Pope Gives 300 Lost Umbrellas to the Homeless

Published: 07th February 2015 09:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2015 09:07 AM   |  A+A-

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The Pope has given 300 umbrellas to homeless people in Rome, in a week in which the city has been lashed by storms and torrential rain.

The umbrellas had been left behind by tourists visiting the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica.

Concern for the poor and marginalised has become one of the key themes of the Pope's papacy. Showers for people sleeping rough on the streets of Rome were formally opened yesterday (Friday) after being installed in a public lavatory block behind marble columns in St Peter's Square.

The installation of the three showers was the idea of the Pope's chief almsgiver, Konrad Krajewski, a Polish archbishop.

He came up with the plan after inviting a homeless Italian man to dinner one evening, only to be told by the 50-year-old: "I can't, because I stink."

The lavatory block is squeezed between a Vatican post office and the main entrance to the Apostolic Palace, a few hundred yards from the entrance of St Peter's Basilica. The homeless will also be able to get a haircut there - Msgr Krajewski has arranged for volunteer hairdressers to provide their services for free every Monday.

A week before Christmas, the Pope arranged for 400 sleeping bags bearing the Vatican's coat of arms to be donated to homeless people in the capital.

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