In the spirit of Easter, Pope Francis on Thursday, April 2, 2015 visited Rebibbia Prison in Rome, washing the feet of 12 inmates, including a Nigerian nursing mother, carrying out her sentence in the creche and moving them to tears with his words.
Pope Francis washed the feet 6 men and 6 women, including of a Muslim woman.
Speaking to those gathered, Pope Francis said: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Though she may forget, I will not forget you,” citing a passage from God’s conversation with Prophet Isaiah.
“All of you, all of those who live here, are brothers and sisters.
“I also need to be washed. Let the Lord wash the dirt from me too, so that I may become more a slave, a slave to you, to be of greater service to the people, as Jesus was.
“In Jesus’ times, when people arrived at home, their feet were always dusty from their travels, the roads weren’t paved back then.
“Their feet needed to be washed, but the slaves did it, not the masters. And Jesus washes our feet like a slave, the feet of his disciples, stating: ‘what I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand’.
“He made himself a slave to serve us, cure us, cleanse us. Today, in this Mass, the Church wants the priest to wash the feet of 12 faithfuls, like the 12 apostles.
“But in our hearts we must be sure and have the conviction that when the Lord washes our feet He washes everything, He purifies us, makes us feel His love.”
See photos from the ceremony below: