Papal almoner to head east ‘as far as possible’ on Ukraine trip

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

 

Papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski. / lvivadm via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0).

Rome Newsroom, Mar 11, 2022 / 10:10 am (CNA).

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski said on Thursday that he would leave Lviv, western Ukraine, and go east as far as possible.

The cardinal, who is in charge of the pope’s charitable efforts as papal almoner, is in Ukraine this week as an envoy of Pope Francis.

After a stop in his native Poland, Krajewski journeyed on to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, where he paid for fuel and helped humanitarian aid be loaded onto trucks to be transported throughout the country.

The 58-year-old Krajewski told journalists on March 10 that he would leave Lviv and go “as far as possible” east, Vatican News reported, toward Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city.

On Thursday morning, the cardinal took part in an ecumenical prayer service for peace at a Lviv cathedral.

“Spiritually united with us is Pope Francis, who conveys to us the expression of his solidarity and assures us of his unceasing prayer for peace in Ukraine,” he said.

“Faith can move mountains, let alone a stupid war,” he told Zhyve.tv, a project of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk greet children in Lviv, Ukraine. Screenshot from zhyve.tv YouTube channel.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk greet children in Lviv, Ukraine. Screenshot from zhyve.tv YouTube channel.

In response to a request for comment on Thursday’s talks between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey, Krajewski said: “I am not a diplomat. I came here with the logic of the Gospel, as Jesus did. He was always on the side of people who suffered.”

“That is why we are here. That’s why we pray. Because our weapon is faith. Our weapon is hope too,” he added. “The Gospel teaches us the three most sophisticated weapons in the world: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.”

The U.N. refugee agency estimates that more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.

Pope Francis announced in his Angelus address on March 6 that he was sending Krajewski and Cardinal Michael Czerny, the interim prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, to Ukraine.

Czerny spent three days at the Ukraine-Hungary border, where he met and spoke with Ukrainian refugees. On March 11, he returned to Rome.


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