· For the Mass In Cena Domini of Holy Thursday ·
Pope Francis has chosen the youth at Casal del Marmo Detention Centre for the traditional washing of the feet on Holy Thursday. This was announced in the Holy See Press Office this morning, Thursday 21 March. “As Archbishop of Buenos Aires — the communiqué reads — Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate” The Mass In Cena Domini “in a prison, hospital or hospice for the poor or marginalized”. With the choice to go to a prison for juvenile delinquency, Pope Francis has thus decided to continue this course and to maintain the simplicity whereby he has always lived.
Therefore on 28 March the Holy Father will celebrate the Chrism Mass in the morning in St Peter's Basilica and in the afternoon at 5:30 p.m. he will go to the Correctional Facility for minors, Casal del Marmo, for the “Mass of the Lord's Supper”, a celebration — continued the Press Office — characterized “by the message of the Commandment of love and by the washing of the feet”. The statement also confirmed that “the other ceremonies of Holy Week will take place according to the normal custom, as will be made clear by a Notification from the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff”.
In the vast complex the incarcerated males are housed in two buildings with 24 rooms each; a third building houses the female section, with another 24 rooms. Scholastic activities take place there, along with exercises for the illiterate. There is also work formation with shops for carpentry, upholstery and pizzerias. For young women there is also a design studio.
Benedict XVI and John Paul II, too, visited the detention centre. Pope Benedict celebrated Mass there on 18 March 2007, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, in the chapel of the “Merciful Father”. Pope John Paul went there for a visit during the afternoon of 6 January 1980, the Solemnity of the Epiphany, accompanied by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, who was particularly involved in the pastoral care of the youth who were held in the Casal del Marmo, where he was known simply as Fr Agostino.
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