For the first time ever since Holy Thursday started at the center three years ago, female inmates were given the chance to participate as stand-ins for the disciples as well as the male inmates.
Cardinal Wuerl will celebrate an Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Saturday March 31 at 8 p.m., and people preparing to become Catholic will be baptized and confirmed at the Mass, joining 1,300 adults, teens and children across the archdiocese who will become full members of the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil Masses. The word "maundy" comes from the Scriptures, a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means "command".
The day commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles in Jerusalem before he was betrayed. Know this: Jesus is called Jesus, not Pontius Pilate. "Jesus wants to do this service to give us an example of how we must serve one another", Pope Francis said.
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But, he said, as life goes one and people get busy or make mistakes, they can develop "cataracts of the soul" that prevent them from seeing the world with the hope that is born of Jesus' resurrection.
Turning to those present, Pope Francis told them that Jesus tells those discarded by society that they are important. At St. Peter Catholic Church in uptown Charlotte, NC, priests and lay servers washed parishioners' feet, as Jesus did for his disciples, and dispensed the Eucharist, which was introduced at that last meal. (Luke 22:27-38; John 13:2-17) This is why the churches observe communion, or the Lord's Supper: some daily, some weekly, some monthly, etc. But Jesus says it must not be this way with us. Jesus paid the price, dearly.
The practice of washing feet is derived from the Gospel of John, where Jesus washed his followers' feet to show his humility before the Last Supper. "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross". "The one who commands must serve", he said. To remind us to be servants of God first, rather than serving ourselves.