Sistine Chapel Closes for Tourists, Opens for the Homeless

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums, Rome.

Pope Francis surprised the world by inviting homeless men and women to the Sistine Chapel. But it gets better: he treated them to a private viewing with an unannounced visit last Thursday, CNA reports.

Home to Michelangelo’s celebrated frescoes, the tourist attraction in Vatican City closed its doors to visitors 90 minutes early in order to host a guided tour of the chapel and adjoining Vatican museums and gardens for a group of 150 dispossessed men and women.

Pope Francis, who’s known for his work for the poor, welcomed the homeless and greeted each of them individually. “This is a house for everyone, this is your home. The doors are always open to all,” he told them, adding “Pray for me, I need the prayers of people like you.”

Cameras and photographers were prohibited. At the end of the tour the group was invited to dinner in the restaurant of the Vatican Museums.

Since his election, Pope Francis has launched a number of charitable initiatives for the poor, enacted by Archbishop Krajewski. Earlier this year showers were installed in St. Peter’s Square to be used by people who live on the streets. To mark his 78th birthday, the Pope distributed 400 sleeping bags to the homeless.


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