In the past weeks, among the news of many hardships in the world today, Lithuanians in Canada and abroad were given the additional challenge of mourning the passing of Monsignor Edmundas Putrimas.
Everyone who knew him could easily say he was a friend. Many special thoughts were expressed about him at his funeral Mass on December 3, 2022.
The scope of his pastoral and community work was impressive, and each of the many speakers at the Mass shone light upon multiple facets of his life, his work and his humanity. Archbishop Metropolitan of Vilnius, Gintaras Grušas, presiding over the Mass last Saturday, aptly noted that it was the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries: a fitting day to celebrate the life of Monsignor Putrimas, a true modern-day missionary.
Known to many as Father Ed, his work was reflected in the eulogies given at the Mass. His service as chaplain at Toronto Pearson Airport, and Lithuanian Bishops‘ Conference Delegate for the Pastoral Care of Lithuanian Catholics in the diaspora, his vigilance over Lithuanian prisoners abroad, his constant efforts in the battle against human trafficking, his tireless dedication to Lithuanian youth everywhere, and his attentive participation in the Lithuanian Community at many levels – was all carried out in an infinite spirit of sincerity and compassion. The depth and breadth of his commitment to serving others may have escaped notice because of his calm and modest nature.
The heartache of not seeing him appear at various meetings and events in the local community will be difficult to overcome for the Lithuanian Community as a whole, for anyone who knew him or worked with him. In some way, the memory of his selflessness may console and inspire us.
A priority for him in Canada was always “Kretinga“ Youth Camp, where he was a key figure. A beautiful tribute to Father Ed and his work and presence there was created by Andy Kaknevičius. Please visit https://youtu.be/zXLw_aVMThI. A video of his funeral Mass is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WyhZvfb8lU.