POLL: 2014 Holy Thursday Foot Washing Rite – what happened?

The rite of washing of feet, or Mandatum, is an option in the Roman Rite.

Let’s have a poll.

But first, the Church’s liturgical law is not ambiguous: only males can be chosen for this, and they should be men: viri selecti.  Virmeans “man” and cannot, cannot – period – mean a female.

NB: I am not trying to be speciesist.  The Roman Rite still limits this to human beings.

Furthermore, despite what Facebook proposes (there are 57 “genders”) the race is still limited to two sexes.  Therefore, I edited one of the answer options from “and only males and females were chosen” to “and males and females were chosen”.  Please know that I am trying to overcome my speciesist tendencies.

So, what happened where you went to Holy Thursday’s Mass, assuming, of course, that you went.  Otherwise, if you did not go, perhaps you know what happened by word of mouth or by reading the bulletin, etc.

Chose your best answer and add a comment in the combox, below.

The 2104 Holy Thursday Mass I attended ...

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  1. ejcmartin says:

    Father recently took over the parish from a long serving and very “progressive” priest who I understand came up with numerous liturgical novelties. When he told the liturgy committee what he hoped to do they kept telling okay we’ll do it your way and kept replying it’s not my way it’s the Church’s way. As result of that and the fact he had to get to a second parish there was no foot washing.

  2. BLB Oregon says:

    I haven’t been there yet, but an open call is planned.

  3. Dustin and Jamie P. says:

    I went to Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary in Griswold, CT (Franciscans of the Immaculate) where the priests washed the feet of the novices and professed brothers.

  4. pbewig says:

    At the Old Cathedral in St Louis, our auxiliary bishop washed the feet of the altar servers, five boys and one girl.

  5. thefeds says:

    I checked the USCCB website and they had a short discussion regarding the “viri”, but suggested that to wash both men’s and women’s feet was acceptable (not that I agree).

  6. ocleirbj says:

    All were men, older-middle aged and older.

  7. kal says:

    I attended the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw and the Bishop washed the feet of both men and women.

  8. OrthodoxChick says:

    Local N.O. parish. A couple of young adults, but mostly children of the parish had their feet washed. Both male and female. I wanted to go to the FFI but couldn’t get there in time. Stupid, stupid, stupid me. Next year, I’m rearranging the schedules of every family member and making it a point to get us to the FFI in Griswold.

  9. If women are viri, bears are viri. It’s okay, I brought my own towel.

  10. eyeclinic says:

    Men,women, and children…after all, “Holy Thursday is all about service.” I couldn’t watch.

  11. Marie Teresa says:

    The priest invited the entire congregation forward for “the washing of the feet.” Both men and women had their feet washed. I didn’t go forward.

    Only one person knelt for the Eucharistic Prayer … me.

    Two lay females distributed Communion while the priest stood behind the altar.

    The altar wasn’t stripped following Communion or Mass.

    On the one hand, it’s discouraging. Much of what happened is the agenda of a single person.

    On the other hand, last year, our former pastor declined to offer Mass on Holy Thursday at all. Guess, what I should focus on is that at least we had a Mass!

  12. kpoterack says:

    Mater Eccleisaie Mission in Berlin, NJ. Trid. Mass. Only men.

  13. lana says:

    NO: All men! And Eucharistic Prayer 1 to boot. I am in nirvana.

  14. Lepidus says:

    Unfortunately…. Reading read in “continuous format”…free-for-all foot washing in the middle…and consecration of the Precious Blood.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    For the foot washing we had some adult males, adult females, and male and female youth. All human beings, I am happy to say. No big puppets.

    We had a wonderful adult male who served as MC and this really made for a very smooth/reverent/intentional liturgy.

    Transfer of the Eucharist was the best very, very reverent.

    Homily I think was pretty good. Theme was “Actions Speak Louder than Words.”

    The church could have been more full, but I was happy that there was good showing of the parish youth.

    I don’t know what our ordinary did regarding excluding women from the foot washing. Obviously I could not be there. I am pretty sure he was inclusive in the style of Pope Francis. No drama here with prelates calling for eccentric and unenforceable restrictions on the rite.

  16. Lepidus says:

    Oops – that last statement probably wasn’t clear since there is always the consecration. What I was trying to say was consecration of a jug so it could be (illicitly) reserved for tomorrow.

  17. frjim4321 says:

    Unfortunately…. Reading read in “continuous format”…free-for-all foot washing in the middle…and consecration of the Precious Blood.

    I don’t know what this means, but it sounds scary.

  18. Charivari Rob says:

    Men and women, I think (I was sitting fairly far back).

    All statues securely shrouded, and a couple of turns through many verses of Pange Lingua for procession to the altar of repose.

    Oh, yes! One other thing. A, err……. umm… Well – a bat. It’s been a long winter and a rough spring here in the northeast, and I guess the Christological Goldfinches haven’t returned from migration yet. So – we had to make do with a liturgical bat.

    Poor little guy got inside and couldn’t get out. Tried every dormer up near the top of the vaulted ceiling, couldn’t find an opening. Circled lower and lower, buzzed the altar during the Consecration, sent a couple of altar servers diving for cover. Eventually, he perched on the railing of the ambo. Our pastor (not the principal celebrant tonight) calmly stepped across the sanctuary, picked up a spare towel, threw it over the bat, picked him up and headed for the nearest exit (good thing it was foot washing tonight – imagine trying to do that with just a purificator)

  19. Partly out of curiosity, and partly out of hope that nothing particularly silly would be done (such as a massive foot-washing festival where everyone gets to join in the “fun,”), I selected a parish where a priest who offers the extraordinary form Mass quite reverently is now in his first year as pastor. The Mass was in the ordinary form, and both men and women had their feet washed, but it was done solemnly as I would expect of this priest. Maybe next year I’ll see if I can find an extraordinary form Mass somewhere near here.

  20. liturmatt says:

    My priest did the washing of the feet (with men and women), and then he invited the congregation up for a hand washing. I was behind the reredos at the time lighting the incense, so I didn’t actually see it.

  21. donboyle says:

    There was an initial group of 12 (male and female, all ages), then several stations were set up, where lay people invited all members of the congregation to come up and get their feet washed by the (lay ministers of foot washing?) if they wanted it. Lots of arm-lifting by way of encouragement, as the cantors do. Took about 25 minutes. I hadn’t seen that variation before. I wasn’t so much offended as bored stiff.

  22. Deacon Don says:

    Yes, men and women, called up from the congregation. Anyone who want to volunteer on the spur of the moment.

    Of course, then Father decided to switch places with one of the parishioners, and have him wash his foot. … go figure!

  23. visigrad says:

    We have an orthodox pastor…Mass is always reverent…excellent homilies. Yet we have both women and men having their feet washed every year. When I declined an invitation and gave my reason, I was told the USCCB had approved it. Am I wrong ? It is my understanding that the USCCB has no authority to change anything without Vatican approval. But now we have the Pope washing the feet of women etc . My question Fr. Z is : Can the Pope ignore Canon Law….can he just change Canon Law ? It seems to me that …never mind…..I am in the very least confused,,,Help !

  24. Southern Baron says:

    There were male and female teens from the youth group. Still done in a very reverent manner but I do wish they knew better than to show up in jeans and hoodies. Coed foot washing is so common that I think this parish thought and also meant nothing of it. It was just standard. Father had a good homily on the priesthood and did not tell us we were all just like him or anything.

  25. friarpark says:

    I’m echoing what lana said earlier: “NO: All men! And Eucharistic Prayer 1 to boot. I am in nirvana.”
    This priest “get” Holy Thursday. I just wish his health was better. He is having issues with his diabetes and had to lean on people at times. Please pray for him.

