We would like to share with you the beautiful experience of fund-raising for the Malybay School we had last week end. This is an initiative organized by the group who will go to the Philippines in February. We cooked cakes and asked friends to do the same and we organized a sale after mass on Sunday. It is really a very simple idea, but here in Lithuania it is not so usual to do such things, so people were very interested in it.
The operation was run in two different churches : our parish of the Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis and the university parish of St John. What was wonderful was to see the good will of so many people. The priests in both parishes fully supported the action and talked about it during every mass the Sunday before and on D-Day. Our parish priest and the priest from a neighboring parish even gave us some money. So many friends and other not so well known people - old ladies, parishioners, children, friends’ friends, scouts from the university parish etc... offered a hand, either cooking cakes or helping to sell them or just donating. The action was well known in Vilnius and even outside, because we sent information to all the people and groups from our internet address book ! We even had answers from sisters and friends from other countries asking for translation and sympathizing because they could guess that we were trying to help the Philippines after the typhoon !
Lithuania is a small country and for many years during the soviet times, it was closed to the outside world. Both factors gave people a rather narrow mentality and little knowledge and interest in what is happening in the wider world. So we tried to give people information about the situation in the Philippines. Next to the tables where we sold cakes we put up stands with a map of the world and pictures showing the effects of the typhoon in Manila. We also told people that a group of us - 2 sisters and 11 young people are going there in February to take part in the Taize meeting and to bring Lithuanian contribution to the people in need there. The university parish is down town in a very touristy place and the action was led in the street. Students offered people a piece of cake and a glass of tea before asking for a donation. Quite a few foreign tourists stopped by and so afterwards we found a number of foreign coins in the collection !
The result was amazing for us : nearly 10000 lt in all, about 2500 € or 4000 USD. And this is not the end : in December there will be two other events. One will be an Advent prayer evening with music and slides followed by a collection at the church of the Jesuits and then there will be another cake selling action at the doors of Vilnius cathedral !
We are so happy to think that the Philippines have become a reality for Lithuanian people and that, in spite of the hardships they all endure in this time of crisis our people could show so much generosity for their brothers and sisters from far away. We are also happy that we could thus embody an important aspect of the charisma of the Assumption and share it with others.
Your sisters and friends from Lithuania