Pope Francis, who was recently hospitalized for bronchitis, resumed his busy schedule of Easter events by visiting a juvenile prison on the outskirts of Rome on Thursday. There, he washed the feet of 12 inmates in a traditional rite that symbolizes love and service.
The pope repeated the gesture that Jesus made during the Last Supper, when he washed the feet of his disciples before sharing bread and wine with them. The pope explained that washing feet was a task done by slaves in those days, and that Jesus wanted to show his humility and care for his followers.
The 12 inmates who had their feet washed by the pope were of various nationalities, including one Muslim and two women. The pope also greeted and blessed other inmates and staff at the prison.
Earlier on Thursday, the pope celebrated the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, where he blessed large vats of oil that will be used for sacraments throughout the year. In his homily, he urged priests to avoid causing division in the Church and to be faithful to their mission.
The 86-year-old pope will continue his Easter activities with a Good Friday service at the Colosseum, an Easter vigil on Saturday night, and an Easter Sunday mass and blessing. He is expected to deliver his traditional message of peace and hope to the world.