Pope Francis will wash the feet of young refugees during the special foot-washing ritual over the Easter break.
He has also officially allowed females to participate in the ceremony as well as men. The Vatican has not yet said if non-Catholics will be among the 12 refugees participating in the Holy Thursday rite at an asylum centre in Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome.
Within weeks of becoming the leaders of Catholics all over the world Pope Francis shocked some conservatives by washing the feet of women as well as Muslims at a juvenile detention facility. The ritual acts out a rite Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified.
However Vatican rules have, until now, allowed only men to participate, recalling Jesus’s 12 apostles and cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood. Read more