Pope Francis to wash Rome prisoners’ feet while celebrating Holy Thursday Mass
Pope Francis will wash the feet of prisoners in a youth detention centre in Rome while he will celebrate Mass on Holy Thursday, the Vatican has said.
The Vatican says the pontiff is continuing a pre-Easter practice that began when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Normally feet-washing Masses before Easter are held in the Vatican or a Rome basilica.
However, Pope Benedict XVI held a feet-washing Mass at the same Casal del Marmo youth detention centre in Rome in 2007.
Pope Francis will stage his feet-washing ceremony at Casal del Marmo on the afternoon of March 28.
The washing of feet on the Thursday before Easter is a Christian tradition dating back to the time of Christ.
During the service, the pontiff washes and kisses the feet of 12 people to replicate the Bible’s account of Jesus Christ’s gesture of humility towards his 12 apostles on the night before he was crucified.
“With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue this custom, which is characterized by its humble context,” a statement by the Vatican said.
It said that Pope Francis would also celebrate Mass earlier on Holy Thursday in St Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis has called for the Roman Catholic Church to be closer to ordinary people, especially the poor and disadvantaged.