News / Europe

Female Juvenile Detainees Get Feet Washed by Pope

Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome, March 28, 2013.
Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome, March 28, 2013.
VOA News
Pope Francis has washed and kissed the feet of two young women, along with 10 males, in a Holy Thursday ceremony at a juvenile detention center in Rome.

The Roman Catholic pope's Holy Thursday ritual has been traditionally limited to men, representing the 12 apostles whose feet the Bible says Jesus washed at the Last Supper before his crucifixion.

Taking the ceremony to a youth prison is also a papal first.

Previous popes have carried out the feet washing ritual at Rome's St. John Lateran basilica.

Pope Francis was installed two weeks ago. The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina took the name Francis after Saint Francis of Assisi, a humble saint who is associated with helping the poor.

  • Catholic worshippers celebrate Good Friday inside the Our Lady of Aparecida Basilica in Aparecida do Norte, Sao Paulo, March 29, 2013.
  • People attend the 18th annual 'Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge Ceremony' in New York, March 29, 2013.
  • A worker lights a cross before Pope Francis leads a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession during Good Friday celebrations in front of the Colosseum in Rome, March 29, 2013.
  • Pope Francis attends the Celebration of the Lord's Passion in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 29, 2013.
  • Penitents of the Jesus Yacente brotherhood take part in a Holy Week procession in Zamora, northern Spain, March 28, 2013.
  • David Carnell, center, plays the part of Jesus Christ during a "Journey to the Cross" procession while celebrating Good Friday in Sydney, Australia, March 29, 2013.
  • Tourists watch as penitents, bloodied after self-flagellation, walk during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga province, Philippines, March 29, 2013.
  • Ruben Enaje, who was portrayed as Jesus Christ 27 times, as a nail is removed from his hand after being crucified during Good Friday rituals in San Pedro Cutud, Philippines, March 29, 2013.
  • An Indian Christian prays at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Good Friday in Hyderabad, India, March 29, 2013.
  • An Indonesian Christian devotee carries a bamboo cross as he walks with others during a Good Friday procession in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia, March 29, 2013.
  • Catholics carry a cross at a street parade during a special Good Friday mass in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 29, 2013.
  • Members of the Catholic clergy hold candles as they take part in a procession at the Washing of the Feet ceremony during Holy Week in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, March 28, 2013.
  • People take photos of a Jesus Christ statue at the end of a Holy Week mass at the Church of Divine Mercy in Panama City, Panama, March 28, 2013.
  • An indigenous woman walks at Canaan fair, which is part of Holy Week events in Ayacucho, Peru, March 28, 2013.
  • Catholics hold candles during the Way of the Cross re-enactment in a Holy Week procession, Luque, Paraguay, March 27, 2013.

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