  26. friarpark says:

    I meant “gets”. He speaks the truth, walks the walk and prays for us all. What a guy!!

  27. Lin says:

    The Mass was very beautiful tonight. Three priests con celebrated, one in his 20’s, one in his 50’s, and one near 80. I would prefer that the foot washing be done away with all together. Pre-Vatican II, we did not have foot washing. When did it become part of the service? The main celebrant washed the feet of 12 people; men, boys, and elderly women with walkers and canes, and one ex-Congress woman who voted for Obamacare. That’s all I can think of when I see her in Church. She and Nancy Pelosi were too cozy. Very distracting! I was relieved when the foot washing was over because as I started this post, the Mass was exceptionally beautiful tonight! (I did not go to my home parish which has become very progressive with our current pastor.)

  28. Patti Day says:

    Six volunteers, male and female, mishmash of Latin,English, and Spanish made for confused singing and responses. The readings were done in both English and Spanish. I heard people yawning and sighing.

  29. jhayes says:

    I was told the USCCB had approved it

    The USCCB responded to this question:

    “My parish liturgy committee has decided to allow both men and women to take part in the washing of the feet at the liturgy on Holy Thursday. I have always heard that only men may have their feet washed. Which does the Church allow?”

    by saying, in part:

    The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ’s disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.

    Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality, the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

    While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not to be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.

    The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity and Christian charity, of which the Holy Thursday foot washing rite is an eminent sign. All should obey the Lord’s new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love, especially at this most sacred time of the liturgical year when the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated in the powerful rites of the Triduum.


    That was written in 1987, but the website says “This is the latest statement of this Secretariat on the question. No subsequent legislation or instructions have necessitated a modification in the statement.”

    [You seem to want this to indicate OFFICIAL approval. No. It does not. It is still against the Church’s law. Period.]

  30. Nick M says:

    While our priests washed the feet of both men and women, I can’t complain. The priests concelebrated using the Roman Canon, and even though booklets in the pews said that it is customary to stand during the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament, almost everyone knelt. Most people chanted Pange Lingua and adored the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of repose in the chapel, even if just for a few moments.

  31. Lepidus says:

    Fr. Jim – Hope you caught my correction about consecration, if that was what you were commenting on… “Continuous format” was where they didn’t have separate readings. A pair of readers went back and forth between paragraphs and ran the OT reading right into the New Testament and then the Gospel. When they got to the point about washing the feet, they stopped and the priests went down to two stations where the people who have no clue about the red or the black could come up and have their feet washed or wash somebody elses.

  32. frjim4321 says:

    OIC, Lepidus.

  33. kjh says:

    A hodgepodge – let’s see – the lector read the first reading from the Chrism Mass. The Latino priest read the second reading in Spanish. (Could have been from the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper?) The deacon read the Gospel. The “Foot Washing” was an open invitation for everyone to come forward and have their hand(s) washed. “Because the Gospel says that they also washed hands.” There was a trio of men (I think it was a trio) singing various hymns, some in Latin, some were actually harmonious. The Eucharistic prayer was a shortened form of Eucharistic Prayer II.

    At least Jesus was there! And they used incense.

    I mean, it wasn’t all negative, but those are the interesting bits. They tend to be somewhat distracting. Unfortunately, the pastor is getting on in years and really cannot extend himself too much. I didn’t really think that he was going to make it through the rather short procession to repose the Eucharist at the tabernacle! He did, and I appreciate that he put in the effort to do that, he could have let the parochial vicar (Latino priest) do it.

  34. frjim4321 says:

    … repose the Eucharist at the tabernacle… -kjh

    I though reposition was to be in some other place?

  35. abasham says:

    In my parish the priests wash the feet of the altar boys. And since we don’t have any altar girls, problem solved.

  36. MikeCGannon says:

    St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal, VA: beautiful, reverent OF Mass, mostly in English, with the propers and a few other prayers sung in Latin by the schola. Father washed the feet of twelve of the approximately twenty altar servers. All was as it should have been.

  37. M. K. says:

    Carmel of the Infant Jesus in Zephyr, Ontario. Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form. No Mandatum, which is probably for the best given that the chapel of the Carmel is fairly small and there was a standing-room-only crowd, which might have made it logistically difficult to perform the Mandatum.

  38. geologus petrolei says:

    I went to the Novus Ordo Mass at the parish where I normally attend the EF on Sunday (the EF is performed by a different priest who drives over each Sunday afternoon). Monsignor invited a couple of laypersons (one man and one woman) to assist with the foot washing. He washed the feet of one altar boy and one altar girl. Then, he said he wanted at least one person per row to line up down the center aisle like a communion procession. There were about 60 people (probably 80% women 20% men) who volunteered to have their feet washed by Monsignor, the deacon, and the laypersons.

    On a positive note, he used Eucharistic Prayer I.

    My biggest gripe is the mass setting they used, which is the same cheerful OCP tripe you will hear in most masses here, and seems to me a bit too cheerful for such a solemn occasion. But the parish is pretty short on resources so I’m sure they are doing their best.

    The altar of repose was a folding-leg card table in the parish hall. It made me kind of sad to see the Lord placed there. Especially when there are two beautiful side altars in the church.

  39. artdob says:

    Extraordinary form mass this evening. Organ silenced following the Gloria. Washing of feet was done with 12 men while the schola began with the first two antiphons in the 1962 missal moving to Ubi Caritas. Father’s homily included a reference to one Father Z, and a relection of the lenten season where things are taken away leading up tonight when the Holy Eucharist is taken away. Procession at the end of mass followed by compline prayers. A beautiful mass in Camarillo California.

  40. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    Ordinary Form, Greek Kyrie, Latin Gloria, English Sanctus, Latin Agnus Dei, Roman Canon (English), those whose feet were washed by the pastor were all adult men. Pange lingua during procession to altar of repose entirely in Latin.
    All this written because, I thought, one was supposed to report if one posted. But what I am really wishing to post is that I thought the washing of feet was there at the get-go; i.e., in 1956 with the first (I think) revised Holy Week. (I was not Catholic then but was convinced of the truth of the Roman Catholic position but not permitted by my parents to become Catholic, which I thought that as under 21 I was bound to obey.) But my memory may be false. It did seem that the novelty then was of equal difficulty to the novelty on November 29, 1964 (when I was Catholic) or (where I was, in the Archdiocese of New York) on Palm Sunday 1969.

  41. Kirk O says:

    Our pastor washed the feet or I should say foot of both women and men. Now I will say I have no problem with it because to me if Pope Francis is good with so am I. One thing that I love about our pastor is that he is trying real hard to be traditional. At the end of mass he takes the Eucharist hosts out side, under our gazebo, to be adorned until midnight. We even have the K of C taking shifts guarding Him. It is really nice to see so much reverence given to our Lord. I only stayed for about 45 minutes because I had two f my kids with me.

  42. In a new parish, I decided to wash the feet of the three altar servers and the deacon. If memory serves, the number does not have to be twelve.

    Everything else was by the book.

    I did make one mistake–well, two–during the Roman Canon. I accidentally transposed the words added, just for this day: “that is, today,” to a bit earlier in the Canon. And, I extended my hands a bit early. At first, I thought, why did I do that? I know better, and I use the Roman Canon regularly. Then I realized, that’s when the priest extends his hands in the Extraordinary Form.

  43. tjmurphy says:

    OF mass.
    Chanted Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei.
    Sang Ubi Caritas, Mandatum Novum.

