August 1, 2014
Francis washes feet of 12 elderly, disabled
In the traditional Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 disabled people in commemoration of Jesus' gesture of humility towards his apostles on the night before he died.
Francis visited Don Gnocchi centre in Rome's Casal del Marmo area and washed the feet of people of different ages, religions and ethnicities, not only priests as it was customary for his predecesors in the Vatican, continuing a tradition he started as archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The 12 disabled people ranged from 16 to 86 years of age, and included three foreigners, one of them a muslim boy.
"Jesus made a gesture, a job, the service of a slave, a servant," Francis said. "And he leaves this inheritance to us: We need to be servants to one another."
The Pontiff, who went through significant trouble each time he had to kneel and stand up again, washed, dryed and kissed the feet of each of the 12 people.