Saturday 31 Mar 2018 8:14 pm
Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates during his visit to Regina Coeli prison (Picture: IPA)
Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 prisoners and said: ‘Jesus is ready to cleanse their sins and forgive them’.
The Pontiff visited Rome’s Regina Coeli prison and celebrated Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper with the prisoners.
First look at burning remains of Syrian chemical lab after airstrikesThe Vatican News reported four were Italian, two were from the Philippines, two from Morocco, and one each from Moldova, Colombia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Eight of the 12 were Catholic, two were Muslim, one was Orthodox, and one was Buddhist.
The 81-year-old pope said: ‘The sign that Jesus serves us today in Regina Coeli is that he wanted to choose 12 of you today for the washing of the feet.
‘I am a sinner like you, but I represent Jesus today. I am his ambassador. When I kneel before each of you, think, “Jesus took a risk on this man, a sinner, to come to me and tell me he loves me”.
Pope Francis holding his Holy Thursday service in Regina Coeli prison (Picture: AFP)
‘This is service. This is Jesus. He never abandons us. He never tires of forgiving us. He loves us so much.’
The prison was built to house 600 prisoners but now has 900 inmates, with more than 65% immigrants.
When visiting the prison infirmary Pope Francis revealed he was suffering from cataracts on his eyes and was preparing for an operation to remove them.
Pope Francis spoke at length to inmates Regina Coeli prison (Picture: IPA)
He also visited prisoners who have been convicted for sexual crimes and are cut off from the general prison population for their own safety.
This year was the fourth year Pope Francis celebrated Thursday Mass in a detention facility, the Catholic Herald reported.