De Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Two cardinals have arrived in separate destinations with a mission entrusted by Pope Francis: to bring relief, hope and encouragement to suffering Ukrainians.
Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, a papal Miothenite, arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 8 and met with Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Latin Rite. .
Father Andriy Soletskyy, a spokesman for Archbishop Shevchuk, told the Catholic News Service on March 9 that Archbishop Shevchuk had traveled the day before from Kyiv to Lviv specifically to meet with Cardinal Krajewski and help him meet. the mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis. This may include helping the cardinal reach Kyiv “if possible,” Father Soletski said.
However, he said, for the safety of both the cardinal and Archbishop Shevchuk, the church will not share details on how or when anyone is traveling.
Lviv has not been bombed, “thank God,” Father Soletsky said, but the western Ukrainian city is overwhelmed by displaced people who gather there to try to find flights, trains or buses to Poland, Hungary or Romania. People are queuing at the train station and every church has opened as a shelter.
But as Lviv’s population has doubled in the past two weeks, he said, the ability to house and feed everyone is becoming critical.
According to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Cardinal Krajewski was to visit a variety of social service centers and attend a joint prayer service with “representatives of the Council of Ukrainian Churches and Religious Organizations” on March 10.
Prior to his arrival in Ukraine, Cardinal Krajewski met with Caritas volunteers who are helping refugees in several Polish cities near the Ukrainian border.
According to the Polish Catholic weekly Gosc Niedzielny, the Polish cardinal was asked by journalists if he was afraid of entering a war zone.
“I’m scared, like everyone else, but I confessed before I left; I have no debts, I wrote a will “, he said. “I am free to bring the gospel. I want to be with these people. ”
Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, interim president of the Department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, arrived in Budapest, Hungary on March 8 and visited Keleti Station where he met with Caritas volunteers and thanked them for their work.
He also met with refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine, including two medical students from Nigeria, as well as several from China and Vietnam. Despite reports of discrimination against African and Asian residents of Ukraine trying to flee the country, Vatican News said the group had no difficulty crossing the border.
According to Vatican News, one of the Nigerian students, Joyce, told Cardinal Czerny, “I just want to go home.” Cardinal Czerny shook hands and replied, “Good luck. God is with you, and the pope is near you. “
The cardinal met on March 9 with Zsolt Semjén, Hungary’s deputy prime minister, who assured him that Hungary would receive all refugees from Ukraine “without limits”.
Vatican News said the cardinal called on Semjén to make that welcoming attitude a permanent part of the Hungarian government’s policy and to extend the country’s reception to asylum seekers. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is promoting an extremely restrictive immigration policy for the country.
Cindy Wooden from Rome contributed to this report.