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RIGA - The people of Latvia would not be celebrating Latvia's centenary this year had they not believed in their country and its future, President Raimonds Vejonis said while addressing believers in Aglona today, the Assumption of Mary Day.
Catholicism runs deep in Latgale, Vejonis emphasized, as the President's Chancery informed LETA. It is in Latgale where a hundred years ago priest Francis Trasuns did an extraordinary job for the unification of Latvia. "Here Catholic priests kept our spirits and hopes alive in the darkness of soviet occupation, for Latvia to be reborn again. After the restoration of independence, our faith guided us on our way to a strong and democratic state," said Vejonis.
Many world leaders, kings and presidents have been coming to Latvia this year, when the country marks its centenary, but there is one special guest yet to visit Latvia. "Following my and Latvian Catholic Church's invitations, Pope Francis will visit the Land of Mara. He is coming to Latvia to encourage believers to keep the faith in spite of the modern-day challenges, to help us be strong and to inspire us," said Vejonis, adding that he would like to emphasize two values that everyone in Latvia should believe in.
"First, it is family as the cornerstone of society. Parents, grandparents and godparents are those who help us develop and teach us such values as respect, hard work, and love for our country and our nation. A strong nation is unimaginable without strong and large families," said Vejonis.
Second, it is the voice of conscience that tells every person what is right and what is wrong. At a time there are many loud voices in the world, one needs to find a moment of silence to hear and follow his or her heart, Vejonis said.