— -- In what has become an annual tradition for Pope Francis, the pontiff marked Holy Thursday by washing the feet of 12 inmates in a Rome prison.
Francis traveled to Rebibbia Prison today to celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper with inmates. During the liturgy, he washed the feet of 12 inmates there, reported Vatican Radio.
Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy or Great Thursday, is the traditional celebration of Jesus’ last super with his apostles as told in the Gospels of the New Testament. It comes during the church’s holiest week of the year, between Palm Sunday and Easter.
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus washed his apostles’ feet at the Last Super (13: 2-17).
Last year, the pope washed feet at a mass held a rehabilitation facility for the elderly and those with disabilities. The year prior, Francis performed the ritual at juvenile detention center. Francis broke with tradition there, washing the feet of women instead of just men.
On his first Holy Thursday as pope in 2013, Francis encouraged priests not to be just managers, but to go to the "’outskirts’ where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight.”
Pope Francis will celebrate Good Friday by leading thousands in the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in a tradition that dates back to the 18th century.