Pope to wash feet of young offenders23 March 2013
Pope Francis has again broken with Vatican protocol and has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Rome prison where he will wash the feet of young inmates.
The Vatican today said the Mass would take place at the Casal del Marmo Penal Institute for Minors rather than in St Peter's Basilica, as originally planned. A communique said the liturgy would be marked by "simplicity", according to the wishes of the new Pope.
"It is well known the Mass of the Lord's Supper is characterised by the proclamation of the commandment of love and the act of washing feet," today's announcement said. "During his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate this Mass in a prison, a hospital or a hospice for the poor and marginalised," it said, adding that as pope he wanted to continue this custom.
The last several popes have usually celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Rome's Cathedral-Basilica of St John Lateran and have washed the feet of 12 priests. But since the new pope has not yet taken possession of the church, officials had planned for him to hold the liturgy a St Peter's.
Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate the other Holy Week liturgies in the Vatican, beginning with the upcoming Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square. He is also sceduled to lead the Via Crucis at the Colosseum on the evening of Good Friday.
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