by Eliana Dockterman
Francis continues to break with tradition by performing the pre-Easter ritual on non-Catholics.
Francis also performed the pre-Easter ritual last year on female and Muslim inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome. That represented a major break with papal tradition, as typically only Catholic men are included in the practice.
The Vatican has not yet released the religious backgrounds of all the participants of this year’s ceremony, but Vatican officials said the participants came from various religious backgrounds. The Pope told the gathered crowd that he performs the ritual in order to remind himself of Jesus’ call to help others.
“Jesus made a gesture, a job, the service of a slave, a servant,” Franics said. “And he leaves this inheritance to us: We need to be servants to one another.”