Pope Francis, flanked by Italian priest Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, holds a livestreamed weekly private audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on Jan. 20. (Photo: Vatican Media/AFP)
Pope Francis has talked out about the growing crisis of homelessness and prayed for a homeless man, who was found dead near St. Peter's Square, reportedly because of cold weather.
"Last Jan. 20, a few meters from St. Peter's Square, a 46-year-old Nigerian homeless man named Edwin was found dead because of the cold," the pope said during the Jan. 24 Angelus.
"His story was added to that of many other homeless people who recently died in Rome in the same dramatic circumstances. Let us pray for Edwin," Pope Francis said, according to Catholic News Agency.
"Let us think about Edwin. Let us think of what this man, 46 years old, felt in the cold, ignored by all, abandoned, even by us. Let us pray for him."
According to the Sant' Egidio charity group, Edwin was the fourth victim to die this year in Rome, which houses some 8,000 homeless people. Up to ten persons had died of cold in Rome since Nov. 10 last year.
Sant' Egidio and other papal charities scour Rome streets to guide homeless shelters and offer them blankets and food.
Many homeless persons spent the night at Bernini's colonnade, the semi-circular columns reaching up to St. Peter's Square.
The cold weather in Europe has increased the growing crisis of homelessness. Their numbers are rising due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 25 homeless people were given the first dose in the atrium of the Paul VI Audience Hall.
After the vaccination, they are housed in shelter homes of the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican department offering charitable assistance to the poor on behalf of the pope.