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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Ceremonies > Washing Feet on Holy Thursday  Back one page.
Washing Feet on Holy Thursday

Question Can the priest wash women's feet on Holy Thursday?

Answer According to the sacramentary, "The men [vir] who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in 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."

In 1988 the Congregation for Divine Worship reaffirmed that only men's feet are supposed to be washed: "The washing of the feet of chosen men [vir] which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve' (Matt. 20:28). This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained."--Paschales Solemnitatis, 51.

In both cases the latin word vir is used which means that men is not referring to mankind but only to males. Therefore, only men may have their feet washed on Holy Thursday. The practice of having the congregation wash each other's feet is also not allowed as the instruction refers only to the priest as the washer of feet.



Related Documents

  1. Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts

 
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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Ceremonies > Washing Feet on Holy Thursday  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com