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Pope’s rep in Lviv: My heart is bleeding (with pictures)

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Cardinal Konrad Krajewski visited refugees

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Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/09/22

"Through him, we feel that the Holy Father wants to be close to us."

“I sent pictures from the border to the Pope. It is hair-raising scenes. Today I am just so mad at the man who caused such pain, my heart is bleeding,” Cardinal Konrad Krajewski said in Lviv after his first day in Ukraine, journalist Paulina Guzik reported on Twitter. The cardinal, one of the Pontiff’s two personal envoys to the war-torn country, crossed the border through Poland on March 8, 2022, and then met with representatives of the local Catholic Church.

Cardinal Krajewski met in Lviv with Archbishop Major Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, Latin Archbishop of Lviv. On this occasion, the three men were able to exchange with Pope Francis from a distance.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski visited refugees

The Pope’s legate shared with Francis his first impressions of the visit, and especially of what he saw in Poland, reports the Polish website Gosc. On March 8, Cardinal Krajewski visited a refugee center in Korczowa, Poland, near the border, I.MEDIA has learned.

According to information gathered by the Polish Catholic radio station Radio Maryja from Archbishop Mokrzycki, the cardinal also visited the Benedictine convent in Lviv where 100 refugees are being hosted. The archbishop said Ukrainians were “really grateful to Pope Francis, not only for his prayer, but for sending us his representative, for the arrival of Cardinal Krajewski,” reports Paulina Guzik. “Through him, we feel that the Holy Father wants to be close to us,” he continued.

Cardinal Krajewski is the papal almoner, meaning that he is the cardinal in charge of the Pope’s charity work in Rome.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski visited refugees

“Everywhere it is possible to go”

In the coming days, Cardinal Krajewski is scheduled to visit “social service centers in Ukraine to meet with refugees and all those who are victims of the war,” the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church website announced.

According to Radio Maryja, he is also expected to participate in a joint prayer with representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations to be held at noon in the cathedral of Lviv. “Wherever it is possible to go, I will be there,” the senior Polish prelate told Vatican News.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski visited refugees
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski visited refugees

With refugees in Hungary

Meanwhile, Cardinal Michael Czerny, acting prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, is the Pope’s other special representative. His first stop was with refugees in Hungary.

Cardinal Czerny, in cassock and red biretta, and wearing a pectoral cross made from the wood of a boat from Lampedusa (many people are curious, and ask him about its significance), headed to a station in ancient Pest, which had already hosted the great wave of migrants fleeing Syria in 2015.

Read the account here.

Nuncio: My place is here

The habitual representative of the pope in Ukraine – the apostolic nuncio – said to the Italian Sir agency in early March that “my place is here.”

Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas is a 47-year-old native of Lithuania, and his assignment in Ukraine since June 2021 is his first assignment as a nuncio, since he joined the Holy See’s diplomatic staff in 2004.

The archbishop was the translator when Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2019 and 2015.

He refers to Pope Francis’ teaching: “War is the work of the devil and therefore all possible efforts must be made to stop it.”

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