(RNS) Pope Francis is participating in a Holy Thursday rite of foot-washing at a center for the elderly and disabled in Rome. Last year, Francis made a splash when he performed the same rite at a youth prison, including washing the feet of women and Muslims.

From a Vatican press release, here’s who Francis is washing the feet of today:

Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, has confirmed that this year the chosen twelve will include nine Italians, one Muslim from Libya, a young man from Cape Verde and an Ethiopian woman. These individuals are suffering with physical, neurological and oncological illnesses:

-Oswaldinho, 16, from Cape Verde who had a diving accident last summer and is now completely paralyzed

-Orietta, 51, from Rome who has suffered from illness that has affected her brain

-Samuel, 66, who has had polio from his youth

-Marco, 19, high school student and leader of his parish Youth Group who was diagnosed with a cerebral palsy last year

-Angelica, 86, from Maenza, former president of Catholic Action in Italy, had hip replacement surgery twice

-Daria, 39, who has suffered with cerebral palsy from her childhood

-Pietro, 86, who has been a resident at the Centre for a year, struggles with mobility and muscular deficiency

-Gianluca, 36, who from the age of 14 has had numerous operations as a result of meningitis

-Stefano, 49, who suffers with serious cerebral and motor disorder and has been a resident at the centre for the past two years

-Hamed, 75, Muslim man originally from Libia worked for the Itlian-Arab Chamber of Commerce before suffering a traffic accident which caused serious neurological impairment

-Giordana, 27, from Ethiopia suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy

-Walter, 59, living with Down Syndrome


  1. Thank you so much for this powerful piece. After more than fifty years as an ordained pastor, I need this reminder of true humility. Nothing is more powerful than the model of Jesus in washing to disciples’ feet.

    Parallel to ministry I have also been a freelance journalist including a stint with the BBC. As such I have deep respect and gratitude for RSS.

    Thank you again so much,

    Wayne Detzler, PhD
    Sacred Heart University

  2. Kevin Eckstrom

    Article author

    Melanie, that’s a good point, and apologies for any unintended offense. The list of participants was copied-and-pasted from a Vatican press release. That’s their language, not ours. That said, you’re correct, and we’ve made the change.

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