From Sandro Magister at Chiesa:
ROME, October 11, 2013 – The comprehensive reform of the Vatican curia is still entirely to be written, on the part of the eight cardinals to whom it has been delegated. But in the meantime Pope Francis is proceeding on his own account. With deeds.
One office, that of pontifical almoner, he has already completely reformed. Placing in it a man of his own trust and immediately putting him to work in a new way.
And also in a crucial area like the liturgy he has begun to make such changes as to create feverish anticipation about what the next steps will be.
A HAND OF THE POPE AMONG THE POOR
Since August 3, the new pontifical almoner has been Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, age 50, Polish, who was for a long time one of the masters of ceremonies of the papal liturgies, but whom Pope Francis rewarded above all for the voluntary activities that he was carrying out at the same time, that of serving in the confessional every afternoon, of visiting the sick and approaching every evening the poor who populate the surroundings of the basilica of Saint Peter, bringing them food and comfort.
In appointing him his almoner, pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio also told him how to redesign the tasks of this office: “You will not stay behind a desk signing parchments. I want you always among the people. In Buenos Aires I often went out in the evening to go find the poor. Now I no longer can: it is difficult for me to leave the Vatican. You will do it for me.”
This is what Krajewski said in “L’Osservatore Romano” of October 4, in an interview in which he explains his new duties.
Traditionally, the pontifical almoner sent parchments with the papal blessing to those who requested them. And with the proceeds from this, together with other offerings, he sent people in need “modest donations,” which ultimately amounted to a little less than one million euro a year.
With Pope Francis, the almoner will bring aid in person. Krajewski says:
“I will give an example. If someone asks for aid to pay a bill [electricity or gas], it is good that I should go, if possible, to the home to bring the aid materially, in order to make him understand that the pope, through the almoner, is close to him.”
In recent days, after hundreds of refugees fleeing from Syria, from Eritrea and from other African countries drowned in the Mediterranean near Lampedusa, Krajewski went to the island, previously visited by Francis on July 8, to bless the bodies recovered from the ocean, to visit the survivors, to make them feel the closeness of the pope and to “give each one substantial aid for the most immediate necessities.” Every diver who went into the water to recover a body – “L’Osservatore Romano” reported – “brought with him a rosary blessed by Pope Francis.”
For the future Roman curia, the pontifical almoner is therefore already in place. And refurbished.
As for Krajewski’s predecessor, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, formerly a close collaborator of Jospeh Ratzinger at the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, he has been put into a role more congenial to him, that of secretary of “Ecclesia Dei,” the pontifical commission that deals with the more traditionalist Catholic groups and is striving to reconcile with the Church of Rome the followers of the schismatic archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Read on here about Pope Francis’ liturgical preferences.