Pope Francis Rome Pope Francis Rome

Pope revives Vatican charity

Pope Francis has ramped up the Vatican’s charity work, sending his chief alms-giver and a contingent of Swiss guards onto the streets of Rome at night to do what he usually can’t do: comfort the poor and the homeless.

A few times a week, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski takes a few off-duty guards with him in his modest white Fiat to make the rounds at Rome’s train stations, where charities offer makeshift soup kitchens that feed 400-500 people a night. Often they bring the leftovers from the Vatican mess halls to share. The pope has tapped Krajewski to be his envoy, doling out small morsels of charity every day: sending a 200 euro ($260) check to a woman whose wallet was stolen, visiting a family whose child is dying.

“My job is to be an extension of the pope’s arm toward the poor, the needy, those who suffer,” Krajewski said. “He cannot go out of the Vatican, so he has chosen a person who goes out to hug the people who suffer” in the pope’s place. “This is the concept: Be with people and share their lives, even for 15, 30 minutes, an hour,” Krajewski said.

The help also goes to a homeless shelter near Rome’s Termini railway station, or to people who sleep rough near St Peter’s Square every night. Asked whether the pope ever joined him on his runs, the Polish monsignor declined to answer.

Last year, the office spent 1 million euros on 6,500 requests for help. Krajewski says the numbers have more than doubled this year.

But there are also more ambitious operations, last month, Krajewski went to the island of Lampedusa after a migrant boat capsized, killing over 350 people mainly from Eritrea. Over four days on Lampedusa, Krajewski bought 1,600 phone cards so the survivors could call loved ones back home in Eritrea to let them know they had made it. He also prayed with police divers as they worked to raise the dead from the sea floor.

Krajewski demurred when asked if Francis himself had slipped out of the Vatican on his own – “Next question!” he said.

By Editorial Team

Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function get_field() in /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-content/themes/newsy/content.php:64 Stack trace: #0 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-includes/template.php(503): require() #1 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-includes/template.php(477): load_template('/homepages/33/d...', false) #2 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-includes/general-template.php(171): locate_template(Array, true, false) #3 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-content/themes/newsy/single.php(18): get_template_part('content', '') #4 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-includes/template-loader.php(74): include('/homepages/33/d...') #5 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-blog-header.php(16): require_once('/homepages/33/d...') #6 /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/index.php(17): require('/homepages/33/d...') #7 {main} thrown in /homepages/33/d157462911/htdocs/relaunch/wp-content/themes/newsy/content.php on line 64