CNA Staff, Dec 22, 2023 / 12:32 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Konrad Krajewski to the Holy Land for Christmas as his personal representative to bring solidarity to people suffering amid the war.
The Polish cardinal, who serves as the papal almoner, will spend Christmas in Jerusalem, where he will join the local Christian community in praying for peace.
“The Holy Father really wanted me to be in the Holy Land to represent him, to pray, and be close to people who are suffering greatly,” Krajewski said in an interview with Vatican Radio.
“So I will spend these days in prayer in this place, so dear to all Christians,” he said.
The Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Charity announced Krajewski’s visit on Dec. 22 as a “concrete sign” of solidarity with all who “experience firsthand the consequences of war in this Christmas season.”
“Pope Francis, grieving over the ‘third world war in pieces’ that afflicts the world, prays daily for peace, pleading aloud for an end to the conflicts that stain the earth with blood: in battered Ukraine, in Syria, in many countries in Africa and now in Israel and Palestine,” it said.
The pope has asked the cardinal to pray for peace together with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the entire local Catholic community as they “celebrate the birth of Jesus, the prince of peace and the only hope for the world.”
Last year, Krajewski spent Christmas in Ukraine with refugees and volunteers in the town of Fastów at the pope’s request.
Pope Francis has sent Krajewski to Ukraine six times since Russia invaded the country nearly two years ago. On one of Krajewski’s prior trips, the cardinal was shot at as he delivered humanitarian aid near the city of Zaporizhzhia. He has also prayed beside multiple mass graves in Ukraine, including on Good Friday in 2022.