    Washing of feet included 6 men and 6 women done by all 4 priests

    Priest chanted most of the prayers. Congregation sang very well. Priest used Eucharistic Prayer I.

    Procession to Altar of Repose was accompanied by Pange Lingua and included canopy for priest to walk under.

  44. I didn’t go, but you can go to the Drudge Report to see what the pope did in Rome.

  45. matt1618 says:

    Praise God, this was my first Holy Thursday Mass as a new pastor and the main celebrant. I sat through men and women combinations all through seminary and as an Associate Pastor and now finally I was able to determine that there be 12 men. When people asked me this week why I was selecting only men I simply said, “It’s a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of the 12 aspostles and it has a subtle link to the priesthood with Jesus fulfilling Moses’s practice of washing Aaron and his sons in the ceremony of their consecration.” They all responded, “Oh… Ok”. But… alas… only 11 of the 12 men showed up, which was Jesus’ way of showing me that only He is perfect.

  46. majuscule says:

    We didn’t even have a dozen men in the pews so only one adult male was among the foot-washed. There were two adolescent males (one was server) and a couple of adult females and the rest of the twelve were youngsters. They were all volunteers.

    On the more orthodox side, Father has been insistant in the time we’ve had him that the cupboard in the sacristy that acts as the Altar of Repose be properly fitted out, draped with white cloths with a sanctuary lamp and kneelers for prayer. (Some prior years the Blessed Sacrament was just put in the unadorned cupboard.) We had a procession out the main door, outside and back in the side door to the Altar of Repose while we sang Pange Lingua in English and then Tantum Ergo in Latin.

    The altar was stripped and several of us along with Father stayed an hour in silent prayer.

    It is always nice to be in our normally “Sunday morning Mass only” church at night!

    I hope to go back for another holy hour tomorrow before Stations of the Cross and our Friday service.

  47. Gratias says:

    EF high Mass at St. Magdalen Chapel in Camarillo California. The feet were washed before the sermon. I was invited and feel it was a great honor to have my feet washed by such a Holy priest.

    A funny thing happened during the homily: “as Father Z explains, Lent is about taking things away”, our priest said. So Father Z, you are widely read even in Los Angeles and your influence spreads widely through the Internet. Congratulations.


  48. Athelstan says:

    St. Alphonsus, Baltimore: The only regular weekly TLM location (sadly) in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. For the first time in fifteen years, Msgr. Bastress chose to make use of the foot-washing rite. And he took the time – a good several minutes – to explain his decision at the end of his homily to what he had to know would be a skeptical traditionalist crowd (well, some of them). It’s in the (1956) missal, he emphasized, reading from the page. He said he had talked it over with his staff, and decided, “We’ll try it, and see what happens.”

    The tricky part was that up until that point, he had only seven volunteers before Mass. He asked if five more men would be willing to come forward. Within seconds, five men stood up, and walked up the sanctuary. Monsignor seemed quite grateful. The foot-washing proceeded without any incident. If there was grumbling, or quiet acts of reparation, it was hidden from me.

    As a side note, the very high church Anglo-Catholic Ordinariate parish of Mount Calvary, a few blocks away, also chose to use the foot-washing rite for the first time in several years under the rubrics of the new Ordinariate missal. There, the twelve men were selected from the acolyte crew, the canopy bearers and the sexton.

  49. LeeF says:

    Is there a theological point to only men being chosen? In regards to laity that is, as opposed to a situation where only clerics are chosen.

    If not, although I generally welcome liturgical rigorism because exceptions can be so far out of bounds and because of the mentality it breeds, then a technical violation or not I don’t see something that comes up once a year as being worth getting excited about, *unless* there is indeed a theological point to selecting only men. I am far more concerned about the frequent and widespread abuse of extraordinary ministers.

  50. LeeF says:

    On an additional note, this brings to mind the controversy over the ICEL translations and the retention of “men” instead of inclusive language, because such corresponds to the Latin, and *also* because such usage of “men” is not gender specific/exclusive to rational non-PC thinking folk, but rather means “mankind”.

    Additionally according to my limited understanding of canon law, a principle of interpretation is that it be interpreted according to the mind of the legislator. And since Francis is the supreme legislator, it is his mind according to which such interpretations should be referred, since even if he did not originally enact the legislation, his will is that which keeps it in place. By his washing the feet of women himself, it seems as if to his mind, “viri” is to be interpreted in the broader sense of “mankind”, despite Latin having another term for same.

  51. Martlet says:

    Altar servers. I think it was three boys and one girl, although I cannot be sure. My sorrow came at the end of Mass though. Remember that this is in a multi-denominational chapel at an air base (not Ramstein) so “a place of repose” has to be the Blessed Sacrament chapel. The priest knelt, but apart from us and one other couple, and a lone other person, the sparse congregation remained standing as the Lord was taken, without ceremony, to the chapel. We went to seek Him out and stayed with Him for a few minutes, but then there was so much loud talking and coming and going that we drove home and went into the local German church to sit a while with Jesus, in silence.

  52. Facta Non Verba says:

    Both men and women, whoever volunteered at the spur of the moment. Then, I was disappointed that Eucharistic Prayer IV was used. At communion, Father had to chase someone down who hadn’t consumed the Host before returning to the pew. After adoration, I walked to a couple of other parishes in the neighborhood for adoration. I am blessed to live in a neighborhood with several churches within a walkable distance.

  53. At Sanctissima Trinita dei Pellegrini, no Maundy at all. Also no sermon. They did have an absolutely beautiful Altar of Repose, though, and I was able to visit 7 or 8 churches on my way home afterwards.

  54. Vincent says:

    OF, only men were chosen. I was the youngest, aged 21. Also, Roman Canon, and the Mass was sung with a Latin Agnus Dei. The only sad part was the Pange Lingua in English. Poor old St Thomas…

  55. incredulous says:

    Reverential NO. Majority woman had feet washed. EMHC retook vows. 70 percent women. Probable 150 EMHC including myself.

    Terrible divorce cases in parish. Pastor apparently rejects church law and does not see where his disobedience leads in terms of spiritual and ethical breakdown of his flock.

    Sin of Eve’s disobedience to God’s word and weak men who go along on full display.

  56. acardnal says:

    “. . . the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed . . . .
    “The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity . . . .”

    Jhayes quoted the above from the USCCB. The USCCB is not approving it. They are simply acknowledging what has occurred because of the innovation of some priests and bishops without the approval of the Holy See! The USCCB does not have the authority to change the liturgy on its own. Any changes must be approved by the Holy See. This reminds me of how similar innovations initially occurred in the USA without approval of the Holy See, for example, communion in the hand and standing instead of kneeling for communion. There is no “ecclesial unity” in the Church when liturgical behavior is different from parish to parish, and diocese to diocese!

    A wise priest once said, “Save the liturgy, save the world.”

  57. daughter of poor gemma says:

    100% teenagers from the youth group, 50% male and 50% female. Sigh. At least this year the feet were washed by the priests, and not by other parishioners…

  58. Stu says:

    I’m late to the game in commenting but here goes.

    By expanding the Mandatum to include everyone and making it all about “service”, it seems to be taking something that was part of the Holy Thursday liturgy for symbolic purposes and turning it into some manner of spectacle. Where before you could easily see the connection between Christ washing the feet of His priests in the context of the institution of the priesthood, the open calls or even choreographing of this event to include a diverse representation of people will only make this a man-centered distraction IMHO. In fact, I now look for Holy Thursday’s news soundbite every year to be “who was chosen to have their feet washed by the Pope” and why didn’t he choose a homosexual or Asian or whatever.

