Pope Francis to Open Homeless Shelter on Edge of Vatican City

Homeless men sleep just outside of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Nov. 13, 2014. Religion News Service photo by Josephine McKenna
Homeless men sleep just outside of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Nov. 13, 2014. Religion News Service photo by Josephine McKenna

Pope Francis will open a homeless shelter on the edge of Vatican City, the latest move by the pontiff to help poor people in Rome.

The shelter is under construction on Via Penitenzieri, just a few steps away from the Vatican walls, a Holy See spokeswoman said.

Once completed, the center will be run by volunteers, who will host 30 people at a time.

Setting up a shelter is just one of a few initiatives by Pope Francis to highlight the suffering of homeless people in the Italian capital.

Earlier this month, the pontiff donated money for two busloads of poor people to travel from Rome to see the Shroud of Turin, a cloth some believe Jesus was wrapped in after he was crucified. The pope will visit Turin on June 21 to see the shroud himself.

In March, Francis invited some 150 mostly homeless people to a private viewing of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel.

And in February, he asked that showers be set up for homeless people under the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican’s charity office began offering haircuts and shaves by professional volunteers, as part of the shower service.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Rosie Scammell

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