Naples: Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner and Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, has inaugurated the fifth laundromat dedicated to Pope Francis.
The service is managed by the Community of St. Egidio and follows in the footsteps of other centers opened across Italy—Rome in 2017, Genoa in 2019, and two laundromats in Turin opened last November—and enjoys the backing of Procter & Gamble in collaboration with Haier Europe.
Washing machines, dryers, and shower facilities have been set up in the heart of Naples, at the “House of Friendship” in the Church of Saints Philip and James.
“It is a further possibility,” says Cardinal Krajewski, “to draw near to wounded humanity, a way to show the presence and closeness of God to the least.”
“With the Laundromat,” he emphasizes in an interview Benedetta Ferone, head of the service for the homeless of the Community of St. Egidio, “we want to provide a physical place where help can be asked for and rebirth can occur. To date, more than 300 people among those we have welcomed have left the streets, finding families, homes, and jobs again. We want to promote a new way of looking at the poor in Naples too.”
Since the beginning of 2024, two homeless people have died in Naples: one man was a victim of a fire in a garage, and on New Year’s Day a man named Karim died at night just a few meters from Piazza del Plebiscito, where the concert for the end of 2023 was taking place.
“We cannot even image,” reaffirms the spokesperson of Sant’Egidio, Antonio Mattone, “the life of hardship of those who live on the streets as a problem of urban decay. But, we must commit, each in our own way, to making the city more humane.”
During this period of intense cold, the Community is also engaged in bringing hot meals and blankets in the evening to the most populous neighborhoods of Naples, from Fuorigrotta to Vomero, from the eastern part of the city to the Campi Flegrei.