Pope Francis kisses the foot of a prison inmate during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for minors March 28. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Francis’ homily during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper, celebrated
at the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for
It is the
example set by Our Lord, it’s important for Him to wash their feet, because
among us the one who is highest up must be at the service of others. This is a
symbol, it is a sign washing your feet means I am at your service. And we are
too, among each other, but we don’t have to wash each other’s feet each day. So
what does this mean? That we have to help each other…sometimes I would get
angry with one someone, but we must let it go and if they ask a favor of do it!
Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what
I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty,
as a priest and bishop I must be at your service. But it is a duty that comes
from my heart and a duty I love. I love doing it because this is what the Lord
has taught me. But you too must help us and help each other, always. And thus
in helping each other we will do good for each other.
Catholic News Service has a report on
the Holy Thursday Mass, which was not open to the media:
During the evening Mass at Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for
minors, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 young people of different
nationalities and faiths, including at least two Muslims and two women, who are
housed at the juvenile detention facility. …
Vatican Radio reported that the pope knelt on both knees
before the youths, washed, dried and then kissed their feet.
The pope later exchanged the sign of peace -- a
hug and kiss -- with the young people whose feet he washed. He also distributed
Communion, which he had not been doing at more public Masses.
While media outlets were not allowed inside the
facility, Vatican Radio offered a live audio feed and the Vatican spokesman,
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, briefed reporters afterward. He said the
ritual was "extremely moving" because kneeling on both knees was very
demanding for a 76-year-old pope.
At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis greeted the
residents and 150 members of the prison staff and other guests in the gym.