Pope Francis Celebrates Easter In An Unusual Way
As part of the preparation for the Easter celebrations, the Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 refugees on Thursday, March 24 2016 at a migrant center in Castelnuovo di Porto just outside Rome, Italy.
The gesture is a part of the Holy Thursday celebrations before Easter and the act is symbolic to the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples shortly before he was crucified.
In line with setting a good example, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees and declared them all children of the same God even as he emphasised solidarity with other faiths.
Several of the migrants then wept as Francis knelt before them, poured holy water from a brass pitcher over their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them.
Previously, Vatican rules had called for only men to participate in the foot-washing ritual, and previous popes and many priests traditionally performed it on 12 Catholic men, symbolising Jesus’ 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood.
But the Vatican said on Thursday that four women and eight men took part. The women included an Italian Catholic who works at the centre and three Eritrean Coptic Christian migrants.
The men included four Catholics from Nigeria, three Muslims from Mali, Syria and Pakistan and a Hindu man from India.