Cardinal Michael Czerny, the interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is expected to leave again for Slovakia to bring Pope Francis’ closeness to refugees crossing into the country from neighboring Ukraine, according to Vatican News. The Cardinal recently completed a four-day visit to Hungary and Ukraine visibly demonstrating the support of the Holy Father.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the Jesuit Cardinal will arrive in Slovakia on March 16 and will travel to the Ukrainian border in the following days.
Through his envoy, the Holy Father wishes, once again, to convey his prayerful “closeness to those fleeing the fighting in Ukraine and suffering violence at the hand of other men,” the press statement said.
Cardinal Czerny stayed in Hungary and briefly visited Ukraine from March 7-10, while Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Pope’s Almoner, went to Ukraine, entering via the Polish-Ukrainian border. He went first to Budapest, where he met Ukrainian refugees at the two main train stations in the Hungarian capital and many volunteers who were helping the refugees there and in other locations he visited, including the Jesuit Refugee Service center in Budapest.
He also traveled to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border town of Barabás, where refugees enter Hungary and where the Hungarian government, Caritas Hungary, and other charitable organizations welcome them. From there he was driven across the border to Beregove, Ukraine, to meet with the local Eastern and Latin-rite Catholic bishops.
In what the Vatican called “an extraordinary gesture,” Pope Francis announced at the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, March 6, that he would dispatch two Cardinals as expressions of the Church’s solidarity with the suffering Ukrainian people: Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Almoner, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Prefect ad interim of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.