According to tradition the Pope is expected to wash the feet of the poor a day before Good Friday, but Pope Francis, who has shattered quite a few stereotypes during his term as the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, is going one step further by facilitating showers for the poor at Vatican.
The Vatican Insider reported that Pope Francis has approved the construction of three showers within the public restrooms for the pilgrims along the marble columns leading to the historic Basilica, which was completed in 1626. The work for the same would begin on 17 November. The showers dedicated to the homeless, would give them a place to wash and change clothes under St Peter's colonnades.
The move comes after an interaction the Papal Almoner Bishop Konrad Krajewski had with a homeless man, Franco, from Sardinia. Early in October, when Bishop Krajewski had asked Franco to dinner to celebrate his 50th birthday, the homeless man refused. He said, "Father, I can't go to the restaurant with you because I smell."
"I took him with me nonetheless. We went to a Chinese restaurant. During dinner, he explained to me that you can always find some food in Rome. What is missing is places to wash," the Papal Almoner explained.
Franco related the issues of the homeless in Rome to him: while no one would starve to death in Rome, the biggest need for every homeless man is a shower.
Bishop Krajewski brought the matter to the Pope's attention immediately and with his consent took to alleviating the shower troubles of the homeless at Vatican. Ten parishes in Rome, which are frequented by the homeless, have already been installed with showers, under the instruction of Pope's Almoner.
Known popularly as Father Conrad, Bishop Krajewski has been taking provisions and aid to those who live on the streets for years and it is his ability to feel for the less fortunate that is said to have inspired Pope Francis to trust him with his Almonry.