RELIGION

Pope Francis Trusts Archbishop Konrad Krajewski As Vatican Almoner To 'Go Out And Look For The Poor'

LAMPEDUSA, ITALY - OCTOBER 07:  Papal Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski (L) and Bishop of Agrigento Francesco Montenegro ar
LAMPEDUSA, ITALY - OCTOBER 07: Papal Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski (L) and Bishop of Agrigento Francesco Montenegro arrive at Lampedusa harbour on October 7, 2013 in Lampedusa, Italy. The search for bodies continues off the coast of Southern Italy as the death toll of African migrants who drowned as they tried to reach the island of Lampedusa is expected to reach over 300 people. The tragedy has bought fresh questions over the thousands of asylum seekers that arrive into Europe by boat each year. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

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."

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