Women, children find place in ‘washing of feet’ ritual at churches

Acting on the Pope’s advice, small changes in what used to be a ‘mens only’ ritual at Holy Week time are being made by local churches.

Since last year, the composition of the laity who act out theĀ ‘washing of the feet’ ritual at Maundy Thursday Mass has changed.

Women and children now find a place on the benches alongside the altar where the main celebrant priest, kneels down and washes the feet of the laity during Mass – just the way Jesus is said to have done days before his condemnation and death. A symbolic act highlighting the need to be humble, even if one was the master.

At St Thomas Cathedral, the laity who double up as apostles will include a childless couple, children and nuns. Said Fr Mathias, parish priest, “We started having this mix of people last year.”

At Our Lady of Light Church in Luz, a few women will be part of this group at Maundy Thursday service.

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