The National Catholic Review

In a powerful symbolic gesture that is sure to resonate across the globe from Europe to the United States and Australia, Pope Francis will wash the feet of 12 refugees on Holy Thursday in Rome.

He will do so on March 24, at a center that assists migrants in the city. The Vatican has not yet disclosed the venue.

The breaking news comes at a time when many politicians in Europe, the United States and elsewhere are calling for the closing of the doors of their countries to refugees and migrants. Several governments in Europe, including Austria, Poland, Hungary and Macedonia, have or are in process of closing their frontiers or building barriers or walls to what they perceive as a tidal wave of migrants and refugees from war-torn Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East and Africa. The question of immigration is at the center of political debate in the United States and Australia, as well as in Germany, where yesterday many voters cast their ballot against the more humanitarian approach of Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is an issue that is not going to disappear as long as the wars continue and dire poverty forces people to leave their homes and the countries of their birth.

Pope Francis believes in preaching the Gospel by deeds as much as by words, and he has emphasized this especially during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. His symbolic gestures this year, as in the past, come from the depth of his heart and are aimed at highlighting particular areas of great concern for humanity, in the hope of awakening consciences.

The son of Italian immigrants, he is deeply concerned about the dramatic plight of migrant and refugees, and in his first journey outside the Vatican after becoming pope he visited the island of Lampedusa, near Sicily, “to weep” for the some 20,000 migrants that have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in recent years as they sought to reach the shores of Europe in search of refuge.

Since becoming pope, Francis has repeatedly drawn the world’s attention to this dramatic problem, as he did recently in Ciudad Juarez, at the border between Mexico and the United States. He is appealing to governments to respond with humanity and open their hearts to the biggest wave of refugees since the Second World War.

He has also called on the churches in Europe and the United States to respond with generosity to this humanitarian crisis. Last September, he asked every Catholic parish in Europe to give hospitality to one refugee family, and he set the example by instructing that the Vatican’s two parishes do likewise. Right now, two refugee families have a home in the Vatican, while many parishes across Europe have also given refuge to these people who have fled war and poverty in the hope of a new future. His gesture on Holy Thursday next week reinforces his call.

This is the fourth time since becoming pope that Francis has celebrated Holy Thursday in Rome. Three years ago, on March 28, weeks after his election, he surprised the world by being the first pope to carry out the ritual of the washing of the feet not in the Vatican, but in a juvenile detention center, on the outskirts of the city. There, at the Casal di Marmo prison for minors, he washed the feet of 12 young men and women, including a Muslim woman. His gesture in washing the feet of women upset several in the Vatican and in church leadership circles, but it was warmly welcomed by the overwhelming majority of the faithful and people of other religions across the globe.

In 2014 he performed this symbolic ritual at the Don Gnocchi center in Rome for the elderly and disabled and again washed the feet of women. He did likewise last year in Rome’s maximum security prison of Rebibbia and told the 300 inmates gathered in the prison chapel—and the thousands of others following on jumbo-TV screens—that “Jesus never grows tired of loving us.”

At the end of last year, the Vatican announced that Francis has issued a decree changing the norms for the ritual of the washing of the feet. Up to the time of his election, women were excluded from this, but now he has opened the door so that bishops and priests in every diocese can wash the feet of women, too, on Holy Thursday.

It should be remembered that Francis did not start this practice of washing the feet in prisons or other places outside the church when he became pope. In actual fact, it was his normal practice as archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998-2013) where he carried out the Holy Thursday ritual in prisons, hospitals and slums, but the world did not notice then.


