Friday, October 24, 2014


Pope Francis holds the holy gospel book as he celebrates the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 17, 2014. During the mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments throughout the year. The Chrism Mass marks the start of the Easter celebrations. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (AP)

Pope Francis arrives for the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 17, 2014. During the mass the Pontiff blesses the oil of catechumens, the oil of sick and the holy chrism, which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the year. The Chrism Mass marks the start of the Easter celebrations. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (AP)
Pope washes feet of elderly, disabled in rite
Pope washes feet of disabled in pre-Easter rite that in 2013 helped define papacy

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has washed the feet of 12 elderly and disabled people — women and non-Catholics among them — in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve like a “slave.”

Francis’ decision in 2013 to perform the Holy Thursday ritual on women and Muslim inmates at a juvenile detention center just two weeks after his election helped define his rule-breaking papacy. It riled traditionalist Catholics, who pointed to the Vatican’s own regulations that the ritual be performed only on men since Jesus’ 12 apostles were men.

The 2014 edition brought Francis to a center for the elderly and disabled Thursday. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs.

He said the ritual is a gesture of “a slave’s service.”