Pope to wash feet of inmates in symbolic Easter week ritual

Pope Francis will wash the feet of inmates at a prison outside Rome in an Easter week ritual meant to show his willingness to serve even the most marginal of society.

The Vatican said Thursday the April 13 Mass at the Paliano facility in Frosinone would be "strictly private."

Francis has used the Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony as a deeply symbolic gesture of inclusion that has at times riled conservatives, such as when he washed the feet of women and Muslims.

Even before he became pope, the Argentine Jesuit paid particular attention to prison ministry and still stays in touch with a group of inmates in Buenos Aires. Francis has denounced the death penalty and solitary confinement and says inmates must be given hope and chances for rehabilitation.