Earlier today in Rome, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who has perhaps the coolest title at the Vatican — the papal almoner, i.e. the fellow in charge of administering charity on behalf of Pope Francis — announced that public restrooms in St. Peter’s Square soon will include showers where the homeless can bathe.
According to Catholic News Service:
Several people living on the streets of Rome or in tents say it is not difficult to find a parish or charity that will give them something to eat, but finding a place to wash is much more difficult.
Barbara, a Polish woman who lives in a tent with her teenage son and a companion, said showers in the Vatican’s public restrooms “would be good. We’d thank them if it works.”
Her companion, who calls himself Stefano, said: “I’m a mason without work. I’ll help them build it. No problem.”
The public showers are part of renovations already planned for restroom facilities in St. Peter’s Square and set to begin Nov. 17.
Krajewski said the three shower stalls would be located in the public restrooms a few steps north of Bernini’s Colonnade, just behind the Vatican post office, according to Catholic News Service, which also reports:
The archbishop told Vatican Insider that in early October he was talking to a homeless man near the Vatican and discovered it was the man’s 50th birthday. He invited the man to a restaurant for dinner, but the man declined, saying a restaurant would not let him in because of his odor.