    So If I were a priest, I think I would just exercise the option of not having it at all.

    My pastor only washed the feet of the altar boys.

  59. Ben Yanke says:


    Might want to check your definitions: there’s nothing eccentric about following what the book actually says. That’s called obedience, not eccentricity.

    Now rewriting the rubrics to make the rite fit your own ideas of what it should be instead of what it actually says it is…. that’s what I call eccentric.

  60. Kerry says:

    At our small Saints Peter & Paul in Dimock, SD, where usually a girl or two are adorned in the white bathrobes, there were ten boys and young men in proper attire. All assisted at Mass, and had their feet washed. Pange Lingua, Altar of Repose with kneeler, candles.

  61. Wiktor says:

    What was innovative (and boring) was half-an-hour “greetings” to priests, when a crowd of various people gathered *in the sanctuary* and gave the clergy flowers and other stuff.
    Yes, I can understand something like this if done in more discrete manner, but this was too much, too long.

  62. Chiara says:

    Our pastor always schedules the First Holy Communion of our children on Holy Thursday (very appropriate, I think). Last year and this year, he washed the feet of these children (there were 12 last year, and 20 this year). In view of the Pope’s practice of washing the feet of child prisoners, I think this is a good thing. I know this will not be a popular feeling with you and most of the people who read your blog. But I think it is a good lesson for the children, something they will remember from the most important day of their lives, the day they received the true Body and Blood of Jesus. And on a practical note, it solved the yearly problem Father had of finding willing parishioners and silenced those who resented not being chosen. I was very pleased with Father washing the feet of the children, and I think my fellow parishioners were, too (we had a packed church – at least 300 people were present),

  63. Suzanne Carl says:

    11 men and one boy, who may have been a last minute stand-in, had their feet washed by our Pastor, during an NO Mass that was in English/Spanish/Latin, without being a “mish-mash” as others experienced it. We had 17 altar servers, all male, including a parish seminarian.

    I once was asked to have my feet washed by the Archbishop at our former parish, beside my husband and our 8 year-old son. I did it, but felt it wasn’t right. Tried to say no, but was pressed hard by our Pastoral Councilor.

    I find Holy Thursday deeply moving… I feel bereft as the Eucharist is moved and the church stripped. Our Pastor never fails to make Mass as reverent as possible.

  64. Joseph-Mary says:

    Thanks be to God! Our campus parish offered an earlier TLM so only a man had his feet washed. It was abbreviated because the larger community was to follow. The parishes in town wash the feet of men, women, and children. I was even asked to have mine washed at the parish but declined. It is SO good to be able to assist at the Extraordinary Form and no that the rituals will be carried properly.

  65. Lin says:

    Interesting response from the USCCB….. No wonder so many priests say the rubrics are just guidelines! That is why so many people think the Ten Commandments are just guidelines!

  66. Evovae says:

    Since the Mandatum is not a sacrament, but in fact is something of a liturgical novelty, I find it hard to get worked up over who gets their feet washed. As for the complaints about breaking church law, the most obnoxious thing is how this all gets interpreted as a “break from tradition” (cf. the wikipedia article on the mandatum: “In a notable break from tradition in this regard, Pope Francis washed the feet of two women at his celebration of Mass on Maundy Thursday, 2013.”) . I think this sort of message is ultimately more damaging than the practical deviations from the written rite.

    While I wish they’d just change the rite in order to put this to rest asap, I don’t think it’s significant enough to make a big deal about it and thereby let ourselves be painted as legalistic, “rules are rules” pedants for something that, again, is not a sacrament, but rather a liturgical novelty. As the very least, this framing seems to me to put the issue far away from any hints of female priests. Oh, they’ll use it in favor of that anyway…but then, ANYTHING will serve as a club to beat that dead horse. Sad.

  67. Hans says:

    We had the traditional hand washing, which as close to Good Friday as we are apparently reminds nobody else of someone named Pontius.

    Next year, with a new pastor, … I know one of the other deacons plans to argue for a continuation of this practice, but I know one who won’t.

  68. knute says:

    Our new pastor seems very much the moderate. There were both men and women whose feet were washed (though how much of that is attributable to ignorance is unknown, as I wasn’t able to make it to the liturgy council meeting), but then he said the Roman Canon (which he ought to have, given the circumstances, but it’s still only an option, and I’m very happy he used it), used incense (the first time in our parish in about a decade), and had a solemn procession with the exposed Eucharist in a monstrance to the altar of repose (which was beautiful – both the procession and the altar). You win some and you lose some, but he’s trying to bring back authentic catholic culture to our poor country parish that has been neglected by the bishop for so long.

  69. Heather F says:

    We had all men at my (NO) parish, most or all of whom were people involved in various forms of service at the church: I recognized a few ushers, lectors, the guy who does a lot of the day to day handyman stuff, etc. No overt attention was called to this but given the theme of Christian service it seemed a nice touch.

    Also: 5 priests (though one was acting as master of ceremonies), lots of incense, and a nice simple Tenebrae service at 11pm.

  70. disco says:

    Extraordinary form – did not include washing of feet.

  71. EKolk says:

    We attended at our NO parish (Christ the King, Ann Arbor MI) which is basically the most orthodox, traditional, NO parish I’ve ever been able to attend (interestingly it is one of a handful of cannonically Charismatic parishes in the country).

    Last night, as it has been for the 6 years we’ve attended the Mass of the Lord’s Supper there, the feet of 12 adult MEN drawn ahead of time from the congregation were washed. This, however, is unsurprising because we also ONLY have Male altar servers period during the whole year. We regularly have a whole crew of them, ranging from boys who have recently made their first communion to high school age to adult male trained acolytes. As we do on Holy Feasts we also had many of our seminarians taking part in the Liturgy (and our parish produces more seminarians alone than many dioceses do).

    The ordinary was a greek Kyrie, English Gloria, Latin Sanctus, English acclamation, Latin Amen, Latin Agnus Dei (as is typical of our parish). The antiphons for the Mandatum were *the prescribed antiphons* sung by the choir with one antiphon used as a congregational response. The Pange Lingua (as it has been every year we’ve been there) was sung by the choir in Latin alternating with the congregation singing the translation in English. The reserved Eucharist was processed around the entire congregation, up and down every aisle with all reverently adoring before being taken to the altar of repose for further adoration (which is packed right after the Liturgy with people waiting to get in). When my husband returned for his usual weekly adoration hour at 1 am, there were still a few adorers (usually there are just 1 or 2 at his hour but there were close to 10 the whole hour).

    The Roman Canon was used (and my only sadness was that it was the short form with less saints).

    The *only* departure from the rubrics was that due to health issues, our priest was only able to wash the feet of 3 of the 12 men. After those 3, the remaining 9 were washed by 3 of our permanent deacons.

  72. Lutgardis says:

    NO Mass that was very reverent compared to our usual.

    All were invited to process up and take turns washing our hands by dipping them in bowls of water, with the person ahead of us drying our hands. No foot-washing at all and a big emphasis on the service component (we are a huge peace & justice parish).

    I was delighted to see incense used for once during a Mass and to hear the Pange Lingua during the procession at the end (albeit in a very modern English translation). I am focusing on the good.

    We gave our parish a fair chance this year, but I think we will parish-hop for Maundy Thursday next year.

