Pope Francis Washes Feet of 12 Young Detainees in Holy Thursday Ritual

Pope Francis washes the feet of a young offender during a mass at the church of the Casal del Marmo youth prison on the outskirts of Rome as part of Holy Thursday on March 28

NBC News ROME – Since he was elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has proved many times over that he wants to break away from clerical privilege, come down from St. Peter’s throne and act as a humble servant of the faithful.

And on Holy Thursday he reinforced the idea that he will champion social outcasts and the poor by washing the feet of a dozen young inmates in a juvenile detention center.

The washing of feet is an important religious rite on Holy Thursday -- the day Christianity celebrates Jesus’ Last Supper ahead of his crucifixion -- as it re-enacts Christ’s humble gesture toward his disciples before the meal.

He washed their feet to show that “no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him,” according to Gospel of St. John 13:16.

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