ROME — The Vatican has opened a medical clinic at Pope Francis’ request adjacent to the shower stalls and barber shop that the pontiff already had opened next to the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.
As is usually the case for the pope’s charitable initiatives, the clinic was set up by Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the man appointed by Francis as his personal representative in aiding the poor.
Medical personnel will come from the Italian Association of Solidarity Medicine, the Health Care Fund, and the Policlinico Tor Vergata.
Lucia Ercoli, director of the association, thanked the pontiff for the new facility.
“We’re grateful to Pope Francis for wanting to once again give a concrete sign of mercy in St. Peter’s Square to the homeless or distressed,” she said.
She said that the doctors involved in the initiative have accepted with “great passion this new challenge, which ideally combines the work done in recent years in the suburbs with the heart of Christianity.”
Krajewski, head of the Office of Papal Charities, is the man behind the shower stalls and barbershop located to the right side of St. Peter’s Basilica. This facility also has a laundry and a linen service through which the poor can exchange their dirty clothes for clean clothes once a week.
Medical attention at the small ambulatory facility will be free and available on Mondays, the same day when some 150 homeless people go to the shower facilities.
According to Krajewski, who spoke to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, organizers haven’t ruled out the possibility of adding other days in the rotation because the number of homeless who use the facilities continues to grow.
“We are equipped to help all those who come knocking on our doors,” he said. “It’s Pope Francis who wants it. We who are close to him to help him in this endeavor destined to those in need are honored and highly motivated.”
The Office of Papal Charities was also responsible for finding a home for a 35-year old Romanian woman who gave birth on a cardboard box just outside St. Peter’s Square last January.