According to Vatican Radio, it was announced by the Holy See Press Office on Thursday that Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the juvenile prison ‘Casal del Marmo’ in Rome, the same facility visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, also features the rite of the washing of the feet. In his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass in a prison, hospital or hospice for poor and marginalized people. The other Holy Week celebrations are expected to follow the schedule already released by the Office for Liturgical Celebrations.
Italian media reported earlier that the Pope was inviting 3,000 of Rome’s poor to this Mass.
The full name of the juvenile prison is “Istituto Penale Maschile E Femminile Per Minorenni Casal Del Marmo,” which of course raises the question of whether the Pope will wash the feet of females and males (as he did as archbishop of Buenos Aires). A strict reading of Church directives, supported by some U.S. bishops, allows only men (viri) to have their feet washed.
Pope Benedict visited this prison in 2007.