In observance of Holy Thursday, a day on which Catholic priests and bishops throughout the world recreate Jesus washing and kissing the feet of his Apostles at the Last Supper, Pope Francis did the same to a dozen juvenile inmates at a detention center in Rome, including Jewish, Muslim and two women detainees.
Before the 12 juveniles, Pope Francis kneeled on a stone floor, poured water over their feet, dried them with a towel, and then kissed each foot.
“This is a symbol, it is a sign — washing your feet means I am at your service,” the new Pope told the detainees. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.”
According to Fox News Latino, this is the first time a Pope has ever kissed the foot of a woman.
As an archbishop in Argentina, Pope Francis used Holy Thursday as an opportunity to wash the feet of those in prisoners and the sick — including AIDS patients.
USA Today reports that this is a break from Papal tradition. In the past, Popes would carry out this ritual with only male priests in a “grand basilica.”
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