He Pope Francisco washed the feet of 12 young inmates of different ethnicities and nationalities from the center for minorsHouse of the Marble”, a place where he was also on Holy Thursday 2013, his first Holy Week as Supreme Pontiff.
“With this gesture, Jesus reminds us how we should help each other”, he said in his homily.
Due to the knee problems that he has suffered for months, a platform was arranged so that the young people are at a considerable height and prevent the Pope from having to kneel to perform the rite.
From the get-go, Francis has used his papacy to call attention to those who live on the margins of society, including the inmates. This Thursday he asked each of the young people to feel that “Jesus Christ was washing their feet, because Jesus has saved me, he never abandons us”, he remarked.
Before, Francis presided over a mass in the Basilica of Saint Peter, within the framework of an agenda of Easter that puts his resistance to the test days after his hospital admission for bronchitis.
The pope’s voice was loud during the mass, in which he read a long homily dedicated to the priesthood. The 86-year-old Argentine pontiff was discharged five days ago from a Rome hospital where he received intravenous antibiotics.
When he left the hospital on Saturday, the Vatican said that Francisco would comply with all the acts of your Easter schedule, including the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday in the Colosseum in Rome and Easter Sunday mass in Saint Peter’s Square.
During Thursday’s mass in the basilica, dozens of priests dressed in simple white cassocks sat facing the Catholics who packed the church.
Without referring to the scandals or the cover-up by the ecclesiastical hierarchy, spoke of a “crisis” affecting priests. “Sooner or later, we all experience disappointment, frustration and our own weaknesses,” the pope said.
“Our ideals seem to recede in the face of reality, a certain force of habit takes over, and difficulties that previously seemed unimaginable seem to challenge our allegiance,” he added.
The ceremony in the basilica included the traditional blessing of ointments and the renewal of the promises that the priests made at their ordination.
Highlighting the spirit of renewal that, according to the Pope, the priesthood needs, bergamot perfume from trees on land confiscated from the mafia in southern Italy was added to the ointments this year.
In his off-the-cuff comments during the homily, Francis warned priests that “do not forget to be pastors of the people”.
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