Pope Francis to Wash Migrants’ Feet to Highlight Refugees’ Plight

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Pope Francis salutes cardinals at the end of a Palm Sunday Mass, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Pope Francis in his Palm Sunday homily decried what he called indifference to the refugees flooding into Europe, making a comparison to authorities who washed their hands of Jesus’ fate ahead of his crucifixion. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis salutes cardinals at the end of a Palm Sunday Mass, in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Pope Francis in his Palm Sunday homily decried what he called indifference to the refugees flooding into Europe, making a comparison to authorities who washed their hands of Jesus’ fate ahead of his crucifixion. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis will perform the traditional Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony at a refugee shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome, inaugurating the most solemn period of the Catholic Church’s Easter season

APTHE VATICAN CITY (AP) Pope Francis heads to a refugee center to wash and kiss the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic migrants in a gesture of welcome at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels and Paris attacks.

Pope Francis will perform the traditional Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony at a refugee shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome, inaugurating the most solemn period of the Catholic Church’s Easter season.

The Vatican said the 12 people selected for the ritual include 11 migrants and an Italian who works at the center: The 11 include four Catholic men from Nigeria, three Muslim men from Mali, Syria and Pakistan; three Eritrean Coptic Christian women and a Hindu Indian man.

Until Francis’ rule-breaking papacy, popes performed the ceremony on other Catholic men.

 

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