Catholic Mass From Soviet Union to Be Telecast in U.S. on Christmas Eve

Associated Press

The first Roman Catholic Mass from the Soviet Union to be telecast in the United States will be carried Christmas Eve by the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network.

Jeff Weber, program vice president for the cable system, said the service from Vilnius Cathedral in Lithuania would be presented at 9 p.m. EST on Sunday, and repeated Christmas Day at 5 p.m.

The Mass is to be celebrated by Archbishop Julionas Steponovicius of Vilnius, who is believed to secretly have been made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1979. He was allowed to resume his church duties only a year ago.

The 14th-Century Vilnius Cathedral, known as the "cradle of Lithuanian Christianity," was seized by Soviet authorities in the 1950s and converted into a secular gallery, but was returned to the church early this year.

VISN is operated by a consortium of 22 faith groups in the Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant religions.

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