(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday at the Centre for Asylum Seekers (Centro di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo, or CARA) in Castelnuovo di Porto, located 25 kilometres north of Rome.
The ceremony on March 24th will involve Pope Francis washing the feet of young refugees.
The location was announced by the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, in an article in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
“We can understand the symbolic value intended by Pope Francis’ visit to the CARA in Castelnuovo di Porto and his bending down to wash the feet of refugees” – Archbishop Fisichella writes – “His actions mean to tell us that it is important to pay due attention to the weakest in this historic moment; that we are all called to restore their dignity without resorting to subterfuge. We are urged to look forward to Easter with the eyes of those who make of their faith a life lived in service to those whose faces bear signs of suffering and violence.”
Archbishop Fisichella then pointed out many of these young people are not Catholic.
“Therefore this gesture by Pope Francis takes on even more eloquence” – he continued – “It points to respect as the royal road to peace. Respect means being aware that there is another person beside me. A person who walks with me, suffers with me, rejoices with me. A person whom, one day, I may one day lean on for support. By washing the feet of refugees, Pope Francis implores respect for each one of them.”