Along with his countless appeals for peace, Pope Francis wants Cardinal Krajewski's presence as a sign that Ukrainians are "not alone."
For the fourth time since the beginning of the conflict, Pope Francis has decided to send Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, apostolic chaplain and prefect of the new Dicastery of Charity, to Ukraine, the Vatican press office announced on September 9, 2022.
The Pontiff’s representative to the “suffering people” will visit the south and east of the country to show them “that they are not alone in this situation that brings only destruction and death.”
It is a “silent and evangelical journey” that the Polish cardinal is about to embark on, visiting the regions of Odessa, Žytomyr, Kharkiv and other places in eastern Ukraine. This long trip will also be an opportunity for the Pope to bring “concrete help” to the people through the diocesan Caritas.
The Dicastery of Charity – instituted by the Pontiff in the new Constitution promulgated last March – announces that its prefect intends to “visit and support the various communities of the faithful, priests and religious, as well as their bishops, who for more than 200 days have continued to remain in the places of their ministry despite the dangers of war.”
Several envoys since the beginning of the war
Cardinal Krajewski had already visited Ukraine as an envoy of the Pontiff during a first trip from March 7 to 14, visiting refugees and authorities in Lviv and Kiev. On March 26, he left for a second trip to deliver an ambulance to Lviv. Finally, he experienced a trying Holy Week in the war-torn country from April 14, visiting mass graves on Good Friday. On that occasion, he delivered an ambulance offered by the Pontiff.
In addition to Cardinal Krajewski, the Pope has also sent several other high ranking officials to Ukraine, including his “Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, as well as Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, who symbolically crossed the border between Hungary and Ukraine after visiting the refugees in Hungary.
Waiting for the Pope to come?
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive, Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that he wants to visit Kiev. He reaffirmed this to several journalists during his last trip to Canada.
Recently, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin reiterated this determination, but also stressed that the conditions for this must be met. The visit will take place “when it is useful for peace and not for a photo opportunity,” he said on Italian television.