- The leader of the Catholic Church spent Holy Thursday in an Italian jail
- The Holy See washed the feet of 12 inmates for the fourth year
- Among the 12 is a Filipino prisoner
For the 4th time, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 prisoners in an Italian jail in commemoration of Holy Thursday.
According to Agence France-Presse, one of the prisoners honored by the ceremony is a Filipino.
Others include two Muslims, an Orthodox Christian, and a Buddhist. The inmates were from Italy, Philippines, Morocco, Colombia, Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
All are incarcerated in Rome's Regina Coeli prison.
"For me, visiting the sick, going into prison, making the prisoner feel that he can have hope of rehabilitation, that is the preaching of the Church," said Pope Francis in one of his books, as quoted by news agency AFP.
This is the 4th time that the Pope has done this on Holy Week.
The Pope told the all-male prisoners: "Everyone always has the opportunity to change life and one cannot judge."
The ceremony remembers the Christian belief that Jesus washed the feet of his 12 Apostles before sharing his Last Supper with them.
The rite is a reflection of Jesus' act of humility and service.
"I am a sinner like you but today I represent Jesus... God never abandons us, never tires of forgiving us," said Pope Francis to the prisoners.
According to Agence France-Presse, Pope Francis broke tradition by performing the washing of the feet ceremony beyond the Vatican since his election in 2013.
The first washing he performed was for a group of juvenile inmates at a youth detention center. Among the 12 are two Muslim youths. He was the first Catholic leader to do so.
In 2014, he performed the ceremony for the elderly and people with disabilities. While in 2016, he chose a migrant reception center.
For 2015 and 2017, he visited prisoners in different jails in Italy.
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