Easter Triduum of Pope Francis: Holy Thursday – Lord’s Supper Mass and homily [full text]

Francis-LordsSupper-6On Thursday evening as the sunset Pope Francis crossed the Tiber River bound for the city’s juvenile prison, Casal del Marmo (in English: ‘Marble House’) to begin the Easter Triduum breaking the tradition of celebrating the Lord’s Supper Mass in the Basilica of St. John on the Lateran. In a tiny simple chapel of Merciful Father among the young offenders, he celebrated Mass of Our Lord’s Supper which began the Easter Triduum. The ceremony was simple (only 54 minutes) but full of emotion. The inmates gave the Pope a wooden crucifix and a prayer stool, made by them. Pope Francis took them chocolate Easter eggs and colombas, a traditional Italian cake.

There was no live broadcast of the Mass from (Vatican Television) but people could tune to Vatican Radio. Two young men read the first reading and the responsorial psalm, a female volunteer read the second reading while the prison chaplain recited the Gospel.

During his homily, the Pope explained why he would wash the feet to 12 of them, the same gesture Jesus made at the Last Supper.


Without any pause for introduction, Pope Francis immediately picked up from the very last words of the passage that recounts the Washing of the Feet. The Pope washed the feet of 12 teens from all religions, including two Muslims. Another surprise, was that among the 12 were two girls, an Italian and a Serbian. It was the first ever situation, when Pope washed women’s feet. He dried them off with a cloth made with yarn from the Holy Land. It also contained pieces of a fishing net used by fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.

Read the Vatican Radio translation of the homily:

“This is moving, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. Peter understands nothing. He refuses but Jesus explains to him. Jesus, God did this, and He Himself explains it to the disciples.. ‘Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do’.

It is the example set by Our Lord, it’s important for Him to wash their feet, because among us the one who is highest up must be at the service of others. This is a symbol, it is a sign – washing your feet means I am at your service. And we are too, among each other, but we don’t have to wash each other’s feet each day. So what does this mean? That we have to help each other…sometimes I would get angry with one someone, but we must let it go and if they ask a favor of do it!

Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service. But it is a duty that comes from my heart and a duty I love. I love doing it because this is what the Lord has taught me. But you too must help us and help each other, always. And thus in helping each other we will do good for each other.

Now we will perform the ceremony of the Washing of the Feet and we must each one of us think, Am I really willing to help others? Just think of that. Think that this sign is Christ’s caress, because Jesus came just for this, to serve us, to help us”.


[source: Vatican Radio, images:L'Osservatore Romano]


1 comment to Easter Triduum of Pope Francis: Holy Thursday – Lord’s Supper Mass and homily [full text]

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