Pope ramps up charity office to be near poor, sick

By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 28 2013 12:25 p.m. MST

In this photo taken on Sept.19, 2013 provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski attends the ceremony for his episcopal ordination, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican. The existence of the Vatican Almoner dates back centuries: It is mentioned in a papal bull from the 13th-century Pope Innocent III, and Pope Gregory X, who ruled from 1271-1276, organized it into an official Holy See office for papal charity. Up until Krajewski came along, the almoner was typically an aging Vatican diplomat who was serving his final years before being allowed to retire at age 75. Francis changed all that, tapping the 50-year-old Pole to be a more vigorous, hands-on extension of himself. The almoner's duties are two-fold: carrying out acts of charity, and raising the money to fund them.

L'Osservatore Romano, ho, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — While archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known to sneak out at night and break bread with the homeless, part of his aim to share the plight of the poor.

That's not so easy to do now that he's pope. But Francis still provides one-on-one doses of emergency assistance to the poor, sick and aged through Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Vatican Almoner.

As Americans gathered for Thanksgiving, Krajewski described how Francis is showing the true meaning of giving during a chat with journalists.

"The Holy Father told me at the beginning: 'You can sell your desk. You don't need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don't wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor,'" Krajewski said.

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