History: Remembering the Victims of Soviet Deportation
As for some enchanted misunderstandings between the churchgoers and non-goers, the following occurrence clearly shows that it belongs in the past. In 1995, Lithuanian National Cemetery accepted a wayside cross, eighteen feet in height, the design in a splendid ethnic motif, construction, and gift of Julius and Prane Pakalka. Cast in steel weighing two tons, its ornamentation was hand-crafted in bronze. The inscription reads: “Remembering deportees to Siberia. More than 300,000 Lithuanians deported between 1941-1953. Our suffering for God and Lithuania. Julius and Prane Pakalka, 1994.”
Pakalka toiled two-and-one-half years to complete the memorial. Bishop Paulius Baltakis, O.F.M., solemnly blessed the huge shrine on June 12, 1995. The presence of a ranking clergyman that was unthinkable in 1912 was now inoffensive and quite acceptable. Nor was burial of Catholics in exclusively church cemeteries any longer the norm.