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Cardinal Krajewski: The Pope is heartbroken for Ukraine

  • Religion

Cardinal Krajewski’s journey to Ukraine to bring the Pope’s closeness to the suffering population is ongoing. The papal almoner speaks of a message of encouragement he has received in these days from the Holy Father .

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski’s mission to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Ukraine, where he had arrived on 17 November to bring electric generators and thermal jumpers to those in need, concluded with an exchange of messages between himself and the Pope.

“I sent a voice message to the Holy Father,” the Polish cardinal told Vatican News, “explaining where I was and what I have been doing.”

Immediately, the cardinal continued, the Pope responded with “a very long message encouraging me and telling me that his heart is broken for Ukraine, that he is close.”

Christian presence

“I am tired,” Krajewski says, apologising for having broken into Polish during the telephone interview.  It is a tiredness that comes from having spent difficult and demanding days in the war-ravaged nation, travelling between cities and caught in border queues as long as 25 km.

It is also a tiredness that is caused by the emotional impact of being with people who live the drama of cold and darkness, due to the lack of electricity.

 “It is a Christian presence,” the cardinal says, adding that the Pope reminded him of this: “This is what Jesus would do, always putting himself in the shoes of those who were sick, who were suffering.”

“Compassion… We too must imitate him, this message gives courage…”

Travelling to Kyiv

After spending some days in Lviv, the head of the Office of Papal Charities on Friday travelled to Kyiv.

“It was impossible: it took an hour and a half just to get out of the city”, he said.

The Cardinal told of how at 5 o’clock in the morning he boarded a van with which he is crossing war zones to deliver the thermal jumpers purchased thanks to the generosity of so many people who, through the Eppela platform, have raised 111,000 euros to buy warm clothes.

A drop in the ocean

“I am happy,” says Krajewski, recalling the mission of the past few days, “we have managed to bring so many generators, so many things in these days, to people without light, without power, without water.”

“It is a drop, but that drop goes into the river and from the river to the sea. We must reason according to the logic of the Gospel: We do the small works, the big ones are the Lord’s.”

So much sin, but also so much grace

Cardinal Krajewski also speaks of the emotional impact of this new journey to Ukraine, where he has already visited several times since the first week after the outbreak of war.

“This trip is not easy, the people are suffering so much,” he says.

Alongside the pain, there is, however, the consolation of seeing so many people who do not shy away from helping: “I meet volunteers every day. They are extraordinary, and wonderful. And those who open everything as soon as I arrive at the warehouse. And the firefighters who come to load the car and don’t care if it’s the third or fourth time of the day…”

“Truly, where there is sin, there is also much grace.”

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