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Pope washes feet of 12 young inmates

29 March 2013, 12:06

Rome - Pope Francis has washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention centre in a Holy Thursday ritual, which he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope.

The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained.

Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12, including two girls, selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic.

Because the inmates are minors, the Vatican and Italian Justice Ministry limited media access inside. But Vatican Radio reported that Francis told the detainees that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in a gesture of service.

He said: "If the Lord has washed his disciples' feet, you should do the same."

- AP


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