Inmates unable to hold back tears as Pope Francis washes their feet

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On the outskirts of Rome is the Rebibbia prison. This was the setting for Pope Francis to preside over the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.

The Pope reflected on Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and Judas' betrayal. And he stressed that nothing is beyond forgiveness.

I once heard a wise old woman, an old woman not of the people, who said that Jesus never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness. Let us ask the Lord today for the grace not to get tired. All of us always with our little failures, big failures. We each have our own story but the Lord is always waiting for us with an open embrace and he never tires of forgiveness.

Following tradition, Pope Francis then washed the feet of 12 people from the prison. But it was the first time, all 12 were women. Despite his age and recent health issues, the Pope washed their feet from his wheelchair. And both his message and his gesture brought tears to the women's eyes.

After the Mass, different members of the prison community presented the Pope with gifts including a basket full of flowers and bread that are produced in the prison.

And Pope Francis did not leave the prison without also giving a gift: an image of Mary with the child Jesus.

I would like to leave this house this gift, this image of Our Lady that they gave me painted, and immediately I thought of you. And I leave it for you.

This was not the first time Pope Francis has visited this prison. In 2015, he celebrated the same Mass on Holy Thursday but with both the male and female branches of the Rebibbia prison.


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