Maundy Thursday: Pope washes the feet of prisoners

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Pope Francis will wash the feet of twelve inmates in prison near Rome today, Holy Thursday. In the evening, the head of the Catholic Church plans to perform the religious ritual at the Civitavecchia penitentiary near the capital.

It goes back to a gesture of Jesus Christ to his disciples at the Last Supper and is a sign of humility and attachment. In 2020 and 2021, the foot washing was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a release from the prison, Francis considers the visit to the prison a private appointment. Beforehand, Francis will celebrate the traditional Chrism Mass to consecrate the Holy Oils in St. Peter’s Basilica Thursday morning (9:30 a.m.).

“An act of great humility”

The Holy Thursday Mass opens Catholic celebrations commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It thus marks the prelude to Easter, the most important feast of Christianity.

“The washing of the feet is not a cyclical rite that repeats itself, but an act of great humility for those who perform it and for those who receive it. The water in the basin that Jesus uses is a living reminder of the baptismal water, a sign of unity and fraternity that also unites those who have committed crimes because no one can be excluded from the family of God,” said Father Raffaele Grimaldi, chief of chaplains in Italy’s penal institutions. There are 500 inmates serving sentences at Civitavecchia Prison.

  • source: orf.at/picture:
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