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Catholic Dictionary

Term

WASHING OF THE FEET

Definition

An action of Christ at the Last Supper (John 13:1-15), when he washed the feet of his disciples to teach them humility as a condition for the practice of charity. This was believed by some early Christians to have been a sacrament of the New Law. As part of the liturgy on Holy Thursday, following the Homily of the Mass, modern popes have performed this ceremony in St. Peter's, washing the feet of a certain number of poor men chosen to participate in the Maundy Thursday liturgy. The ritual is an optional part of the regular Holy Thursday liturgy.