Pope Francis meets the members of aquatic circus at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, January 27, 2016.
Vatican issues decree on foot-washing ritual
Following a request by Pope Francis, the Vatican issued a decree on Jan. 21 specifying that the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual can include "all members of the people of God," including women – a practice already observed by the pope and many priests around the world. The pope said the change would help express the full meaning of Jesus' gesture at the Last Supper, his "giving himself 'to the end' for the salvation of the world" and his endless charity.
Pope Francis plans full slate of events for Year of Mercy
Despite an already packed calendar, Pope Francis has planned a full schedule of events to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began in December of 2015. Each month during the year, the pope will preside over a major public event or liturgy bearing witness to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. One such event is To Dry the Tears, a prayer vigil for those who are suffering and in need of consoling. Special jubilees will occur for pilgrimage workers, deacons, priests, the sick and disabled, catechists and many other groups who are visiting Rome throughout the year.
“When the world slumbers in comfort and selfishness, our Christian mission is to help it rouse from sleep" - Jan. 8, 2016