PHOTOS: Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates at women’s prison in Rome — By: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis kisses the foot of one of the 12 women whose feet he washed at the Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. / Credit: Vatican Media

CNA Staff, Mar 28, 2024 / 14:30 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis on Thursday washed the feet of 12 prisoners at a prison facility in Rome, with the pontiff continuing a regular tradition of holding the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at local penitentiaries.

The Holy Father told female inmates at the Rebibbia correctional facility, located about six miles from Vatican City, that Jesus “never tires of forgiving” but rather “we are the ones who get tired of asking for forgiveness.”

Pope Francis speaks during a Mass at the Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

“We all have our small or big failures — everyone has their own story. But the Lord always awaits us, with his arms open, and never tires of forgiving,” the Holy Father said, according to Vatican News.

Pope Francis presides over a Mass at the Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

The pope during the Mass washed the feet of 12 of the female prisoners present. The dozen inmates were of “different nationalities,” the Vatican said.

Pope Francis washes the feet of 12 women at the Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

The pope subsequently “met with the inmates and staff of the penitentiary” and received several gifts including products from the prison complex’s farm.

Pope Francis meets with the inmates and staff of the penitentiary Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

In years past, Francis has traveled to prisons and other facilities in and around Rome to wash the feet of marginalized individuals.

In 2023 he washed the feet of 12 young men and women at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center on Rome’s outskirts.

Pope Francis meets with the inmates and staff of the penitentiary Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

Francis instituted the custom shortly after the start of his papacy. After visiting the Casal del Marmo youth detention center in 2013, he presided at Holy Thursday Masses at a center for the disabled in 2014, the Rebibbia New Complex Prison in 2015, a center for asylum seekers in 2016, Paliano prison in 2017, Rome’s historic Regina Coeli prison in 2018, and Velletri men’s prison in 2019.

The Holy Father skipped the tradition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis meets with the inmates and staff of the penitentiary Rebibbia Women’s Prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

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