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Pope looking for right moment to visit Kyiv

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 06/05/22

In a meeting with Ukrainian children at the Vatican, Pope Francis shared that he's looking for the "right moment" to visit Kyiv.

“I would like to go to Ukraine, only, I have to wait for the right moment to do so,” assured Pope Francis during a conversation with children gathered in the Courtyard of St. Damasus in the Vatican on June 4, 2022. This new edition of the “Children’s Train”, organized in conjunction with the Parvis des Gentils, took place this year in the presence of refugee children from Ukraine.

“I don’t have a question but rather a request: can you come to Ukraine to save all the children who are suffering there now?” asked little Sachar, who came from Ukraine which has been the victim of a Russian invasion since February 24, 2022.

I think a lot about the children of Ukraine, and that’s why I sent cardinals to help there and to be close to all the people, the children,” the Argentine pontiff shared. Regarding his planned visit to Kyiv, the Pope explained that it is “not easy to make a decision that could do more harm than good for the world.”

He said he would receive next week “representatives of the Ukrainian government” to hear their testimonies about the situation in their country and to discuss with them his plan to visit the Ukrainian capital.

Pope Francis to Kyiv?

On April 2, on the plane to Malta, Pope Francis explained to a journalist that the project of a visit to Kiev was “on the table”. However, on the plane home the next day, he questioned the appropriateness of such a step and said he wanted to build “patterns of peace”.

Archbishop Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, then went to Ukraine in May. On the first leg of his trip, to Lviv in the west of the country, where he began on May 18, Archbishop Gallagher responded to criticism of papal diplomacy by assuring that the Pope is constantly concerned “to defend the Ukrainian people, to emphasize that they have their freedom, that the integrity of this country has been violated.”

In the first weeks following the Russian offensive, Cardinal Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, and Cardinal Krajewski, Apostolic Chaplain, were sent to Ukraine and the neighboring countries to meet the refugees. Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, is touring Romania from June 1 to 5 to support the efforts of the local Church to help Ukrainian refugees.

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