VATICAN CITY (AP) — When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known to sneak out at night and break bread with the homeless, sit with them literally on the street and eat with them, as part of his aim to share the plight of the poor and let them know someone cared.

That's not so easy to do now that he's pope. But Francis is still providing one-on-one doses of emergency assistance to the poor, sick and aged through a trusted archbishop. Konrad Krajewski is the Vatican Almoner, a centuries-old job of handing out alms — and Francis has ramped up the job to make it a hands-on extension of his own personal charity.

As Americans gathered for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Krajewski described how Francis has redefined the little known office of papal almoner and explained the true meaning of giving during a chat with journalists over coffee and pastries a few steps from the Vatican gates.

"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.

Krajewski gets his marching orders each morning: A Vatican gendarme goes from the Vatican hotel where Francis lives to Krajewski's office across the Vatican gardens, bringing a bundle of letters that the pope has received from the faithful asking for help. On the top of each letter, Francis might write "You know what to do" or "Go find them" or "Go talk to them."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Stealing from the tables of the the poor

    Throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/pope-francis-world-environment-day_n_3390299.html" target="_blank">Read more</a>

  • 'Money Has To Serve, Not To Rule!'

    Pope Francis has denounced the global financial system, blasting the "cult of money" that he says is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/pope-francis-global-financial-system-_n_3285442.html?utm_hp_ref=pope-francis" target="_blank">Read more</a>

  • 'Poor Church For The Poor'

    'Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/pope-says-wants-poor-church_n_2889991.html" target="_blank">Read more</a>

  • Men And Women Sacrificed To the Idols Of Profit

    Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the "culture of waste." On <a href="http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/06/05/pope_at_audience:_counter_a_culture_of_waste_with_solidarity/en1-698604" target="_blank">World Environment Day</a>

  • 'If Banks Fail It is A Tragedy, If People Die Of Hunger It's Nothing'

    "Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food - that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/pope-church-must-help-the-poor_n_3299764.html?utm_hp_ref=pope-francis" target="_blank">Read more </a>

  • 'Slave Labor Goes Against God'

    "A headline that really struck me on the day of the tragedy in Bangladesh was 'Living on 38 euros a month'. That is what the people who died were being paid. This is called slave labour." "Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/pope-francis-slave-labor_n_3191288.html?utm_hp_ref=pope-francis" target="_blank">Read more </a>

  • No More 'Profit At Any Cost'

  • 'Those Most In Need'

  • Choose A Humble Car

    Pope Francis waves to faithful upon his arrival at the Pontiff's residence of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, Sunday July 14, 2013, in a Ford Focus. The down-to-earth Pope called for greater austerity from religious figures last week, saying, “It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest-model car. You can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but, please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world." The Ford Focus is a compact car with a starting sticker price of just about $16,000. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/pope-francis-car-ford-focus-humble_n_3598402.html" target="_blank">Read more</a>

  • 'Prayer, Humility, Charity'

  • 'The Most Needy'

  • 'Moral And Material Poverty'

  • 'Culture of Waste'

  • On Waste