Pope Francis Opens Free Laundry Service In Rome For The City’s Homeless

But his plans don't stop there.

Pope Francis is making good on a declaration he made at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in November 2016 to give "concrete form to charity." 

On Monday, April 10, the Catholic Church opened a laundry service in Rome where poor and homeless people can wash, dry, and iron their clothes and blankets free of charge. As reported by The Huffington Post, the laundromat, which has been dubbed "The Pope's Laundry," is equipped with six new washers and dryers all donated by Whirlpool, and is managed by The Community of St. Egidio, a volunteer lay community based in the Italian capital.

According to La Stampa — an Italian paper — the laundromat is located inside an old hospital complex in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood, and also boasts irons and detergent. The Catholic Church plans to add showers, a barber, and medical services to the facility as well, not unlike the showers and barber shop Pope Francis opened inside the Vatican a few years ago.

In an apostolic letter marking the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the church calendar, Pope 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."

Pope Francis, who is widely thought to be more open than any of his predecessors, also made news earlier this month when he welcomed Luxembourg's openly gay Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and his husband Gauthier Destenay to The Vatican. The couple was part of a gathering of European heads of state who were on hand to honor the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the  European Economic Community (a predecessor to the European Union). The warm welcome they received was reported around the globe as an important indication of the Vatican's developing stance on LGBT rights.

After being asked about gay priests in the church back in 2013, Pope Francis famously replied, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

Cover image via Shutterstock / giulio napolitano.


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