HUFFINGTON POST

Pope Francis Opens Free Laundry Service For Rome's Poor

It's Francis' way of giving a "concrete form to charity."
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves at the end of the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves at the end of the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.

The Catholic Church has opened a laundry service in Rome where the homeless can wash, dry and iron their clothes. 

The laundromat, which is being called “The Pope’s Laundry,” opened on Monday and is located inside an old hospital complex in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. Clients will find six new washers and dryers donated by

Whirlpool inside the space, along with ironing machines and detergent.

The Community of St. Egidio, a volunteer lay community based in Rome, is managing the laundry. In the coming months, the community plans to add more services to the space ― including showers, a barber, and medical services. 

The initiative, first reported on by the Italian daily La Stampa, was inspired by Pope Francis’ call “give concrete form to charity” at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

In an apostolic letter marking the end of that special year in the church calendar, Francis wrote, “The desire for closeness to Christ requires us to draw near to our brothers and sisters, for nothing is more pleasing to the Father than a true sign of mercy. By its very nature, mercy becomes visible and tangible in specific acts.”

Months after Pope Francis was elected as the head of the Catholic church, he gave a trusted archbishop, Konrad Krajewski, the task of handing out alms, or charity, to the poor. Krajewski has carried out that mission over the past few years by setting up showers and a barber shop inside the Vatican for the homeless. 

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