Monday, April 14, 2014

Washing of the Feet Rituals in Rome and in Albuquerque

 "Washing feet [is] important to present the Lord's spirit of service and love."
-Rev Federico Lombardi, chief spokesman for The Vatican
The tradition of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday is based on John 13: 1-17, commemorating a ritual that was said to have taken place before the Last Supper. In what context should we take this Jewish tradition of ritual cleansing? Some view this tradition as merely a reenactment of what might have occurred when Jesus was gathered with his disciples for his last meal.  We miss an opportunity for spiritual growth if we view this as only a remembrance ritual.

"By dressing as a servant and undertaking the servile and humiliating task of washing feet, Jesus identifies the paradoxical manner in which God chooses to reveal himself," Peter Lopinski wrote in McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry. "The foot-washing episode parallels the account in Luke 22:27, wherein Jesus states: 'I am among you as one who serves'."

Pope Francis illustrated this on Holy Thursday of  last year when he  he washed the feet of two women at a Rome youth prison, a sharp contrast to his predessor, who the previous year washed the feet of 12 priests during a Mass in Rome's St. John Lateran Basilica. On Holy Thursday 2014, Pope Francis plans to visit the Centro Santa Maria della Provvidenza Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi home, where he will wash the feet of residents, many of whom are elderly and disabled.

Many communities across the country use the occasion as another opportunity to serve the homeless community. In Santa Barbara, CA., the organization Willbridge community has led a community service that includes non-profit organizations and churches.

Washing of the Feet at Albuquerque Rescue Mission
Locally, Albuquerque Rescue Mission will hold its annual Feet Washing for homeless and near homeless men, women and children this coming Saturday, April 19, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Staff and volunteers will provide those in need with shoes, socks, medical attention, as well as other services like blood pressure checks, dental consultations, and haircuts. Prayer and counseling will also be offered.

Any donation of shoes, socks, toiletries or candy for children’s Easter baskets can be dropped off at Albuquerque Rescue Mission, 525 2nd Street SW (phone number is 346-4673).

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