03/29/2018, 18.18
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Pope washes the feet of 12 inmates in Regina Coeli prison

Francis celebrated Coena Domini Mass in the same Roman prison visited by John XXIII in 1958, Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 2000.

Rome (AsiaNews) - This afternoon, Pope Francis visited Rome’s Regina Coeli Prison where he celebrated the Coena Domini Mass, which marks the start of the Easter Triduum.

Upon arrival, around 4 pm, the pontiff met the sick inmates in the infirmary. This was followed by the Mass.

During the liturgical service he washed the feet of 12 men from seven different countries: four from Italy, two respectively from the Philippines and Morocco, and one each from Moldova, Colombia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone; eight Catholics, two Muslims, one Orthodox Christian and one Buddhist.

Since the ceremony was private, no camera was allowed nor was the text of the homily released.

This is not the first time that Francis celebrates Coena Domini Mass among inmates. He did the same in 2013, 2015 and 2017. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio also spent Holy Thursday at a prison.

The Regina Coeli facility is important historically because various popes visited it: Pope John XXIII in 1958, Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 2000.

As a memento of the visit, Francis left the altar on which he celebrated Mass. The bronze piece is the work of Fiorenzo Bacci, a sculptor from Porcia (Pordenone, north-eastern Italy).

Bacci had made it for his 50th wedding anniversary, and later gave it to the Holy Father during the general audience of 12 November 2016.

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