Holy Thursday Mass of Pope Francis

At 5:30 p.m. on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the chapel of the “Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi – Centro Santa Maria  della Provvidenza” in Rome, the Holy See reported today. This is a facility for people with disabilities. Participating will be patients, their families, and workers from the center. The facility, which is run by the Catholic foundation “Don Carlo Gnocchi,” has over 150 beds. It is also a training center for those who care for and work with people with disabilities.

In 2013, Pope Francis provoked surprise by washing the feet of inmates of a juvenile detention center, male and female, including a Moslem. A strict reading of church law would not allow females’ feet to be washed. Bishop Morlino recently upheld the ban on washing women’s feet in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.

Francis footwashing


  1. No need for that second paragraph – lets continue to focus on the pope’s concern for those on margins.

  2. I remember reading comments last year that some wished the pope would change the rubric rather than violate it. But judging by the variety of times he has gone off the page in terms of the black and the red, both long before and after he was elected pope, perhaps he does not see the rubrics as laws to be carefully obeyed. I don’t presume to speak for him, but he may be more of the mindset that what’s in the missal is a starting point open to interpretation and local adaptation. Could that be the case?

  3. Whether that’s Francis’ position probably depends on how much knowledge we have of his habits during the celebration of the Mass. I do know that he does not genuflect after each of the consecrations, but bows profoundly after both. I doubt he strays very far from the norm or we would be hearing about it regularly. But that is certainly my position and of many other priests. The Missal and the other ritual books provide us with the structure and prayers that are normative. But adaptations are required. When baptisms immediately follow the Mass in which the family has participated, I do not add readings nor prayers of intercession and I only ask the profession of faith questions pertaining to the rejection of the evil one. I think these adaptations in no way violate the normative practice. The new missal contains some prayer texts which require no changes, and others which are more intelligible when at least prayed in English word order. The substance of the prayers–as they express the faith of the church–are untouched by this practice. I was disappointed that the CARA report did not ask this question of priests: I sometimes amend the orations to make them sound more like English.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #3:
      There is a reason he does not genuflect. He admitted in a recent interview to Belgian youth that he does not kneel to pray (in a reply to a question regarding his private prayer life) because he has bad knees. I have noticed that when he does kneel, he takes his time and is very careful and deliberate as to how he positions himself, especially his right knee. He also has a back condition. Notice also when he does bow at the altar, he hangs on. I would suspect if he did genuflect, his MC would nedped to help him up. Not too dignified. As someone who suffers from both arthritic knees, hip and back, I can sympathize. I do not knee at all during liturgy. It is way too painful and I am not into the “offer it up” mindset. I don’t think God, whim I believe loving and merciful, expects us to self-inflect that kind of pain as an offering. I find it admirable of him to even wash feet. Gotta hurt like the dickens to be down onthonthe floor like that.

  4. It is interesting that Francis said nothing after the washing of feet last Holy Thursday and I doubt if he will this time. He just allows his example to be an example to the Church. Some day, hopefully soon, we will listen.

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