RELIGION
04/16/2014 11:53 am ET | Updated Apr 17, 2014

Pope Francis' Second Holy Thursday Foot Washing To Include Muslims, Women

ASSOCIATED PRESS

On Thursday Pope Francis will visit the Don Gnocchi Center, a home for the elderly and disabled in Rome, to wash the feet of 12 residents for the Holy Week ritual.

According to the Catholic News Service, those 12 will include a woman and a Muslim, which falls in line with Pope Francis' actions during last year's Maundy Thursday.

The 12 who will have feet washed by #PopeFrancis include 9 Italians, 1 Muslim from Libya, young man from Cape Verde, Ethiopian woman

— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) April 16, 2014

The ceremony, which is rooted in the story of the Last Supper, made headlines last year when the pope visited a youth detention center and washed the feet of several young women.

Silvia Stefanoni, the Deputy CEO and Director of Policy and Programs at HelpAge International, told Vatican Radio the pope has shown a commitment to bring attention to those most often forgotten in society, including the elderly and disabled. "It is giving a voice," Stefanoni said. "It's showing respect for their dignity."

In November Pope Francis critiqued society's tendency to "hide physical fragility," which he rejected by greeting hundreds of people in wheelchairs and encouraging them to become "protagonists" in the Catholic church.

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