  73. OF Mass at Holy Ghost Church in Knoxville, TN: Twelve adult males foot-washed; Kyrie (Gr), Sanctus and Agnus Dei chanted by whole congregation in Latin; Gloria in Excelsis Dei intoned by priest in Latin, followed by glorious brass and organ fanfare as bells rung, then congregation continued in English using the chant tones given in Roman Missal 3e; confiteor form of the penitential rite; propers, preface, and dialogue responses chanted; Franck’s polyphonic Panis Angelicus during silent offertory rite; Roman Canon (EP 1); Pange Lingua (both Latin and English verses) sung during procession to the altar of repose.

  74. thomas jd says:

    It seems that one word ( viri = men) is not the definitive source for Holy Thursday!

  75. Bev says:

    Perhaps a similar poll could be posted that asked only those who attend a Novus Ordo liturgy? My traditional liturgy vote dilutes perception of abuse of what is probably going on in the Catholic world — and I imagine the number of trads who follow Fr. Z. are greater in proportion than those what the actual break-down is in the non-digital world.

  76. Gwen says:

    At our Cathedral, our Bishop washed the feet of 12 adult men. He celebrated a very reverent Ordinary Form Mass, with the Roman Canon. Our rector was the cantor, and the music was heavenly. Missa de Angelis, chanted in Latin. I don’t know what the organ and bell interlude was after the intonation of the Gloria and before the remainder of the Gloria, but it brought people to tears. Ubi Caritas with our new Children’s Choir singing the refrain was amazing. The cathedral was packed. Everybody knelt (without having to be told) when the bishop knelt in front of the altar to incense the Blessed Sacrament before the procession to the altar of repose. Four Knights held the canopy and the people knelt as the bishop processed past them. At least five repetitions of all verses of the Pange Lingua, led by our rector, and picked up by the choir which had processed to the parish hall in advance, and was waiting for the bishop & Blessed Sacrament (parish hall had been remade into a chapel with tabernacle on an altar and candles, flowers).

    Our rector will celebrate one of the Easter Sunday Masses in the Extraordinary Form, with our beautiful local schola chanting the Mass.

    A little slice of heaven here in the backwoods.

  77. HobokenZephyr says:

    Usual NO Mass: Incense, Latin Gloria, Sanctus & Agnus Dei. Men chosen, but Bishop was ill and Rector has broken wrist, so no foot washing (last year, Bishop had broken hand, so no foot washing then either). Pange, procession, Altar of Repose, stripped altars, statues and processional cross covered. Bells turned off.

  78. Gwen says:

    One final comment. Doesn’t Viri mean men? As in men? Not pre-pubescent boys? Not girls? Not women? Not infants?

    If we insist on strictly interpreting the rubrics, shouldn’t we be consistent? Aren’t these Viri standing in for the apostles, just as the priest is in persona Christi?

    If this rite is to include “those who could be priests,” we should carefully exclude elderly married men, right? And could include infant boys.

    Let’s be consistent about holding to the rubrics, if we are going to insist that all hold to the rubrics.

  79. iPadre says:

    Ordinary Form, ad orientem. Missa De Angelis, Roman Canon in vernacular. No foot washing this year. Beautiful solemn procession from the church to our Adoration Chapel and the congregation with lighted tapers. It seemed as if we had more people than normal. Chapel with Altar of Repose open for visits until Midnight.

  80. Solemn Extraordinary Form (absolutely beautiful!). Only men participated in the foot washing rite.

  81. jfk03 says:

    At my Greek Catholic parish, the feet of 12 men were washed. (I really can’t get all fluffed up about parishes where womens’ feet are washed; there are more serious liturgical aberrations.)

    The Byzantine service for Holy Thursday is a vesperal Divine Liturgy, with the anaphora of St. Basil. The theme of the sticheras is Judas’s betrayal of the Master. He is the lover of money. After the Lord dips the bread and hands it to Judas, he departs and it is dark outside. The Lord completes his sacrifice in the Upper Room; Judas departs; and the rest is like a chain reaction.

  82. Sonshine135 says:

    My Priests washed the feet of men alone.

    Regarding the USCCB: If you are going to issue a statement acknowledging that this is occurring, shouldn’t you also issue a statement condemning it? True, no change to Cannon Law was made, but isn’t the USCCB just acting like Eric Holder towards immigration laws. In other words, they know its the Law, but wink wink…nudge nudge….they aren’t going to enforce it. Doesn’t that make them accomplices?

    There should be no wondering why there are problems and disunity in our church.

  83. I didn’t vote because I didn’t go. Not that I didn’t want to, but because my husband gets home too late from work to drive the 45 minutes to our parish where only the feet of men are washed.

    My mom, 80, and my step-dad, 90, wanted to go to Mass so my husband took them to a parish about 10 miles from us. I already knew what was going to happen and I told them, “I can’t go and fume through the whole ordeal.” I contacted my pastor to make sure I wasn’t sinning. Anyway, they washed the feet of men, women, and one little girl.

  84. iowapapist says:

    At Sacred Heart, Fort Dodge Iowa, we were informed that a small number of men and women had volunteered and that more were being sought (including infants). Last year, Sacred Heart announced that only men would participate in the foot washing. After receiving angry, threatening emails and calls, they decided (last year) to forgo the foot washing. Then Pope Francis did his thing. Chalk one up for the liberals in Iowa, a place where they seem to be winning the war.

  85. smcollinsus says:

    At our parish we never use the option to wash feet. That way no one ever questions who, why, etc. This year our Parochial Vicar said Mass at a local convent – without foot washing. And we had a visiting diocesan priest concelebrate – who also wanted to be at a parish that did not wash feet. I think it is a sad state of affairs that good priests and liturgists avoid a beautiful rite because it is openly abused in so many places. But, at this point in liturgical history, I totally agree.

    We had a beautiful organ prelude, “Lord, Who at that First Eucharist” for entrance, and the Missa de Angelis “Gloria” accompanied by tower bells. Then the organ was turned off and chant was used for the rest of the Mass. The Preface was chanted and EP I was used. As is also traditional at this Mass, there was no “sharing” of the Peace. “Pange lingua” used alternating Latin and English verses – verse 1 in Latin then in English, etc. – until the priest was at the Altar of Repose and we sang “Tantum ergo” verses in Latin only.

  86. govmatt says:

    Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore.

    Mass with the Archbishop. Homily devoted, in part, to increasing reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Footwashing was 12 men: a priest, 1 or 2 deacons, a layman, and the balance seminarians.

    It was really an excellent mass. Roman Canon and very reverent music. Most, if not all, of the seminarians in the archdiocese were there. Some assisted with mass. All received kneeling.

  87. Ironic that the ocassion of Christ’s prayer for unity becomes an occasion of division because prideful clergy turn a demonstration of clerical humility into a show of disobedience to Christ’s Church.

  88. Noelle says:

    I was told that our parish did its usual foot-washing of anyone and everyone. I haven’t attended the Holy Thursday Mass for several years: a few years ago I felt the need to go pray early in the morning of Good Friday and saw dozens of plastic tubs (from Walmart?) scattered all through the pews from the night before.

    And I do not understand the desire of any woman to have her feet washed by her priest. I am by no means a prude, but this strikes me as abnormal and immodest.

  89. YorkshireStudent says:

    St Mary’s Cathedral, Middlesbrough:

    A mixed group of 12 men and women – all adults. I remember, when enthusiasm was greater, we had all men. I suppose since His Holiness’ own Washing there is less imperative to ensure it is all male (though I wonder if it would still have been mixed were it more widely known that 12 participants are not essential).

    I was rather incredulous, however, that the five con-celebrating priests (including the Diocesan MC/Dean of Cathedral), the MC and four altar servers were ignored when it was realised that there weren’t sufficient willing men. I can see the value of lay participation in this, but since it was the Bishop celebrating washing the feet of priests would still have suggested charity, and the inversion of authority.

