Priest Jonas Katelė lived in 19th century. He made the Panemunėlis area probably the most educated in Lithuania. Since his first secret Lithuanian school was established in a church village, the Lithuanian word spread in remote villages and soon there was no village in the parish where there would be no school. On the monumental cross, erected to J. Katelė there is an inscription: “He was loved by God and by men, and his memory was blessed.”

Katelė was a priest in Panemunėlis in 1872–1908 and is considered not only the educator, teacher, but also the independent executor of Lithuania’s cultural aspirations. The priest is not only the founder of secret Lithuanian schools.  He supported societies that distributed the Lithuanian press, collected folklore, and organized Lithuanian performances.  Therefore, the first secret Lithuanian performance took place in Panemunėlis area, Naujikai village in 1893, where Vaižgantas’ play “Nepadėjus nėr ko kasti” was performed.

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