Filipino bishops welcome new rules in Holy Thursday ritual

Some parishes had already included women participants

January 25, 2016
A new decree revising the rules for traditional foot-washing ritual on Holy Thursday, allowing female participation, is "very rich in symbolism," Filipino bishops said.

In a new decree announced Jan. 21, Pope Francis revised a centuries-old tradition that banned women from the ritual.

"Jesus wants to serve women, children, and all," said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, adding that Jesus showed people the "example of service."

The prelate said changes in the ritual is a result of Pope Francis' move to make the church more inclusive. 

Only men and boys were allowed to take part in the Holy Thursday ritual when a priest washes and kisses the feet of 12 people to mark Jesus' example of humility on the night before he died.

In his directive to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Pope Francis said "all members of the people of God," including women can participate in the ritual.

Some parishes around the world, including the Philippines, already have women participating in the ritual.

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