Humble: Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates for Holy Thursday – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Humble: Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates for Holy Thursday




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Pope Francis has spoke about how he wants to become a servant of society’s neediest when he presided at a Holy Thursday Mass.

The pope gave his message after he washed and kissed the feet of twelve men and women who are currently serving long sentences in a Roman prison. The mass marks the third consecutive year, that Pope Francis decided not hold the traditional service in a basilica, but instead chose to wash the feet of people on the margins of society which for the first time included women. The inclusion of women is regarded as a landmark occasion as none of the pope’s predecessors washed the feet of women they only incleded men in the service, which commemorates Jesus’ gesture of humility towards his Twelve Apostles on the night before he died.

Pope Francis attended the prison were he knelt before the six male and six female inmates, poured water over each prisoner’s right foot, dried it with a cloth and kissed it. One of the inmates, an African woman with tears in her eyes, held her child on her lap and the pope washed the child’s foot. However the Pope’s decision to include women and a non Christian Muslim woman in the group has upset a number of conservative Catholics. The pope gave his message in the chapel of Rebibbia prison on on the outskirts of Rome, where he told inmates that since slaves washed the feet of their masters in Biblical times, the event symbolised service to others and spiritual cleansing. Pope Francis  told the inmates that he too needed personal cleansing and wanted “to become more of a slave in the service of people”.

The occasion marks the start of a  four-day period one of the busiest for Pope Francis who is the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

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