Pope Francis stood in silence and laid flowers at the ghetto and lit a golden lamp at the museum that commemorates the people tortured and executed by the KGB. He noted the “thirst for absolute power on the part of those who sought complete domination”, praying that “we may not be deaf to the plea of all those who cry out to heaven in our own day.”
Pope Francis met priests, consecrated men and women and seminarians in Kaunas Cathedral. He spoke about "groaning” for the thirst of God and listening to the groaning of people. Being sad in one’s vocation is a "disease", which turns the consecrated into hardened and fruitless bachelors and spinsters. The consecrated must be fathers and mothers of mercy. "If you do so, when you will be old, you will have a beautiful smile and bright eyes”.
During the Angelus in Kaunas, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pay attention to "the outcast and [. . .] minorities. In this way, we can keep far from our lives and our cultures the possibility of destroying one another, of marginalizing, of continuing to discard whatever we find troublesome or uncomfortable." He has a special thought for the Jewish community, and will visit the site of the Vilnius ghetto, which was destroyed 75 years ago.
Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass in the Baltic States, in Santakos Park in Kaunas, together with hundreds of thousands, remembering the "experiences of the cross" and persecution. “How many of you have also felt your faith shaken because God did not appear to take your side?” Ultimately, “the thirst for power and glory [. . .] is a fruitless and vain attitude.” We should think about ethnic minorities, the jobless who have to emigrate, the elderly, the lonely, or those young people who “lost their roots”.