100×100 JP2 celebrations were held in Kaunas Archcathedral and Šiluva Basilica, the eminent Marian shrine, both places visited by St. John Paul II during his visit in Lithuania in September 1993.
The relics of St. John Paul II have been venerated in Kaunas St. Peter and Paul Archcathedral since 2013. Commemorating the 600 anniversary of Kaunas Archcathedral Basilica and the 20th anniversary of the visit of St. John Paul II, the relics of the Great Pope were kindly offered by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. The side altar of the Archcathedral has been dedicated to St. John Paul II. The statue of Pope John Paul II also marks the place of Mass celebration in Kaunas Santaka Park in 1993. In 2013 the parish dedicated to Blessed John Paul II (actually St. John Paul II parish) was established in Kaunas.
On the occasion of 100×100 JP2 celebrations in Santaka Park the statue of St. John Paul II was decorated by Vatican and Lithuanian flags. In the same place, Santaka Park the public Mass was also celebrated by Pope Francis during his visit in 2018.
On Sunday, May 17, Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevičius, Archbishop emeritus of Kaunas, Bishop Algirdas Jurevičius, Apostolic administrator of Kaunas Archdiocese, accompanied by the representatives of St. John Paul II Parish and the John Paul II Catholic School laid flowers at the statue of St. John Paul II. The commemoration was followed by common recitation of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy in the nearby standing Holy Trinity Seminary Church. The participants were blessed with the relic of St.John Paul II. The territory of Archdiocesan Curia (close to Santaka Park) was provided with megaphone sound reproduction system, during several days continuously translating speeches and homilies of Pope John Paul II (being held in Lithaunian language). Many people have visited the territory and enjoyed the remarkable fatherly tone of voice of John Paul II.
On Monday, May 18 the commemoration Mass in honor of 100th birthday of St. John Paul II, presided by Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevičius, was celebrated in Kaunas Archcathedral. In his homily the Cardinal emphasized the signs of solidarity shown by the Holy Father towards the „silent Church“ in Eastern Europe during the Communist regime.
In Šiluva the commemoration Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his homily the rector of the Sanctuary Rev. Erastas Murauskas highlighted the initiatives of peace and dialogue between nations and religions, offered by Pope John Paul II. In the past centuries Šiluva, famous through the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin in 1608, was also marked by tensions and enmity between Christian confessions.
In Šiluva Marian Sanctuary the Square of St. John Paul II in front of the Basilica is also marked by the statue of the Pope. The spiritual retreat Centre in Šiluva is also named after St. John Paul II.
The celebrations of 100th birthday of St. John Paul II also took place in other Lithuanian dioceses and numerous parishes, obviously under general public quarantine restrictions.
Deacon Darius Chmieliauskas,
head of the Information office of Kaunas‘ Archdiocese