Pope Francis during the Holy Thursday celebration washed the feet of prison inmates at the Paliano detention center in Italy for former mafia members. As part of the mass celebration, the pontiff bent to wash and kiss the right foot of 12 inmates in commemoration of Jesus’ gesture of humility towards his 12 apostles on the night before he was crucified.
Two of the inmates, who participated in the ceremony are said to be serving life sentences while the remaining 10 are due to be released between 2019 and 2073.
According to the Vatican, three of the inmates were women and one was a born Muslim who had converted to Catholicism. The group consisted of 10 Italians, an Albanian and a prisoner from the pope’s homeland of Argentina.
According to the pope in his massage culled from AP, he said by washing the feet of inmates, he was willing to do ‘the work of a slave in order to sow love among us’ and urged the prisoners to help each other.
‘If you can do something, a service for your companions in prison, do it,’ he said, adding that ‘this is love … to be the servant of others.’
‘We are all sinners. We all have defects,’ the pope told the inmates during an improvised sermon broadcasted by Vatican Radio.