Last year, Pope Francis broke with tradition to hold a major Easter Week service at Casal del Marmo young offenders’ prison in Rome, telling fifty inmates: “I’m happy to be with you. Don’t give up hope.” The Pope then washed and kissed the feet of twelve young prisoners; some were Gypsies or North African migrants, and were not necessarily Catholic.
Vatican Radio carried the Mass live. Pope Francis told the detainees that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service
“This is a symbol, it is a sign – washing your feet means I am at your service,” Francis told the youngsters. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.”
Later, the Vatican released a limited video of the ritual, showing Francis washing black feet, white feet, male feet, female feet and even a foot with tattoos.