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At his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis announced that two Vatican officials – Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny – will be sent as papal envoys for the Ukraine crisis.
“The Holy See is willing to do everything to put itself in the service of peace,” the pope said, lamenting that “in Ukraine, rivers of blood and tears are flowing.”
Krajewski is the papal almoner, responsible for distributing charity in Rome on behalf of the pope. Czerny heads the Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
“I will visit volunteers in Poland first, I hope to meet them and give them papal rosaries, to thank them for their service and great heart,” Krajewski told Crux. His journey will start in Poland, then he plans to go to Ukraine.
“I go with the logic of the Gospel,” he added. “To love thy neighbor as yourself.”
“Now those feelings are being triggered; we see it in Poland, we see it in the hearts of the people,” the cardinal said.
The core of the mission is to meet the people of Ukraine, Krajewski said.
“I go to meet those that suffer but also those who assist their pain – volunteers who try to help in any way they can,” he continued, adding there are no plans so far for any official meetings in Ukraine.
“Even though Moscow is trying to spread the message that there is no war, the Holy Father made it clear today – it is war, and this is how we have to name it, this is how we have to treat it,” he said.
Krajewski said the almoner’s office is donating money to church institutions throughout Eastern Europe and in Ukraine itself.
“We help through nunciatures – as soon as there is a signal that help is needed in a particular place – we send the money,” he told Crux.
The Vatican, for instance, recently helped a female religious order in Romania.
“The sisters took in 70 families. It is obvious they wouldn’t be able to suddenly support so many people overnight with what they had,” the cardinal explained.
According to the United Nations refugee agency, 1.5 million people have left Ukraine in the last 11 days, following the Russian invasion. On Sunday the number of refugees that crossed the Polish border alone was close to one million.
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