pope francis feet wash: Pope Francis washes and kisses feet of 12 women prisoners in per-Easter ritual during a Holy Thursday ceremony

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Pope Francis carried out a heartfelt gesture by washing and kissing the feet of 12 women inmates at a Rome prison during a Holy Thursday ceremony. This act highlighted his dedication to service and humility.

The 87-year-old pontiff, facing mobility challenges due to recent health concerns, conducted the ritual from his wheelchair. The venue at Rebibbia prison was specially arranged to facilitate his movements, with the women seated on raised stools for easy access.

Tears flowed as the Pope washed the women’s feet, delicately pouring water over each foot and drying it with care. He concluded the ceremony by kissing each foot, sharing smiles with the women.

Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates of the female section of Rebibbia Prison during a Holy Thursday ritual, in RomeReuters

Why Pope washes feet?

The Holy Thursday foot-washing tradition commemorates Jesus washing the feet of his 12 apostles at their last supper before his crucifixion. Since assuming the papacy in 2013, Francis has modernized the practice by including women and individuals of diverse faiths.

In his homily, Francis underscored the significance of the ritual, stating, “Jesus humiliates himself… He teaches us the path of service.”

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Despite a long Mass earlier in the day, the Pope seemed invigorated during his visit to Rebibbia prison. He received gifts of vegetables from the prison garden and two liturgical stoles crafted by the inmates. In return, Francis presented the inmates with a framed image of the Madonna and a large chocolate Easter egg for one of their children.While the Holy Thursday events concluded, Pope Francis faces a packed schedule leading up to Easter. His upcoming engagements include the Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum on Friday, the Easter Vigil and Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, and the traditional Urbi et Orbi address.(Inputs from agencies)

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