LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP
AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS
REGARDING THE RITE OF THE "WASHING OF THE FEET"
DURING THE LITURGY OF THE MASS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Robert Sarah
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
As I had the opportunity to inform you personally, for some time I have been reflecting on the Rite of “The Washing of Feet”, contained in the Liturgy of In Missa in cena Domini, with the aim of improving the procedure, in order to fully express the significance of the gesture Jesus performed in the Upper Room, giving of himself “to the very end” for the salvation of the world, his boundless charity.
After careful consideration, I have reached the decision to make a change in the rubric of the Roman Missal. Therefore, I order that the rubric according to which the candidates chosen to receive the washing of feet be men or boys be modified in such a way as to enable the Pastors of the Church from now on to choose the candidates for the rite from among all members of the People of God. It is further recommended that those chosen be given an appropriate explanation of the significance of the said rite.
With gratitude for the invaluable service of this Dicastery, I assure you, Your Eminence, the Secretary and the whole staff of my remembrance in prayer, and as I express my best wishes for Holy Christmas, I impart to each one the Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 20 December 2015
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