rakhaa rca | 5/21/2016 - 7:13am

تعتبر العاب تلبيس من اشهر الانواع في هذا المجال وهي بدورها تتضمن عدة اصناف جميلة ويعشقها الكتير وخاصة البنات منها العاب تلبيس ومكياج التي تمزج بين التلبيس وكذلك الميك اب في آن واحد هذا الامر الدي يزيد من جمالها وتجعل كل من يلعبها يستمتع بذلك زد على ذلك العاب تلبيس باربي التي تعرف شعبية كبيرة لانها شخصية مشهورة ويعرفها الصغير والكبير ولهم ذكريات جميلة معها لانها اشتهرت في عالم الكارتون والان اصبح الامر كذلك في مجال الالعاب وغير هذا هناك كذلك نوع آخر مميز ايضا وهو العاب تلبيس عرائس فالجميع يحلم ان يقوم بتلبيسهما لانها تذكرهم بهذه المناسبة الجميلة الا وهي الزواج التي تعتبر اهم مرحلة في حياة الانسان وهناك انواع مغايرة لها جمهور كبير في كل انحاء العالم وهي العاب قص الشعر ليس هي فقط بل توجد ايضا العاب طبخ التي يمكن للجميع لعبها سواء كانوا اولادا او بناتا وهي الاكتر طلبا في النت ويحبها الجميع ومعها ايضا العاب باربي التي تكلمنا عليها بكل انواعها تتنوع العاب فلاش وذلك على حسب كل شخص ورغبته فهناك عدة انواع منها وهناك من هي خاصة بالبنات واخرى للاولاد وتعتبر العاب تلبيس من اكتر الالعاب انتشارا في الويب وهي محبوبة عند الجميع ولديها جمهور واسع كما انها سهلة اللعب والجميع يمكنه لعبها بسهولة تامة بدون صعوبات تذكر كما ان هناك انواع اخرى متل العاب طبخ والعاب اكشن ومكياج و سيارات الى غير ذلك فلك صنف جمهوره ومحبيه ولكن تبقى العاب بنات الاكتر انتشارا وشعبيتنا في عالم العاب الفلاش كما انها تحتوي على شخصيات معروفة وغنية عن التعريف متل باربي و سندريلا وشخصيات اخرى تركت بصمتها في هذا المجال لهذا اصبح يعتمد عليها كتيرا في صنف العاب تلبيس بنات الدي تحبه البنات بكترة خاصة في العالم العربي مما يجعل المواقع الخاصة بهذا النوع تزداد يوما بعد الاخر فذلك ليس عبثا ففي الحقيقة نوع العاب التلبيس من اجمل اصناف العاب فلاش بصفة عامة و العاب بنات بصفة خاصة
اليوم لقد اتيتكم بموقع رائع انا اعجبني شخصيا وهو يحتوي على باقة من العاب بنات جديدة ومتجدد دائما ولمن لا يعرف العاب بنات فهي العاب فلاش تلعب على المتصفح بدون تحميل وتلعب مباشرة والعاب البنات هي بدورها فيها عدة اصناف وهي العاب الماكياج وفي هذا النوع يجب وضع الماكياج للبنت الموجودة في اللعبة وهناك كتير منها ويوجد كذلك العاب طبخ وهذا الصنف عنده محبين اكتر من السابق بفارق كبير وهو المميز عند الجميع سواء كانو بناتا او اولادا وايضا الصغار يلعبون فيه كتيرا وهو الاكتر انتشارا في النت ومواقعه كتيرة ويوجد صنف آخر وهو اقل منه قليلا في الشهرة وهو صنف التلبيس هذا الصنف ايضا يعشقه كتير من البنات وعدد قليل من الاولاد وكل صنف من هذه الاصناف توجد به العاب خاصة بشخصية معينة مشهورة فمتلا باربي ستجدها في جميع هذه الاصناف متلا العاب تلبيس باربي او العاب طبخ باربي او العاب ماكياج باربي وهكذا وهناك شخصيات كتيرة في هذه الالعاب وهي الاكتر شهرة طبعا عن باقي الشخصيات الغير معروفة وهذا الموقع يقدم جميع هذه الاصناف التي تندرج تحت نوع العاب بنات فمرحبا بكم جميعا


Bill Mazzella | 3/23/2016 - 7:50am

Amazing how many would still object to Jesus meeting the woman at the well, not condemning the woman that the Pharisees did, praising the Samaritan over the chosen (baptized). How insular and ungenerous we have become. Which is a result of the Church of Dogma over the Church of the Beatitudes. Bravo Francis. Teach us the way

Kerry Fritz II | 3/22/2016 - 12:00pm

says you are 666=protons-electrons-neutrons=carbon. @Email w- Peace in the subject line for your A4V Strawman Redemption Jubilee - the fake Pope is hiding allah your money.

Josh Hogan | 3/16/2016 - 10:54am

Considering that none of the disciples were "Christians" at the time that Jesus washed their feet, I don't think it's a problem if non-Christians are involved in this ceremony. Christians shouldn't ONLY serve Christians. We have to be the light of the world, not hiding under our comfortable bushel baskets.

Kerry Fritz II | 3/22/2016 - 12:03pm

says you are 666=protons-electrons-neutrons=carbon. satans of Revelation 3:9; whereas
I am The ElectChurch@Philadelphia of Revelation 3:6-13 which surrounds sounds allah ewes.
@Email w- 'peace' in the subject line for your A4V Strawman Redemption Jubilee.

William Rydberg | 3/15/2016 - 8:53am

Although I am no Bishop, my reading of the passage in the Bible talks about Jesus washing his disciples feet. Do we know if all will be minimally Baptized Christians, or at least Catechumens?

Let's hope he can get someone to address the Theological significance. It's unfair to all Catholics in my opinion to repeatably implement something like this without taking the time to teach us why he is doing this action...

This is a premeditated action, he is Supreme Pontiff, not some unknown Argentinian-Italian Prelate that happens to wear his "heart" on his sleeve...

Teacher, please teach us why... Lest you undermine the Papacy's reputation as Teacher...

Just my opinion...

Kerry Fritz II | 3/22/2016 - 12:03pm

says you are 666=protons-electrons-neutrons=carbon. satans of Revelation 3:9; whereas
I am The ElectChurch@Philadelphia of Revelation 3:6-13 which surrounds sounds allah ewes.
@Email w- 'peace' in the subject line for your A4V Strawman Redemption Jubilee.

Vincent Gaglione | 3/15/2016 - 8:29am

So how many Bishops in the United States will wash the feet of refugees and undocumented immigrants and females? And how many Catholic parishes in the United States will take in and support a refugee family?

After not a single voice of Catholic influence in the United States was raised in opposition to Trump's characterization of Pope Francis, how would you answer my questions?

Kerry Fritz II | 3/22/2016 - 12:04pm

says you are 666=protons-electrons-neutrons=carbon. satans of Revelation 3:9; whereas
I am The ElectChurch@Philadelphia of Revelation 3:6-13 which surrounds sounds allah ewes.
@Email w- 'peace' in the subject line for your A4V Strawman Redemption Jubilee.