Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hopefully enough men will get their feet cleaned

Today is Holy Thursday and tonight I will be going to Mass where we commemerate the Institution of the Eucharist (more emphasized than usual), and where the priest will wash the feet of a dozen people to commemerate Christ's actions. The 12 people who have their feet washed represent the 12 apostles. Therefore, the Church has officially said the 12 must be men.

Sadly, in my church, this practice has not been observed. Last year was a dismal display. Only about 7 people approached to have their feet washed, and there were a number of women. Of course there were hundreds of people at the church, but only 7 participated. There is no exception made for women to have their feet washed because they cannot represent the 12 apostles.

My suggestion is that if there are not enough men at first, make a general announcement asking for men to approach. I can guarantee you could easily get 12. People feel as though the people having their feet washed have been predetermined and no one else can be admitted.

According to the website

The Vatican instruction regarding the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday that is found in the rubric of the Sacramentary states:

"Depending on pastoral circumstances, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one's feet and dries them."


  1. So, how did it go?

  2. I've read your blog for years. Have often disagreed with you on certain things, but always enjoy a thoughtful, Catholic blog.

    Saw that Pope Francis washed the feet of a woman (and some non-Christians) tonight at Holy Thursday Mass. For some reason I immediately remembered this post. Wondering if you will condemn or condone the actions of the Holy Father? Hoping I see a post on this soon.

  3. Hi Anonymous, I just wrote a blog post on Pope Francis washing the feet of women.