The End of a Trying Year

As we count down the remaining days of 2020, we look back at an unprecedented year of change and tumult. The COVID-19 virus has turned life upside down, not only personally but in our families, our communities, our work and our pastimes as well.

For the first time in decades, Catholic churches, including our Lithuanian parishes, have been forced to limit services, congregants and events. The same is true for educational, sports, and cultural organizations where social contact and physical participation are so important. At first it seemed as if this was all temporary, that things would return to normal in a few months and we would move on as a community based on faith, culture, language and tradition. Unfortunately, as the pandemic progresses from bad to worse, our stress levels increase as the question of if, when and how we and our community will emerge from this period of  isolation.

It is heartening to see that after a few months of chaos, we have found new ways to communicate and commune by means of technology. Sunday Masses via YouTube, remote classes, meetings and conferences online have all helped us to keep in touch. Even live programming such as the Resurrection Parish Camp Kretinga Christmas concert, the parish Christmas music hour, and a Christmas greeting from the Vancouver children‘s club. The good will, creativity and resourcefulness of many dedicated community organizers have also allowed us to enjoy videos of Visitation Day at Anapilis, virtual and drive-through exhibitions by the Lithuanian Museum-Archives, with more events planned for the future to keep us close and involved.

It has also been an exceptional year for Tėviškės žiburiai – The Lights of Homeland. The quarantine became an immediate obstacle in our efforts to reach our readers in March, and then in June we published our last print issue. Going online and reestablishing ourselves as a primary source of news for Lithuanian Canadians has been a sea change, and we have had mixed success in reaching readers, advertisers and organizations during this period of general inactivity. Although we regret that the new format is not popular with the older generation, which has been consistently generous in supporting our endeavours, we have launched an English-language section, as well as a Facebook page and an e-newsletter to pave the way for the future and reach younger Lithuanians. We are open to new topics, new readers and new contributors as well as suggestions, requests and ideas for improvement!

We thank all our former subscribers who donated their subscription fees to our website, and to those who were the first to understand that our new format also requires financial support. We are most grateful to our advertisers, coming to our assistance with their ads, and to our long-time supporter, the Lithuanian Canadian Foundation.

Our mission as is to continue to provide a platform for news and information for, from and about Lithuanian Canadians, as well as Lithuanians throughout the world, so that the bond that we share through our culture may thrive and flourish.

Our wish for all our readers and friends is that 2021 may bring us renewed hope and the best of health.

“Tėviškės žiburiai” website editors

Sigina Katkauskaitė
Ramūnė Jonaitis
Akvilė Minkevičienė