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Washing Feet on Holy Thursday
Question from Deacon Jerry Fasullo on 4/18/2013:

I noted your question from lroy dated 4/15/13 regarding the washing of feet. People unfortunately believe that because something is done in their church or allowed by their pastor that it is alright. The Church is in big trouble because this unfortuntely goes on too often.

Please let me quote from the Rubrics:

"According to the sacramentary (NOW THE ROMAN mISSAL), "THE MEN (VIR) WHO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN ARE LED BY THE MINISTERS TO CHAIRS PREPARED IN A SUITABLE PLACE. THEN THE PRIEST (REMOVING 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.

Answer by Judie Brown on 4/20/2013:

Deacon Jerry

Thank you for this excellent citation. It clarifies the explanation for L. Roy

Judie Brown

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