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Cardinal on mission to Ukraine has to run for cover under fire; not injured

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Pierpaolo Scavuzzo/AGF/SIPA/East News

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/17/22

Cardinal Krajewski is on his 4th trip to Ukraine at the request of the Pope. Today is his anniversary of episcopal ordination and the day that "for the first time in my life, I didn't know where to run ..."

Vatican News reported that the Pope’s “charity cardinal,” Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, now on his fourth trip to Ukraine at the request of Pope Francis, had to take cover under light artillery fire.

Together with those working to distribute aid, the Cardinal sought cover as light arms fire began.

“For the first time in my life,” he told Vatican News after the event, “I didn’t know where to run… because it’s not enough to run. You have to know where to go.”

This will be a day the cardinal won’t forget, as it’s also his anniversary of episcopal ordination.

Cardinal Krajewski spoke to Vatican News by telephone on Saturday:

“Today is a special day,” he says, “because it has been nine years since the Holy Father chose me as the Papal Almoner and on this day I was ordained a Bishop.”

The Cardinal received his episcopal ordination on 17 September 2013 in St. Peter’s Basilica during a ceremony in the presence of Pope Francis.

On this anniversary, Cardinal Krajewski found himself near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, along with a Catholic Bishop, a Protestant Bishop, and a Ukrainian soldier.

With their help, he loaded up his minibus with provisions and drove to the frontlines of the war, an area he says “no one besides soldiers enter anymore” due to the heavy firing.

He went precisely to help people stuck in this no-man’s-land with a friendly hand, foodstuffs, and other aid supplies.

Read more at Vatican News.

In March, the cardinal drove an ambulance donated by Pope Francis to the city of Lviv. He went just after leaving Fatima in Portugal, where he celebrated the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25 at the same time as the Pontiff in Rome.

On an earlier trip to bring aid and the closeness of the Pope, Cardinal Krajewski said that while he is not a diplomat, he goes forward armed with the “three most sophisticated weapons of the Gospel”: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

“Through faith, we can move mountains. I believe in that. Even more so to stop a stupid war,” he said.

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