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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)

From Pope Francis’ homily during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper, celebrated at the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors:

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.

 

 
About the Author
Catherine Harmon catherine.harmon@catholicworldreport.com

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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