Pope Having Showers Built in Vatican for Rome's Homeless

10 Parishes Asked to Participate in Initiative

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The Vatican announced on Thursday that the Holy Father commissioned three showers to be built for use by the homeless in the area under the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square.

Set to open Nov. 17, the showers will be installed in an existing lavatory block used by tourists and pilgrims.

An experience of the Pope’s almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, led to the initiative: Archbishop Krajewski met a 50-year-old homeless man, named Franco from Sardinia, on the streets of Rome. Since it was the man’s birthday, the archbishop offered to buy him dinner, but the man declined because of his smelling badly.

In spite of that, Archbishop Krajewski still wished to take the homeless man out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

During the meal, the man explained to the archbishop that although the homeless people in Rome could manage to find something to eat, what they really needed was a place to wash.

When the archbishop presented to Pope Francis the idea of installing showers in the Vatican, he immediately gave his blessing.

Archbishop Krajewski has already asked another 10 parishes in Rome to build showers for use by the homeless, in addition to the three that will be built in the Vatican.

Money donated by the Pope’s charity will be used to pay for the facilities.

There are an estimated 8,000 homeless people living on the streets of Rome, according to the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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