“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The words of Jesus from chapter 25 in the Gospel of Matthew leave no doubt: The road that leads to Him is one that passes through others—through our neighbors, especially those who are in need. And indeed, Pope Francis is the most concrete example of how we can live this way.
Here are some of Lolo Kiko’s ways of showing his love for the poor:
The Meaning of Almsgiving
Not a day goes by that the Santo Papa does not remember the importance of almsgiving. When he was a priest in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis would take to the streets, reaching out to people and giving them his help, thus earning him the tag “street priest.” But now that Pope Francis is the Santo Papa, he cannot go to the shanties like he used to. So he did the next best thing: He got another “street priest” for this task—Cardinal- designate Konrad Krajewski. And reports say that every day, the Santo Papa would forward appeals for help to the cardinal. These would usually bear the note, “You know what you must do.” – S.J.N.
The Poor Man of Assisi
In all his pastoral journeys, both short and long, Pope Francis never fails to have lunch with the poor. Most of the time he dines with them in the cafeterias of Caritas, the organization of the Episcopal Conference that promotes charity in the Church. He also does not forget to meet the sick and visit the prisoners. People still remember him giving attention to the desperate living in villas miserias or squatter areas when he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires. It was also the Pope’s personal decision to celebrate the Holy Thursday foot washing not in the cathedral, but in hospitals or prisons.
A Poor Church for the Poor
Right from the start, Pope Francis implemented a motion that would set the course of his pontificate: He decided that the traditional “prizes of production” planned for each pontificate would not end up in the payroll of about 4,000 employees of the Vatican City, but instead would be destined for its most needy. And this is how he inaugurated his “poor Church for the poor,” which today makes use of the indispensable help of hi almoner, Cardinal-designate Konrad Krajewski.