COUNCIL 141 HISTORY BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT

Posted December 8, 2017 by George in SaintGeorgeParish

Council 141 was formally organized in 1974 under the leadership of Teresa and Alphonse Trainis.
Honorary Member Clemincine Miller was also a founding member. Membership now numbers 60, and most live primarily in the Bridgeport area. A Lithuanian mass at St. George Church, Bridgeport, CT is only held the third Sunday of the month and is followed by a luncheon and council meeting .Presidents have been:
Teresa Trainis 1974-1976; George Radzwillas 1976-1977; Alphonse Trainis 1977-1984; Nancy
Pawasauskas Paddock 1984-1987; Clemincine Miller 1987-2003; and Barbara Wilcinskas Schmidt 2003 – present. Monsignor Francis Pranckus was the beloved Spiritual Advisor from 1974 until his death in 2000 and was followed by Argentinean born Rev. Julio Lopresti, IVE from 2002-2012. At present, Rev. Elio Sosa, IVE, appointed in 2013 and also from Argentina , is our Advisor.

Council 141 has always been extremely involved in political affairs, especially during the Soviet
Era. Members took part in demonstrations during the 1980’s and early 1990’s against the practices and
policies of the Soviet Union in Washington DC, New York City and New Haven. Newspaper articles and
letters were written, telegrams to government officials were sent, and recognition on radio and TV
broadcasts was evident through the perseverance of members. In the 1990’s Lithuanian students were
enrolling in the University of Bridgeport, and C-141 welcomed them and other immigrants to participant in Lithuanian religious and council activities, thereby making them more comfortable in their new environment.

Yearly observances of Lithuanian traditions and holidays are well attended. The Kucios celebration
is the most popular, since it invokes a family feeling and a sense of ethnicity. The February 16th
observance is always a yearly highlight event with interesting speakers, concerts, dance ensembles,
notably VETRA from New Haven, and Lithuanian flag raising at the Bridgeport City Hall. St. Casimir Feast Day in March follows with a delicious brunch or luncheon complete with ethnic food specialties. This was often accompanied by a craft fair or exhibit. As a result of American emphasis on heritage pride in the 1970’s, a Lithuanian music and cultural program was sponsored at Sacred Heart University.

Other noteworthy activities have been the Franciscan Monastery Retreat in June at Kennebunkport, ME and the annual summer council picnic.

Council 141 has been generous in charitable pursuits and has always supported the numerous K
of L charities and funds. In addition, women members have sewn nightgowns for Lithuanian orphans, and books, school supplies and clothing have been sent to Lithuania. A special cause has been the support of the missions in Lithuania, which are operated by the Institute of the Incarnate Word priests and the Servants of the Lord of the Virgin of Matara sisters. These orders presently serve St. George Church and have been most interested, supportive and helpful with the Bridgeport Lithuanian community.

The love and sharing of culture and crafts has been a constant and important characteristic of the
council. Weekly Lithuanian language classes were given for approximately 10 years, straw ornament
classes, Easter egg decorating demonstrations and Juosta weaving were all well attended. These crafts
have been featured at several local and state fairs and have won prizes for their beauty and uniqueness.
The Junior members play an important role, especially during the Kucios celebration, and it is so
inspiring to witness the continuation of our traditions. Juniors have also been academically successful and have received the K of L National Scholarship, NED Scholarship and Sviklas-Tamulevich Scholarship.

St. George Church celebrated its 100 th Anniversary in 2007, and to commemorate this milestone,
C-141 donated a large church sign at the entrance of the church property. Several members participated in November, 2007, on a pilgrimage to Rome, and some greeted Pope Benedict XVI in Lithuanian costume.
In November, 2012, a replica of Ausros Vartai was dedicated in the vestibule of the church. This
icon had been lost and hidden in the church for several years. It was found, refurbished and placed in a
prominent area as a sign of Lithuanian influence and devotion to Mary.

Council 141 continues to invite other ethnic groups of St. George Parish and the public to
participate in Lithuanian activities, and thereby share K of L religious and cultural goals.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal Rumford-area Lithuanian Heritage Club members Julie Koris, left, Christine St. Cyr and Barbara Arsenault, all of Rumford, show off the traditional Lithuanian meal of kielbase, potato-based kugelis, beet salad, rye bread and sauerkraut, which they served at the first annual old-fashioned Lithuanian-style picnic on Saturday at the Mountain View Campground in Dixfield. Sarah Knight of Dixfield is in back.