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Pontiff to perform Holy Thursday ritual of “feet washing” at a prison


In observance of the Holy Thursday Pope Francis will be washing feet of inmates at Rome’s central prison. The Vatican stated on Tuesday March 20, that the ritual will be performed on Holy Thursday March 29, at the Regina Coeli prison-Rome’s most well-known prison.

Holy Thursday Mass by Pope Francis

It was stated that the Pontiff will be celebrating evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper March 29 at the prison. During this ceremony he will wash feet of 12 inmates. This ritual commemorates the feet-washing done by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Lord Jesus washed feet of His twelve apostles prior to His arrest.

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On this occasion, the Pontiff will meet with the inmates and visit the sick prisoners in the prison’s sanatorium. This will be fourth time consecutively that the Pontiff will observe Holy Thursday liturgy at prisons or with old and sick people.

According to the scheduled plan announced by the Vatican, before the Mass, the Pope will call on the sick inmates in the prison infirmary. He will then celebrate the Mass and perform the feet washing rite in the prison’s central rotunda and, afterward, will meet some inmates in the prison’s Section VIII. This Section is the protected section of the prison. Inmates convicted of sexual crimes and other such inmates who are susceptible to danger in general population are confined in this section.

Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013, since then he has been celebrating the Holy Thursday liturgy in prisons or with old and sick people at their homes and not in a Rome basilica. The first Holy Thursday Mass of Pope Francis in a prison was on March 13, 2013, right after his election. He called on inmates at a juvenile prison of Casal del Marmo. In 2014, he visited elderly people at the “Don Gnocchi” center.

In 2015, the Pontiff celebrated Holy Thursday Mass at Rebibia prison, in 2016, he visited the center for asylum seekers at Castelnuovo di Porto. Last year the Pontiff visited the Frosinone’s Paliano prison. On all these occasions, while observing this rite the Pontiff chose to wash feet of women and non-Christians also.