    Other than that, a beautiful service, Eucharistic Prayer I, Tantum Ergo, etc.

  90. Will D. says:

    11 men and one teenage altar boy. They appeared to have been chosen prior to Mass. We have a new pastor, and this is his first Triduum with us. Previously, the choir director would invite people “who feel called” to come to the altar and the former pastor would wash the feet of all comers.
    Also, in previous years, the altar of repose was in our gymnasium (not exactly a noble setting, in my book) this year it was moved to the old Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The altar was stripped by the priest and deacon immediately after placing the Sacrament in the tabernacle of repose, instead of on Friday morning.
    I file this one under brick-by-brick.

  91. Will D. says:

    Oh, and the priest also delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon against abuses of the Eucharist. Talking before Mass, chewing gum when recieving the sacrament, fornication, etc. Then he grabbed a bible and picked up from the end of the second reading and added the warning from 1 Cor 11:27-29:

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.

    A much needed warning. It was a sermon like that that got me to return to the Sacrament of Confession a few years ago.

  92. Mike says:

    NO, Two priests, I believe, plus two deacons. Huge schola , with Latin introits, 12 altar boys had their feet washed. Excellent homily.

    This parish in McLean, VA also has a noon TLM every week. It’s an awesome parish indeed, where, from what I see as a visitor, the TLM is the anchor of the other liturgies.

  93. Suburbanbanshee says:

    As Father Z has explained before, Jesus’ washing of the Apostles’ feet is a direct take from Moses’ instituting the Temple priesthood by washing the feet of Aaron and Aaron’s sons.

    All Catholic male humans are in the same position, potentially, as a Jewish man of the Kohan line — they can become priests if called to it. Women can’t. And if you want to go back even further, the original priesthoods were those of all Jewish male firstborns (before Baalpeor messed that up), and of Melchizadek the King of Salem (guy), and of Abel and Cain offering stuff (guys).

    And yes, just like “homo” means a human of either sex, and “femina” means a female human (preferably adult), “vir” means a male human (preferably adult). The secondary meaning of “vir” and “femina” is “husband” and “wife,” so you probably want somebody who’s pubescent (Romans married early). “Viri probati” (tested and tried men) are going to be older men in most cases.

  94. Charlotte Allen says:

    At St. Dominic’s in Southwest Washington we had a generally beautiful Maundy Thursday Mass. No female foot-washing (thank God!), because, since the church is attached to a Dominican priory, twelve Dominican priests played the twelve apostles. The prior said the Mass and washed the feet. Perfect. Lots of incense, lovely but restrained flowers, gold vestments for the priest and deacon, Eucharistic Prayer #1, and the Pange Lingua sung in Latin during the procession from the church to the priory chapel’s altar of repose, also decked in flowers. Nice liturgical touches, such as the tabernacle door flung open during the Mass and the sanctuary lamp out. We could have used more Latin during the Mass, but you can’t have everything.

  95. Precentrix says:

    I said “only females” because statistically you can ignore the one man who was clearly there in an attempt to make it up to eleven or something… and the event was preceded by a spiel about “in the last few years there has been a move amongst some traddy priests…”

    Meanwhile, up the road, curate managed to wash the feet of seven men, and only men, but that’s not the Mass I attended. He is, of course, one of those “traddy priests”.

  96. BLB Oregon says:

    By “everyone being invited”, I meant that both men and women were chosen as the first subjects and everyone else was invited to come forward to participate, too, if they were so inclined. There seemed to be far fewer who actually did than in past years, though.

  97. NO Mass at my home parish. Couldn’t make the EF I love. Sadly. A mix. Men, women and children at the foot washing. Hymns mostly in English, except the Our Father and then the procession music, Pange Lingua, and Tantum Ergo. Priest was smiling and looked to be laughing all throughout the procession with the canopy. I hope it was the joy of the Lord, because it looked inappropriate.

    The worst was directly after. What a cacophony of talking! Right before the repository. Ring-led by the elderly Monsignor.


  98. Dennis Martin says:

    The comments, most but not all of which I have read, make me so very grateful for Rev. C. Frank Phillips at St. John Cantius. In the nearly 20 years I’ve attended there, he has always emphasized the priestly focus for Holy Thursday. To me the reading from John is clear enough: Jesus was alone with the Twelve. He was their Master and Teacher, he washed their feet and told them to do the same. The Mandatum is not principally about a general ethos of service but about the Master serving his chosen Apostles.

    One can get to a general ethos of service from that, for sure. But that’s a second stage, theologically. We have 364 days in the year to do the general ethos of service bit. Is it too much to leave it aside once a year?

    The only two things that all the Protestant Reformers agreed on were that the Mass is not an expiatory Sacrifice and that the entire bishops-in-apostolic-succession-indelible-ontological-ordination idea was contrary to Jesus’ will, a later “human” and sinful invention. A clear distinction between clergy and laity is crucial to Catholic doctrine. Neither is “better” than the other, just different, distinct.

    The first of the two points on which all Protestants agreed, rejecting the Sacrifice of the Mass, was attacked before and after the Council and, for many if not most “Catholics in the West today is scarcely visible.

    The second point on which all Protestants agree, rejecting a sacramental priesthood, has long been under attack. Judging from the comments, one of the major supports for it in the liturgical year, Holy Thursday, is been largely eroded.

    Once one abandons the Catholic understanding of priesthood, ordination of women becomes logically indefensible. So those who advocate the latter have reason to undermine the former.

    This is not unlike what happened with contraception. Once you sever the necessary link between procreation and sexuality, same-sex normalization is hard to deny.

    Priests, bishops, pastors need to think long and hard about strategies for reinforcing Catholic belief in the Catholic doctrines regarding Holy Orders. Turning the Maundy of Holy Thursday into yet another plea for more soup kitchens, even when done at the highest level, is unwise. It may already be too late to reverse this form of Protestantization, at least for the broad majority of Catholics.

    When the persecution hits in full force, this hollowing out of the meaning of Holy Orders and of the distinctive missions of lay people and clergy will make it that much easier to create a “Patriotic Protestant Catholic Church” to use as a club to beat up the minority of Catholics and their bishops who still remember what Catholicism is.

  99. msmsem says:

    We had a mix of men and women, elderly and young. It was also the first time I actually heard “If it’s good enough for Pope Francis…” used as a reason. I’ll accept that reason when we also start inviting non-Catholics to come to our Holy Thursday Mass to have their feet washed (just make sure they don’t receive the Eucharist!). Hey, if it’s good enough for Pope Francis…

  100. Amerikaner says:

    Thank goodness I live within a good diocese. All things were properly done and very reverential. The church was also filled to capacity.

    I can’t imagine how people cope in parishes/dioceses where they do crazy things. What is sad is that due to the need for agendas and/or experimentalism, it is the faithful that are harmed and scandalized.

  101. Jeannie_C says:

    Prayerful, reverent NO Mass. Priest and Deacon renewed their vows. Priest invited volunteers (men and women) to foot washing, stating he was in service to ALL his flock. Liberal use of incense throughout the Mass. Altar was stripped. Procession of Blessed Sacrament at end, then Exposition until later into the night.

