Western Christians Observe Holy Week, Easter; Pope Washes Prisoners’ Feet

pope-francisFrom Palm Sunday to Easter, Western Christians have been observing Holy Week, the most sacred time on their calendar. With special rituals, music, and worship services, Christians around the world have been commemorating the last days of Jesus’s life before the Crucifixion and then his Resurrection. There’s been particular attention paid to Pope Francis and the first Holy Week of his papacy. Many Catholics said they were especially moved when Francis celebrated the traditional Maundy Thursday service at a juvenile detention center, where he washed the feet of some young detainees. In a break with tradition, two of them were women and at least two were Muslim. Francis had a busy week, including a brief visit with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandalfo. The Vatican announced that, for now, Francis will not be moving into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Rather, he will stay in a simpler suite at the Vatican guesthouse where he will be living and taking his meals in community with others.