While exercising tradition during Easter Week, Pope Francis spoke words of encouragement, calling for unity regardless of race or cultural heritage.
On Holy Thursday (March 24) Francis visited a refugee center, where he performed the annual tradition of a foot-washing ceremony in Castelnuovo di Porto, just outside Rome.
The “gesture of brotherhood” was performed on Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees, kicking off the most solemn period of the Catholic Church’s Easter season, as several wept while Francis knelt before them to wash and kiss their feet.
The welcoming gesture comes at a time where anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment continues to rise, following attacks in Brussels and Paris.
“We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace,” Francis said, during the ceremonious tradition, which included both men and women.
As reported, the Vatican’s changing ways have allowed anyone from the “people of God" to participate in the ritual.
“All of us, together: Muslims, Hindi, Catholics, Copts, Evangelics,” the Pope added. “But brothers, children of the same God. We want to live in peace, integrated.”
(Photos: L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)