Monsignor Edmundas Putrimas (1959 – 2022)
The Lithuanian community throughout the world is saddened by the death of Monsignor Edmundas Putrimas’ death. He was well-known and loved by Lithuanians in Canada, in Lithuania, and in many Lithuanian communities abroad, which he visited as the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference Delegate for the pastoral care of Lithuanians in the diaspora.
The visitation will take place at the Church of the Resurrection in Toronto on Saturday, December 3 from 8 am to 11 am, with Mass at 11 am. Online streaming of the Mass will be available at https://youtu.be/1WyhZvfb8lU.
Edmundas Putrimas was born in Toronto, Canada, on September 3, 1959. The son of Sofija (Laurinavičiūtė) and Mindaugas Putrimas, he graduated from Royal York Collegiate Institute in 1979, having also completed Toronto Maironis Lithuanian School and its advanced courses. After a year studying business administration at Humber College in Toronto, he went to the Pontifical College of St. Casimir in Rome, Italy, and studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in 1981. In 1986 he completed his studies in Pastoral Theology and in 1988 graduated with a Licenciate in Canon Law.
On September 3, 1984, Bishop Antanas Deksnys ordained E. Putrimas a deacon at the Lithuanian Martyrs’ Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Until December of that year, the new deacon worked as administrator and secretary to Bishop Paulius Baltakis, OFM. As well, he was charged with the pastoral care of youth in Canada and USA, with duties as speaker and chaplain at youth camps and in Catholic organizations, and leader of spiritual activities. On June 2, 1985, he was ordained a priest by Pope John Paul II in Rome.
In 1986 Rev. Putrimas was in Germany for the pastoral care of Lithuanian Catholics, conducting retreats in Lithuanian communities, and teaching religion at the Vasario 16 High School in Huttenfeld. He taught there again from 1988 to 1991 and from 1992 to 1994.
In 1984 he served on the organizing committee for the commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Death of St. Casimir, and in 1987 was on the committee chaired by Bishop Paulius Baltakis, OFM, for the commemoration of the 600th Anniversary of the Christianization of Lithuania. In 1991–1992 he was in charge of Lithuanian Catholic pastoral care in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, and in 1994 was appointed vicar at the Lithuanian Parish of the Resurrection in Toronto. That year he established the Centre for Spiritual Youth Care in Klaipėda.
Appointed Chaplain of Toronto Pearson Airport in 1997, he worked there until 2012, during which time (beginning in 2007) he was also a member of the interfaith ministry. From 2010 to 2012 he was Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto. In 2003 he became a member of the European Bishops’ Conference Commission for Pastoral and Social Work with Migrants, and from 2015 he was a member of the St. Martha’s International Group against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. He was involved in creating the documentary film “Mulai” directed by M. Starkus about Lithuanian prisoners in Lima, Peru.
Since 1982 he was chaplain, volunteer and program coordinator at the Toronto Resurrection Parish youth camp “Kretinga”in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. Rev. Putrimas was chaplain at “Ateitis” camps at “Dainava” in Michigan, and was active in World Lithuanian Youth Congresses, the World Lithuanian Community, Lithuanian-Canadian Community, and World Lithuanian Youth Association. He was in charge of Lithuanian youth participation in World Youth Days, as well as a member and chair of the Lithuanian Catholic Religious Aid Council.
On August 18, 2003, Rev. Putrimas was appointed as the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference Delegate for Pastoral Care in the Diaspora, dedicating his time to visiting Lithuanian parishes, missions and communities abroad, coordinating youth activities and supporting Lithuanian prisoners throughout the world.
In 2003 Monsignor Edmundas Putrimas was awarded the Military Cross of the Order of Grand Duke Gediminas by the president of Lithuania; in 2009 the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s Millenium Star; in 2019 the Foreign Ministry’s Gold Vytis for service to Lithuania.
Monsignor Edmundas Putrimas had said about himself that he lived with a Bible in one hand and a model airplane in the other – as he travelled at least four months of each year visiting Lithuanian communities throughout the world. He lived his vocation to the fullest, caring for every Lithuanian community and for every person he encountered.