The Living Stones Community from Kaunas, Lithuania, is an association of lay Catholics committed to serve the Renewal of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and its mission –the New Evangelization. The Living Stones started in 1986 as a group of volunteers and in 1993 became a Community. It is located in Kaunas, and its mission is carried out all over Lithuania and extends to Europe.
We now have about 30 committed members and many mission collaborators. Our members are youth, adults, families, children, singles, all coming together to serve the Lord. We meet on Wednesday evenings for prayer, praise, sharing and teaching. On Sundays, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist and lead worship at St. Anthony’s parish. Additionally, we hold Community retreats, children’s camps, boys’ and girls’ weekends, Christmas and Pentecost Feasts that foster our brotherly relationships.
The calling of the Living Stones is evident in the name which is based on the Scripture: Lk 19:37-40; 1 Pt 2:4-5. Our purposes are: 1) by continuous conversion to Christ – the Living Stone – and by docility to the Holy Spirit – the Life-giver, to respond to the Church’s urgent call for Renewal; 2) to awaken and strengthen the lay faithful, to help them become active in their communities; 3) to foster collaboration of Lithuanian lay Christian organizations and religious congregations, serving the unity of the Body of Christ; and 4) to share our Christian life and mission experience with other European Christian organizations, fostering relationship of collaboration for the building of the future of Europe.
We pursue these purposes through Days of Renewal, Open Praise meetings, seminars, retreats, pilgrimages, evangelization outreach to parishes and schools, street evangelization, the “God’s Army” youth ministry, collaboration in the events of other mission centres in Lithuania and participation in international events.
Days of Renewal have been organized since 1995. They are held three times a year. They are attended by 1000 people from various cities, parishes, Catholic organizations and religious communities. Experienced speakers from Lithuania, Europe and the USA are invited to teach. The Archbishop of Kaunas is the constant spiritual supporter of the Days and usually celebrates the Eucharist there. The Days of Renewal make a strong impact for Church renewal and serve as a sign of vibrant faith and unity. Unchurched people, who usually have their own preconceptions about the Church, become impressed by its vitality. One workshop is always devoted to evangelization and testimonies. It is the only series of such conferences in Lithuania that has proved to be very fruitful in serving the spiritual needs of the faithful for evangelization and ongoing Christian formation in Kaunas and all over Lithuania.
We hold Seminars, Parish Missions and Evangelization Outreach wherever we are invited. Our seminars are usually attended by 20-100 people. Parish missions give pastoral help through renewal meetings, prayer services, thematic and faith-sharing meetings and pilgrimages. Evangelization outreach to schools, camps and other educational institutions helps people hear the Good News and renew their relationship with God. Due to the 50-years Soviet regime, there is a gap in the basic knowledge of Catholic faith and in the experience of a lively community. Our programs help to awaken or strengthen the lay faithful, to understand their calling of to the New Evangelization, and their responsibility for the spiritual and social needs of the Church and society.
The God’s Army Youth evangelization program is a faith formation program for the young people of our community with regular meetings, Advent and Lent retreats, summer camps. The youth become involved in our mission, which fosters the collaboration and unity between generations. This program is the initial stage of our developing School of Evangelization. Our young collaborators help hold the Days of Renewal, seminars, parish missions and evangelization outreach. They serve in the worship team, intercession prayer team, give testimonies, lead faith sharing groups and help prepare the missions. Thus, they acquire precious experience for their future service of the mission of the Church.