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Pope Francis opens two new laundromats for the homeless

November 5, 2023 Catholic News Agency 3
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, after cutting the ribbon on a new “Pope’s Laundromat” for the homeless. / Credit: Holy See Press Office

Rome Newsroom, Nov 5, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis opened two new laundromats for the homeless in the northern Italian city of Turin on Thursday, Nov. 2. 

The new facilities are part of an initiative launched in collaboration with the international consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and the consumer electronics company Haier Europe, with the assistance of the Community of Sant’Egidio and Apostolic Almsgiving, the papal office of charitable activity. 

“With the two new laundries inaugurated in Turin we hope to be able to help many people in difficulty to improve their living conditions, starting from the possibility of taking care of their personal hygiene and that of their clothing,” said Riccardo Calvi, communications director for Procter & Gamble Italia.

The laundromats are located in the parish of San Giorgio Martire and the La Sosta welcome center in Turin’s city center and are operated by volunteers of Sant’Egidio.

The new facilities include washers and dryers donated by Haier as well as detergent. In addition to the laundry services, there are hot showers, and a full range of personal hygiene products will be available, such as shampoo, conditioners, body washes, razors, and shaving creams provided by Procter & Gamble. 

These services are “offered free of charge to the poorest people, in particular those without a fixed abode,” Calvi said. 

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, joins future clients on the new papal laundromats for lunch. Credit: Holy See Press Office
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, joins future clients on the new papal laundromats for lunch. Credit: Holy See Press Office

This is not the first such project that the pope has launched in Italy. In 2015 Pope Francis launched a barbershop for the poor, a service run by volunteers, to help provide essential grooming services for Rome’s indigent and homeless. 

This effort was followed by the first “Pope’s Laundromat,” which opened in Rome in 2017 and a second one in the Ligurian port city of Genoa in 2019. 

This initiative was born out of Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera, which was released at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. 

“The Church must always be vigilant and ready to identify new works of mercy and to practice them with generosity and enthusiasm,” the letter reads.

“Let us make every effort, then, to devise specific and insightful ways of practicing charity and the works of mercy. Mercy is inclusive and tends to spread like wildfire in a way that knows no limits. Hence we are called to give new expression to the traditional works of mercy,” it continues. 

“[This initiative] is a concrete and tangible sign supported by the Apostolic Charity Office: A place and a service to give concrete form to charity and at the same time intelligence to the works of mercy to restore dignity to many people,” a press release said.

New washers and dryers at the recently opened papal laundromat in Torino, Italy. Credit: Holy See Press Office
New washers and dryers at the recently opened papal laundromat in Torino, Italy. Credit: Holy See Press Office

Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski has been at the helm of the pope’s charitable initiatives since becoming papal almoner in 2013.  

“When we help the poorest and most vulnerable, we are truly Christians, because we are the means of the Gospel,” Krajewski said. 

“This initiative, which is repeated over time, is a source of joy for me because this is a further possibility of being close to wounded humanity, a way to demonstrate the presence and closeness of God to the last,” he said.


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Pope Francis: ‘The cross of Christ remains the anchor of salvation’

September 21, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
General audience with Pope Francis on St. Peter’s Square, Vatican, Sept. 21, 2022 / Pablo Esparza / CNA

Rome Newsroom, Sep 21, 2022 / 04:05 am (CNA).

Reflecting on his recent trip to Kazakhstan, Pope Francis on Wednesday said that offering Mass for the feast of the Holy Cross surrounded by the capital city of Nur-Sultan’s “ultra-modern architecture” led him to think about the meaning of the cross today. 

“In a world in which progress and regression are intertwined, the cross of Christ remains the anchor of salvation,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 21.

Speaking at his Wednesday general audience, the pope underlined that the cross is “a sign of hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the love of God, merciful and faithful.”

Pope Francis said his Sept. 13–15 visit to the Central Asian country reminded him of Kazakhstan’s many martyrs who “suffered so much for the faith during the long period of persecution: murdered, tortured, imprisoned for the faith.”

“And credit … must be given to the Kazakh government, which, having freed itself from the yoke of the atheistic regime, now proposes a path of civilization clearly condemning fundamentalism and extremism,” he said.

The primary purpose of the pope’s trip to Kazakhstan was to take part in an interreligious conference, the Seventh Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

On the final day of the congress, delegates representing the world’s major religions voted to adopt a declaration calling religious pluralism an expression “of the wisdom of God’s will in creation.”

Pope Francis said that the congress aimed to put “religions at the center of efforts to build a world where we listen to each other and respect each other in diversity.”

“And this is not relativism,” he added. “It is listening and respecting.”

Throughout his trip last week, the pope repeatedly appealed for dialogue and peace in the “senseless and tragic war” in Ukraine. At the end of his general audience, the pope repeated his appeal, expressing solidarity with the “noble and martyred” Ukrainian people.

The pope said this envoy in Ukraine, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, called him yesterday and described “the pain of the people, the savage actions, the monstrosities, and the tortured corpses that had been found.”

He was likely referring to Krajewski’s recent visit to a mass grave in Izium, Ukraine, where 146 bodies, mostly civilians, have been exhumed so far. 

Pope Francis praying at the general audience, Sept. 21, 2022. Pablo Esparza / CNA
Pope Francis praying at the general audience, Sept. 21, 2022. Pablo Esparza / CNA

Pope Francis also highlighted World Alzheimer’s Day, noting that the disease “affects so many people who, because of this condition, are often placed on the margins of society.”

“We pray for Alzheimer’s patients, their families and their loving caregivers, that they will be increasingly supported and helped,” he said.