  102. DFWShook says:

    I don’t understand this relentless rebellion against tradition. Went to the local N.O. Church for Mass last night. Of course none of the statues nor the Crucifix have been covered. A small army of “Eucharistic Ministers” (yes, that is the term that is used at this parish) as is the norm is dispatched during Mass. Both men and women had their feet washed. Bells and music continue to be used after the Gloria. Regardless of the intentions, this “stripping down” of traditions is resulting in a de-mystification and a growing irreverence during Mass. The is no wonder during the Mass and most of it seems rather common place. Announcements read over a loud speaker before gifts are brought up. Because the Tabernacle is located in a side chapel out of view of the main church area, altar servers and EMs are bowing to the Crucifix rather than the altar. Cell phones going off through out the Mass. If fact last night, Father had to interrupt the Mass to request that some one turn off their phone. I was taught that Mass was “Heaven on Earth” and we and the Angels together glorify and worship our Lord. Instead, it has become a cacophony of noise and organized confusion, much like a train station or airport terminal.

    Today, our modern materialistic culture understands the power of the senses – sight, sound and smell. Advertising, music, entertainment constantly overload our senses and appeal to our lower passions. In the past the Church clearly understood the power of the senses. It did so with the Iconoclasts and during the Counter Reformation. But today when we so desperately need our senses cleansed, many churches have been stripped of anything that appeals to our senses. No beauty, no ceremony, no reverence, no mystery.

  103. The Astronomer says:

    Nancy Pelosi, well-known true believing (c)atholic, went to an Episcopalian Church in San Francisco so SHE could wash the feet of people. Can’t wait till Fishwrap extolls this; they’ll probably say she’s acting in the spirit of Pope Francis.


  104. HyacinthClare says:

    Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix, FSSP, Extraordinary Form. Of COURSE only men.
    Every year I remember when I was still in an NO parish and I got my feet washed, years ago. I understand Peter’s embarrassment better when I think of how excruciatingly embarrassed and improper I felt, with our dear, 80-plus-year-old priest kneeling in front of me! I had no idea there was a rule against my being there, but I knew I was ENTIRELY out of place.

  105. “While I wish they’d just change the rite in order to put this to rest asap, ” yes. as long as we don’t lose sight that the Passover with Jesus was the institution of the PRIESTHOOD. It would be better to change the rite than to have this scuttle every Holy Week. Do one or the other. Either stop it (word to Pope Francis)altogether or change the rite.

  106. LeeF says:

    @suburbanbanshee who said:
    “As Father Z has explained before, Jesus’ washing of the Apostles’ feet is a direct take from Moses’ instituting the Temple priesthood by washing the feet of Aaron and Aaron’s sons.
    All Catholic male humans are in the same position, potentially, as a Jewish man of the Kohan line — they can become priests if called to it. Women can’t. ”

    That is an answer to my question above, as is there a theological reason for men only. But is it the only valid interpretation? While in rejecting the sacramental priesthood, Protestants instead adhere to the doctrine of a “priesthood of all believers”, they thus also interpret that to mean all are called to obey the Great Commission to spread the Gospel. We Catholics likewise believe all are called to carry out that commission, apart from, but in accordance with and supported by the priesthood. And the fact that only apostles were present at the Last Supper obviously rules out anyone else being present, but does not necessarily mean all female believers are excluded from foot washing.

    From the actions of Pope Francis, he must interpret this in such a broader sense, correctly or incorrectly. Also, since only apostles were present for the Last Supper, only they were present at the institutions of the Eucharist and received same. Yet all believers can receive the Eucharist. Just as the priest receives ordination only from bishops and then goes out and shares his sacramental faculties with all. Apart from ordination itself, priests share all they receive in theological and pastoral formation and the fruits (sacraments) of their sacramental faculties.

    Again for me, this is not the most pressing liturgical issue. And since we know that Jesuits are somewhat “liturgy-lite”, then perhaps this is best left for a successor of Francis. Press it now and perhaps he will convert his red into the black for everyone.

  107. avatquevale says:

    Meanwhile, in San Francisco…
    Pelosi plays pope.

    “Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helps Bishop Marc Andrus wash the feet of two children Thursday at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church.

    Let’s politicize Holy Thursday.

  108. I concelebrated at St James, Spanish Place in London; very beautiful liturgy, and only the feet of men were washed.

    As to the significance of the Holy Thursday washing rite and its connection with Holy Orders, I posted an explanation on my blog about it.

  109. I tried to encode the link in the words “on my blog” above, but it doesn’t seem to work. Here is the URL, for those who may be interested:

  110. bernadette says:

    Here in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, at Ss. Peter and Paul in Wilmington it was standing room only and the feet of twelve men were washed. The Mass was Novus Ordo but very traditional with clackers used instead of sanctus bells, the way it used to be done on Holy Thursday.

  111. In my parish, 10 men and 2 women had their feet washed. What was unfortunate was that the PP when he flicked the pages of the Missal during the Canon missed a chunk of the Canon. He went from …hand on the catholic and apostolic faith directly to On the day before he was to suffer…

  112. James Mary Evans says:

    For the first time in 11 years of our family attending this parish, women were chosen along with men to have their feet washed. And yes, because the Pope did it, we can do it… Well, that’s the reasoning behind it anyway.

  113. jhayes says:

    Cardinal O’Malley said he queried the CDW in 2004 and they said that he could make a pastoral decision to wash the feet of women at the Mandatum. After 34 years of washing the feet of men only, he started in 2005 including women in the foot washing.

    In August 2004, “at the time of the ad limina visit to Rome, the archbishop sought clarification on the liturgical requirements of the rite of foot washing from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which has the responsibility for administering the liturgical law of the Church,” said an archdiocesan statement released in March. “The Congregation affirmed the liturgical requirement that only the feet of men be washed at the Holy Thursday ritual, which recalls Christ’s service to the apostles who would become the first priests of the Church.”

    “The Congregation did, however, provide for the archbishop to make a pastoral decision concerning his practice of the rite if such a decision would be helpful to the faithful of the archdiocese,” the statement added. “Archbishop O’Malley has determined that he will participate in a modified rite of foot washing at the Cathedral this year [2005]. The participants in the rite will include men and women from the Cathedral parish and from social service agencies providing support to community members in need.”


  114. everett says:

    At our small parish in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, we had the most normal Holy Thursday Mass in the 19 years of our parish’s existence. For the mandatum we had 6 people, I think 3 men and 3 women. While not ideal, I’m pretty sure this was the only illicit thing in the entire Liturgy, which is a new record for a Triduum service. The transfer of the Eucharist was slightly awkward (our space isn’t ideal for this), but all in all, our best Holy Thursday service yet. Maybe in the next few years, especially after we build our new Church, we can work towards going the “viri” route.

  115. Suburbanbanshee says:

    We have a priesthood of all believers, the exact same way that both male and female Jews were part of “a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” We’re a priestly people, yes, because God chose us to be like priests compared to all the other people in all the other religions of the world, and to call the rest of the world to worship God.

    But all Jews are not the same as all male Jews, who are not the same as all firstborn male Jews, who are not the same as all Jewish males of a priestly line or all Jewish males of a royal line.

    And my commission as a daughter of God, royal princess, prophetess, etc. through Baptism and Confirmation and Communion is not the same as any Catholic man, and their powers aren’t the same as a deacon’s, and his aren’t the same as Fr. Z’s, and Fr. Z’s aren’t the same as a bishop’s, and the bishop’s powers aren’t the same as those of Pope Francis. We share certain powers and vocations through the Sacraments we share, and through our common membership in Christ’s Body. But. Not the same.

    Similarly, my powers and vocation as a single person without children are not the same as those of a Catholic mother or a Catholic father, or of a Catholic wife or husband, or indeed of a great many other people. I am different from them in kind and degree as well (in the case of fathers and husbands) as in sex. Why would I want to arrogate their powers and special duties without actually having kids or being married? I like who I am and who God called me to be.

