On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis – like all of his predecessors – will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. But, unlike his predecessors, it will not be a public event and there will be no live broadcast. The Holy Father will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a penitentiary, not because of any criminal behavior on his part (there isn’t any, so don’t start any rumors), but because he wishes to minister to the youth incarcerated there.
In a private event, Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with around 10 girls and 4o boys in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors (IPM). By his own request, the Mass will be “very simple,” during which he’ll wash the feet of 12 boys and girls chosen from different nationalities and religious backgrounds. Afterward, there will be a small gathering in the school’s gynasium.
If Pope Francis wants to make this a media event to gain publicity, he’s going about it the wrong way. On the other hand, if he’s wanting to be a true father – Holy Father – then he would make sure that he’s allowed to give his love and attention fully and without hoopla to a group of young people who have made serious mistakes and need to be assured of their worthiness, ability to reform, and God’s love for them. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that penitentiary chapel!
Sources: Vatican Radio, Vatican Today, Zenit News Service