The Pope has opened up a launderette for the homeless in Rome on Monday 10 April. Six brand new washers and dryers were installed at an old hospital in the city's Trastevere district.

The launderette is the latest in a line of initiatives aimed at improving the lives of homeless people living in and around Vatican City.

In 2015, a new homeless shelter for 34 men was opened inside the holy walls. The sleeping facilities arrived on the back of special showers, bathrooms and a barber shop that Pope Francis had committed to the homeless population.

"To want to be close to Christ demands to be near to our brothers, because nothing is more pleasing to the Father than a concrete sign of mercy," said the Pope.

By its very nature, mercy is made visible and tangible in concrete and dynamic action," he said, speaking at the end of 2016, which he declared to be the 'Year of Mercy'.

A statement from the Vatican said Pope Francis wanted to: "give a 'concrete' experience of the grace of the Jubilee Year of Mercy".

Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski told Crux: "This is another service that homeless people do not have easy access to. It is not easy for them to enter a normal shop because there may be a fear of customers catching something, like scabies, for example."

Palm Sunday
Pope Francis holds palm branches as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Italy Tony Gentile/Reuters