and work ‘underground’.

In 1991 Lituania regained its political independence and religious freedom and the Salesians re-established two works for a promising future: that at Kaunas-Palemonas and that at Vilnius; in both, they run a parish and oratory-youth centre. At Kaunas the parish is dedicated to Mary Queen of the Rosary: the parish Church was completed in 1996, in the suburb of Palemonas, the poorest suburb in the city.

Amongst the most typical problems of the people there are, alcoholism, unemployment, families split up, the lack of opportunities especially for young people. For this reason the Salesians have discovered a particularly encouraging field of pastoral work, especially for poor and needy youth, offering alternative to the street through the daily Oratory-youth centre with its typical activities of gathering and of human and Christian formation. At Kaunas the Salesian Sisters are also at work, operating two centres for children of needy families.

In Vilnius the Salesians have opened and run the parish of St. John Bosco in the crowded outer suburb of Lazdinai. The church is still under construction, but is already usable and regularly attended both by people who speak Polish and those who speak Lithuanian. There is also a daily Oratory-youth centre here, and a centre for children from needy families. At Vilnius the editing and distribution of the Lithuanian Salesian Bulletin is looked after, a magazine that has completed its 75th year of existence there and is much appreciated and useful for making the Salesian spirit known. It is also a means of keeping int ouch with many Lithuanians who live abroad.

Address: Lietuviu Salezieciu Centras
Mariu 20
3023 Kaunas –Palemonas
Tel: +370 37-37.36.02
Fax: +370 37-37.35.52
Web site: