Pope Benedict XVI performs Holy Thursday rites

March 21st, 2008 - 4:17 pm ICT by admin  

Rome, March 21 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI commemorated Jesus’ Last Supper with Holy Thursday Mass in Rome’s Basilica of St John in Lateran. During the late afternoon ceremony the pontiff washed the feet of 12 priests, a traditional gesture recalling Jesus’ act of humility to his disciples at the last meal he shared with them before his death.

“Day after day we are all covered in a multi-form dirt, of empty words, prejudice, reduced and altered knowledge, a multiplicity of semi-falsehoods or falsehoods that continue to infiltrate through to our most intimate part,” Benedict said in his homily.

But “if we welcome the words of God with an attentive heart, then they will reveal a real cleansing, a purification of the soul, of the interior of man”, he added.

Funds during the collection were to be destined by the pope to the La Edad de Oro, an orphanage in Havana, Cuba, the Vatican said.

Earlier Thursday, the pope began the Easter ceremonies by celebrating Holy Chrism Mass in St Peter’s during which he consecrated the holy oils used in baptisms and confirmations.

Benedict is scheduled to preside over the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession in Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday and an Easter vigil at the Vatican Saturday.

On Easter Sunday, he is due to celebrate Mass in St Peter’s before delivering his Urbe et Orbi message and blessing “to the city and the world”.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is Christians’ most important religious feast.

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