Skip to comments.“The Pope wants me to go out in person to help the needy”
Posted on 10/06/2013 9:48:34 AM PDT by NYer
Archbishop Konrad Krajewski speaks to Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano about his new role as Francis Almoner: he is to go out to the sick and homeless to pass on the Popes embrace
ARCHBISHOP KONRAD KRAJEWSKI
When Pope Francis appointed him his Almoner, he said: You arent going to be an office bishop and I dont want to see you standing behind me during mass. I want to see you among the people. You will bring my caress to the poor and the less-privileged. When I was in Buenos Aires I would often go out in the evenings to meet my poor. Now I cant, its difficult for me to leave the Vatican. So youre going to do it for me, you will be the extension of my heart that reaches them and brings them the heavenly Fathers smile and mercy.
Fr. Konrad Krajewski as he still calls himself, even now he is archbishop, has been scouring through the city to bring the Bishop of Romes solidarity to the darkest and most destitute neighbourhoods. He has already started by visiting some old age homes, he said in an interview with Mario Pozzi, a journalist for Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano.
It fills me with joy to know that now, whenever I embrace one of our less fortunate brothers, I pass on to them all the Popes warmth, love and solidarity. And Pope Francis often asks me about it. He wants to know, Fr. Krajewski said. The new Almoner has been in Rome since 1998 and was master of ceremonies during John Paul IIs pontificate. He mostly got to know the under world around the Holy See at night. This underworld was full of destitute individuals who had no fixed abode and were often hungry for human warmth more than for food Rome was very generous in this respect. They were hungry for someone who would listen to them, give them a warm embrace, a caress.
So with the help of nuns and a group of young volunteers from the Swiss Guard, Fr. Konrad organised a sort of mobile soup kitchen. We collected the soldiers left-overs after lunch and dinner separated it into single portions and then after 20:30, we went out to give the food to the poor people who usually hang around St. Peters Square at night. There were about 40 homeless people who had taken shelter under the arcades along Via della Conciliazione. It was a way to get close to them and spend some time with them. This is still done today.
On the day of my Episcopal ordination I received the most beautiful gift from these deprived people. I invited about twenty of them and they gave me two whole days where they didnt drink a drop of wine. It was very hard for them to resist the temptation of alcohol. But they managed it wholeheartedly. They knew that was the best gift they could have given me. They even washed their clothes in the fountains around Rome and the following day they returned to the Paul VI Hall and gave me a bunch of flowers: I dont honestly know where they got them from but it was their way of showing their affection. And Im happy because now, when I go to visit them, I bring the Popes heart to them.
During the audience, the Pope publicly announced that I could spend the day after my Episcopal ordination with my family: being Almoner means above all performing acts of charity that go beyond the Vatican walls. He expressly asked me not to stay glued to my desk signing documents but to go out and meet the poor and the needy, in body and spirit.
Giving material aid to the needy is not enough. The Pope wants me to have direct contact with them and to go out to their existential realities, to soup kitchens, shelter homes, care homes and hospitals. For example, if someone needs help paying a bill, I would ideally go to their home and give them the material help they need, to show them that the Pope is there for them, through his Almoner; if someone needs help because they are alone and abandoned, I should go to them and embrace them so that they can feel the Popes warmth and thus the warmth of Christs Church. He would like to do this in person as he used to do in Buenos Aires but he cant. So he wants me to do it for him.
The requests for help sent from al lover Rome as well as other parts of Italy paint a painful picture of growing poverty, not just in terms of money but in terms of the person as a whole, Fr. Konrad said. In fact I would say that the economic factor is only one part of the picture. Unstable financial situations can turn into desperate cases in the blink of an eye. The immigrants and refugees who turn to the Almoner also find themselves in desperate situations. Not to mention the seriously ill who dont have access to medical treatment and medicines. We have set up a volunteer medical service to try and help everyone out.
The Pope helps us. Some charities offer financial help on top of their regular assistance services. Last year we managed to distribute more than 900.00 euros on behalf of the Pope. Papal blessing parchments are a great boost to this charity work.
Anyone who has ever watched a televised mass from the Vatican, recognizes the face of Archbishop Krajewski. This articles gives much insight into his personal ministry to the downtrodden.
I agree with the sentiment and think its one of the greatest failings of conservative America.
Speaking for yourself?
Then promote smaller governments and smaller/no tax rates. Done and done.
Of course, my suggestion is antithetic of the churches past teachings and direction.
Helping the needy is not so hard. Just volunteer at the local food shelf, the Salvation Army or Community meals, etc. Donate to charities.
In the future it will be interesting to see, however, if the middle class population who contributes the majority of the charity funds, will have any money left over after the government takes it all in taxes. I see a lot of charities closing down as the government devours more of our money and our savings for retirement.
Conservatives give to private charities. Liberals give to government. Judging by the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Obama wants to abolish private charity that do not serve his purposes.
Very sweet. It sounds as if he is really enjoying his new role. From my own experience, and knowing the Missionaries of the Poor, I know that serving the poor (or sick, or elderly, or handicapped) brings abundant joy.
Charity is nice but I’m talking about getting out there and really reaching hearts and minds.
I personally have taken it upon myself to get to know some inner city pastors and I go with them on home visits and other various projects. I certainly don’t suggest that all people do it but there are a lot of other ways for people to help the poor even if its just helping out at a food bank a couple of afternoons per year.
What we have in America is spiritual poverty.
I totally agree!