Pope opens free laundromat for Rome’s poor

Jesus does not ask that people only contemplate his image, but that they also recognize and love him concretely in all people who suffer like he did, Pope Francis said. Irons, detergent and other products needed for the service have also been donated.

Over the summer, Pope Francis is hoping to add further facilities, including a barbers, showers and medical services.

The free service will allow the poor – especially those without homes – to wash, dry and iron their clothes in the San Gallicano center run by the Sant’Egidio community, which is headquartered nearby.

“When the intertwining between technological power and economic power becomes closer, interests may condition lifestyles and social orientations in the direction of profits of certain industrial and commercial groups to the detriment of peoples and the poorest nations”, the pope said.

In 2014, the Pope and several volunteers distributed 400 sleeping bags with built-in hoods for warmth, printed with the Vatican’s coat of arms, to the homeless in Rome, according to The Times.

Two Swiss guards stand in front of St. Peter’s Basilica prior to a Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 9, 2017.

The pontiff has made people on the margins of society a central focus of his papacy, calling for the Catholic church clergy and congregations to help homeless people and refugees.

A new aspect this year, however, the conference also dedicated two days to a presentation of the prepatory document for the 2018 Synod of Bishops, which will discuss “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”. They have since moved out of the Vatican apartments to live independently. Last September at the canonization celebration for Mother Teresa, he invited 1,500 homeless people to travel to Rome and occupy seats of honor, and eat a free pizza lunch. Previous year he washed the feet of refugees at an asylum-seekers’ center in Castelnuovo di Porto.

Palm Sunday marks the start of a hectic week for the Pope, who on Thursday he visits a prison south of Rome to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, commemorating Jesus’ gesture of humility toward his apostles the night before he died.