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L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
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Pope washes prisoners' feet on Maundy Thursday

by Aaron James

The Pope served the inmates at Paliano detention centre south of the Italian capital Rome.

Two of the 12 inmates who had their feet washed are serving life terms, with the remaining 10 expecting to be released between by 2073.

One of the 12 was a Muslim who is set to be baptised as a Christian in June this year.

L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
Pope Francis hugs an inmate

In his homily, the pontiff told the prisoners: "If you can do something, a service for your companions in prison, do it.

"This is love. This is like washing feet: to be the servant of others."

Pope Francis has now spent three Maundy Thursdays at a detention centre.

Paliano Prison Director Nadia Cersosimo told Vatican Radio: "The Holy Father gave us a message not just of hope, but he told us that the love of God is great and is ready to forgive everyone."

Prisoners offered cakes and vegetables from the garden they tend as gifts for the pontiff.

L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
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