Vatican City, March 29 (IANS/EFE) Pope Francis I went to Rome’s Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center Thursday to share the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with the inmates and during which he washed the feet of 12 teenagers housed there.
Several hundred Rome residents awaited his arrival at the lockup, where he was received with applause and cries of “Long live the pope”.
Popes usually preside over the Mass of the Last Supper at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in central Rome.
There are 46 young offenders, including 11 females, under detention at Casal del Marmo.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the vicar general of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Callini; the chaplain of the detention center, Gaetano Greco; the Vatican No. 3, Angelo Becciu, and the pontiff’s personal secretary, Alfred Xuareb.
Francis, imitating what Jesus did with the apostles, washed the feet of 12 young inmates of different religions and nationalities, including two females, one of them a Muslim.
The inclusion of the girls attracted attention, given that the 12 apostles were all men.
The former Cardinal Juan Mario Bergoglio was received at the detention center by acting Justice Minister Paola Severino and other officials.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future pope made it a practice to perform the ritual Holy Thursday foot-washing in hospitals, hospices and jails.