Europe

Pope off to maximum-security prison for foot washing ritual

  • Pope Francis leaves after celebrating a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis leaves after celebrating a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Prints hold an amphora containing holy oil as Pope Francis celebrates a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Prints hold an amphora containing holy oil as Pope Francis celebrates a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis blows inside an amphora containing holy oil during a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis blows inside an amphora containing holy oil during a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, April 13, 2017. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis is heading to a maximum-security prison to wash the feet of 12 inmates — including three women and a Muslim — stressing once again that a pope must serve those on society's margins.

The Paliano detention center, located in a fortress south of Rome, is the only Italian prison dedicated to housing mafia turncoats. These "collaborators of justice" can shave time off their sentences by cooperating with anti-mafia prosecutors.

It's the third Holy Thursday that Francis has spent at a detention center, part of his longstanding emphasis on ministering to prisoners and giving them rehabilitation and hope. The Vatican says two of the 12 inmates chosen for the ceremony are serving life terms, while the others have release dates between 2019 and 2073.