Pope Francis breaks with custom to celebrate Mass in Rome prison

Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at the juvenile prison Casal del Marmo in Rome, at 5.30pm local time.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated on Maundy Thursday, commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, and features the rite of the washing of the feet.

Pope Benedict XVI also visited the Casal del Marmo young offenders’ institute in 2007.

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While it has been traditional for popes to celebrate this Mass at the Basilica of St John Lateran or St Peter’s Basilica, in his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would celebrate Mass on Maundy Thursday in a prison, hospital or hospice for poor and marginalised people.

The Casal del Marmo institute trains inmates for employment in carpentry, tailoring and cooking, as well as other trades.

Prior to celebrating the Holy Thursday Mass at the Casal del Marmo young offenders’ institute, the Pope will be celebrating the Chrism Mass for the diocese of Rome at 9.30am in St Peter’s basilica.

The other Holy Week celebrations are expected to follow the schedule already released by the Office for Liturgical Celebrations, with both the liturgical service on Good Friday and Mass on Holy Saturday being celebrated in St Peter’s basilica, and on Easter Sunday in St Peter’s square.

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