Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 26 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
home iconNews
line break icon

Pope Francis to Install Showers for the Homeless at St. Peter’s

David Tuffley

John Burger - published on 11/13/14 - updated on 06/07/17

Facilities will be constructed under Bernini's colonnade.

A 20th century composer once wrote a symphonic work called "The Fountains of Rome."

Apparently, there’s going to be a new “fountain” in the Eternal City.

Under the direction of Pope Francis, showers for the homeless will be installed in St. Peter’s Square. Work will begin Monday.

Andrea Tornielli reported today at his Vatican Insider column in LaStampa that the papal almoner, Bishop Konrad Krajewski, found out that one of the biggest needs for the homeless in Rome is a place to get a decent shower.

“Here, no one starves to death,” a homeless man told Bishop Krajewski on one of his fact-finding missions for the Pope. “You can find a sandwich every day. But there is no place to use the toilet and wash.”

Under the Bernini colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square, there are public restrooms for pilgrims. Now, part of the facilities will be converted to showers to be used by the homeless. Ten parishes in the area, likewise, have already installed showers for the homeless.

It all started when Bishop Krajewski invited a homeless man to dinner to celebrate his birthday. The man, whom Tornielli refers to as “Franco,” declined, saying, “Father, I can’t go to a restaurant with you because I smell.”

Bishop Krajewski had already had a street ministry when Pope Francis, who has brought a new focus on the poor and marginalized, tapped him to serve as papal almoner, a sort of "first responder" to the needs of the indigent. The Polish prelate explained to Tornielli that the homeless man he met and invited to dinner was aware of places he could go to shower, but they are "always very crowded." 

The conversation led to Krajewski visiting 10 area parishes, where he invited pastors to build showers for the homeless, paide for by the Pope’s charity. 

Where does the money come from? Tornielli reveals that part of it is from a foundation established by the tenor Andrea Boccelli. 

What about the reaction of tourists and pilgrims to the three new showers under the beautiful colonnade? "The Basilica exists in order to keep the Body of Christ, and we serve Jesus’ suffering body by serving the poor," he responds. "Always, in the history of Rome, the poor congregated around the basilicas."

John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.

Tags:
Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
2
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
5
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.