“Although I am coming as the shepherd of the Catholic Church, I would like to embrace everyone and share with everyone the message of peace, good will and confidence in the future,” the pope said in a pre-visit video message to the residents of the Baltic states.
“My visit coincides with your states’ independence centenary and, of course, it will be used to honor everyone whose sacrifices in the past have brought today’s freedom,” the pope said. “As we know, freedom is a valuable that needs constant protection and handover to new generations as valuable heritage.”
Pope Francis is coming to Vilnius on Saturday and will meet with the country’s leaders and representatives of the public during his two-day visit, honor the memory of Soviet and Nazi victims and hold a service in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city.
Later on, the Holy Father will travel to Latvia and Estonia.
In his message, the pope also wished that his visit encouraged “all those people of good will, inspired by the noblest spiritual and cultural values of the past, who peacefully work to alleviate the sufferings of needy brothers and sisters and promote unity and harmony within the whole society.”