The queue in front of the Cologne Seminary in the Kardinal-Frings-Straße is a long one. About eighty homeless wait in the spring sunshine that the very heavy door opens. Most of them run everything with what you have: A backpack, two plastic bags, and a dog. Yellow lines on the floor mark the distance from the vehicle in front. The group in front of the Seminar is to be disciplined – even if it is for outsiders seems that it was just slow.

At the gate of the Archbishop of Cologne, welcomed the guests personally and individually to occur. Cardinal Woelki had promised last week to open the house for the homeless – against concerns in their own ranks. Now he is all the happier that the offer is accepted: “We have always wanted a full Seminar,” laughs the Archbishop behind his Mouth guard.

guests and helpers should not be infected, therefore, strict hygiene rules apply. “The fact that so many people are here, you realize how serious the situation is,” he adds seriously. Many other facilities, where the homeless, otherwise, might eat, were closed due to the Corona-crisis. Also in the otherwise bustling city centre of Cologne to the Seminary around it became empty. The few people that would have otherwise taken you a few cents for the homeless to be left, be in the home office, the cardinal said.

Lack of Hygiene: For the homeless fatal

Josef can’t go to the home office. With his bright blue rain jacket and black backpack, he is every day one of the first in the queue. Not only the warm lunch for him is a reason to come to the Seminary, but also the Hygiene: “The first rule is now washing ‘hands’, say it all. But how do I do that without running water?”

Many of the Restaurants, or toilets, where he can wash otherwise, are now closed. For the Weakest of the Weak, the lack of Hygiene can be fatal. They are part of the risk group – not so much by age as by their bad health. Many bring with them several diseases, or have through the years on the road with a weak immune system. You have the Virus has an easy game.

Hygiene is strictly respected

Therefore, Joseph and the other guests of the helpers in the Seminary will be guided to the sink. Hands before eating duty – at least 20 seconds washing. Many of the guests do that automatically. The few to which this rule is not yet around, to take you willingly.

Saturday is Bathing day, and the homeless can take a shower in the Seminary. The former swimming pool in the basement of the house is sober for years – and now the Maltese have to take the showers for the next few weeks again.

The Catholic relief service also assures the Hygiene during the distribution of food in the Seminary. Neither guests nor the helpers to plug in. It will be strictly respected. The tables are washed after each guest and disinfected before they are again occupied. Mask and gloves are a Must for the helpers.

flowers, peace and a warm meal

Joseph was led to one of the twenty tables with a view of the courtyard of the Seminary. The sun shines through the floor-to-ceiling window on its place. “It’s warm, there’s something to eat, there is a toilet and even a flower on the table. What I want more?”, he says, as the well-filled plate of lasagna in front of him. For each of the Homeless, there is a dessert, fruit and a bottle of water.

Many of the guests enjoy the tranquility and the views of the first spring flowers in the courtyard of the Seminary. Who has eaten, you must make the table, but quickly, because the invitation is accepted day-to-day of more Apartment. In the first week, the number of guests has increased from sixty to over one hundred.

The “typical homeless” does not exist

Bishop Ansgar Puff is happy the. Together with the Franciscan nun there, sister Christina Small, he cares not only in Corona times to the homeless in the city centre of Cologne.

It is a sort of community that is gathered here, says sister Christina. As the Archbishop, the two every day and help. The Bishop, the nun, many of the guests personally and welcome you by name.

a family with a Baby in a stroller comes by every day to eat. The “typical homeless” is not there – you can feel that quickly. But the need for food and Hygiene have all of the food at the Seminary.

young people lend a hand to

Josef clears his table for the next guest and will be accompanied by one of the helpers to the door – with a corresponding distance in the times of the contact constraints. That have found so many helpers, says Joseph. It is mainly students who use their semester break now to help.

Among them are theology students from Bonn, and the newly established Cologne-based school of theology in Sankt Augustin. Young people from the youth Church, “Crux” in the Severin district to the pack as well as young priests and candidates for the priesthood. For the next few weeks, have found enough helping hands.

An end is in sight

“our young people we can rely on,” had cardinal said Woelki, a week ago, as he announced after the Sunday mass in the Cathedral, to open the Seminary. The commitment of many helpers and the number of homeless people prove him right. In the next few weeks, the Seminary for the guests to remain open.

Josef has not yet provided with a home office, but at least once a day, a table and enough soap against the Virus.

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*The post “Joseph is a risk patient who lives on the street – now he finds in priests” is a refuge published by DOMRADIO.DE. Contact with the executives here.