The Vatican is to provide free haircuts for the homeless on Mondays.
The service will start on February 16 and will be offered by volunteer hairdressers who usually have the day off on a Monday.
The move, organised by the pope’s almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, follows the installation of toilets and showers for the homeless in a renovated area behind the Vatican post office.
The archbishop explained that the idea came after he had been talking to a homeless man and discovered it was his 50th birthday. He invited the man to a restaurant for dinner, but the man declined, saying a restaurant would not let him in because he smelled.
The hairdressing and shaving service will be offered in the same area as the showers, under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square.
Archbishop Krajewski was appointed by Pope Francis as almoner in 2013. He had been a liturgical official at the Vatican but was also known for distributing food to the needy around the Vatican.
He told Vatican Insider that he had been inspired by Mother Teresa, at whose beatification he had assisted.
“We collect the food that is left over from the canteen or dining hall of the Swiss Guards [more than 100 guards] and the food that is left over from the Pope’s table, and take it to the poor and needy on the streets adjacent to the Vatican,” he said.
“We do this in order to touch Christ, who is on the street.”