VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a youth detention center rather than the traditional Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Vatican says.
On March 28, Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will celebrate the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning, but then go to the Casal del Marmo youth detention center rather than the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
This tradition is one the new Pope has practiced since his days as archbishop of Buenos Aires.
During that time, then-Cardinal Bergoglio would celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a hospital, prison or shelter for the poor.
Images of the then-cadinal washing and kissing the feet of AIDS patients and mothers with children began circulating the Internet shortly after his election.
In a March 16 address to the media, Pope Francis confirmed that he chose his name after St. Francis of Assisi, after a friend urged him “not to forget the poor” when congratulating him on his election.
“Oh how I would like a poor Church and for the poor!” Pope Francis remarked.
The Holy Thursday Mass is defined by Christ’s commandment to love and his humble gesture of washing his disciples’ feet.
The Office of Liturgical Celebrations has confirmed that other Holy Week celebrations will be held according to tradition.
In 2007, Benedict XVI visited the same youth detention center to celebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Merciful Father.