  116. Blaise says:

    We had twelve men. But bizzarely one of them was wearing a hat all through Mass. Sigh.
    We did have Eucharistic prayer I which was good to hear. In theory it was good to have the missa de angelis as well but it was well and truly massacred by the “choir” and congregation. Not that any other Mass setting wouldn’t most likely have been worse. At least the drums and bizzare organ playing was kept for the “hymns” rather than the Mass parts. The only tolerable music was the Pange Lingua.
    The parish priest is theologically sound, and made much reference to the Last Supper as the institution not only of the Eucharist but also the Priesthood. Shame he doesn’t seem to be able to exert any control over the musicians.

  117. lisag says:

    Father, do you read all of the comments? At Our Lady of Guadalupe Windsor, California there were men and women dressed up as in Jesus’ time for the feet washing. The altar was pushed back to allow for 14 people to sit on benches that were brought up and taken down after the washing of the feet. It was a bilingual Spanish/English mass with a band. Women left baskets of bread on the altar steps before mass for Father to bless with holy water. The bread was shared after mass outside the church. There were dancing girls dressed in white dresses with bowls of incense at the offertory, along with other girls in white carrying up the gifts. At the end of mass the Eucharist in a Covered Bowl (don’t know the name) was processed through the church with Father holding it with the special cloth. It ended up in the back corner of the church on a table with candles in a covered “house”. It seemed like they were duplicating the ark of the covenant. Adoration was allowed until 11pm. After mass the band broke up their equipment and the Crucifix and other statues were covered in purple in preparation for Good Friday.

  118. frjim4321 says:

    Might want to check your definitions: there’s nothing eccentric about following what the book actually says. That’s called obedience, not eccentricity. – Ben

    As I understand – checking my definitions – the work “eccentric” means off-center, or departing from the norm. I think behavior is properly called eccentric when it differs markedly from what others are doing.

    Only one ordinary that I know of has made a cause celebre out of excluding women from the foot washing; so whether this comports or not with a rubric that papal example shows to be negligible has no bearing on the matter of the local advice under review here.

  119. fishonthehill says:

    UGH! After reading all these posts I cringe at the fact that my brother priests have such a hard time doing the red and saying the black. Come on… its real easy! Let the liturgy speak for itself. You want to be different… chant the Gospel, you want novelty wash the feet of your male catechumens and or male sponsors, you want creativity find a creative place for the place of reposition somewhere else on the parish property…. you want inclusion be sure that the place of reposition is place that can include everyone in the procession, you want panache use a canopy in the procession… you want more inclusion…have the ladies make a canopy, even more inclusion have the women hold the canopy or the Rosary Society can all carry hand held candles and all the choir as well! It’s not so difficult guys to just do the red say the black… especially when its in your native tongue! Peace my brothers!

  120. RobW says:

    Yes my priest washed women’s feet. Also it was strange that 6 of the 12 women and men were hispanic even though latinos make up a small percentage of the parish. I have no problem with hispanic men having their feet washed but it seemed the message being sent was…look how fair we are, we are offending no one.

  121. Lin says:

    Unfortunately due to lack of catechism, many Catholics have never heard the word rubric. The priest can and often does insert all kinds of Protestant practices into the Mass. It is no wonder that whole Confirmation classes do not believe in hell. How could a loving God permit anyone to go to hell for all eternity?!? Our pastor told us that rubrics are only guidelines! I pray he retires before I die!

  122. JesusFreak84 says:

    I attend a Ukrainian-Catholic parish, so this doesn’t happen. My parish just has the St. Basil Liturgy that day.

  123. Ultramontane says:

    At St. Vincent Ferrer in Saijo, Ehime, Japan, we did observe the foot washing ceremony. All the men were invited to have their feet washed by the priest. Given that this is rural Japan we’re talking about, that meant a total of four men (myself included) were invited. Oddly, the priest only chose to wash the right foot of each man. All in all, a reverent liturgy, if somewhat shorter than I am used to. Mainly because of the size of the congregation.

  124. DavidMiller says:

    I stayed home and prayed the ancient service of Tenebrae

  125. Emilio III says:

    The three priests and four deacons washed each others’ feet and then invited anyone who wanted his or her feet washed to come up. It was otherwise a very nice service tending towards “reform of the reform” (uncut Roman Canon and mostly Gregorian Chant in Latin).

  126. Bruce says:

    “I think behavior is properly called eccentric when it differs markedly from what others are doing.”

    But at that moment they are caught up in the crowd. They are shouting because everyone else is shouting, and they are shouting the same thing that everyone else is shouting. And in this way, justice is trampled underfoot by weakness, cowardice and fear of the diktat of the ruling mindset. The quiet voice of conscience is drowned out by the cries of the crowd. Evil draws its power from indecision and concern for what other people think.

  127. OrthodoxChick says:


    In which cathedral/Diocese did you attend?

  128. Bea says:

    Stayed home and meditated quietly, but I heard there were 12 male confirmation candidates whose feet were washed. Only fly in the ointment was that our pastor was assisted by 3 female altar girls, who kept looking around at the congregation and detracted from the reverence.

    Pange Lingua was chanted as the pastor processed around the church and then reposed Our Lord in a tabernacle set up on a side altar, at which point he knelt and tantum ergo was sung in Latin.

    frjim 4321: you always leave me wondering what seminary you attended. Camarillo? Mundelein?
    You quote: “I think behavior is properly called eccentric when it differs markedly from what others are doing.”
    Since when does “what others are doing” supersede the rubrics of the Church? What is TRULY centric are the rubrics, anything outside of that is eccentric.

  129. Scott Tenney Sr says:

    This may go unread, since two other foot-washing entries have appeared since Father Z . logged this one, but: our wonderful pastor for the third Holy Thursday he has been with us called on the Knights of Columbus to sit in for the Apostles for this ritual. This time, three of the twelve spots were filled by men from RCIA.
    No dissension in the ranks here about this or much else. We’ve been blessed with at least three consecutive tradition-minded, obedient NO priests.

  130. TWF says:

    Overall, the mass was quite reverent / traditional…especially for a parish in the Dominican Republic (where I am at the moment). The priest chanted a significant portion of the mass, the procession was conducted with due reverence, NO extraordinary ministers were employed (intinction was used)… but the feet of both men and women were washed. I imagine this is a case of genuine ignorance in the case of the priest who seems solid.

  131. Volanges says:

    Ordinary Form. Twelve men. Roman Canon. Procession with the Blessed Sacrament down one side aisle and up the other, through the sacristy to the Chapel where the Altar of Repose had been set up, singing the first 4 verses of Pange Lingua (in English) twice then “Down in adoration falling…” once we got to the chapel.

    It really helps when you leave the recruiting of foot washing candidates to the oldest K of C, a man who would only attend the EF if he had a choice (no EF within 1000 miles). They varied in age from 18 to 80.

    My only beef from last night is the total disregard for silence at the end of the Mass. Kneeling in the chapel you could hear the two EMHC chatting away as they washed the sacred vessels and once Father left the chapel and people followed him out the cacophony was deafening. It’s so disrespectful when people are trying to pray.

  132. Kensington says:

    I attended Mass at St. Thomas More on the southwest side of Chicago. Reverent churches largely devoid of liturgical abuse are so hard to find in this city, and St. Thomas More is a treasure.

    It was a NO service, and only men had their feet washed.

    The only slightly sour note was the number of people who chatted in the Mass afterward. There weren’t many doing that, but it doesn’t take many for it to be a distraction. And it’s so easily avoided! Just step outside into the vestibule to talk!

    Still, compared to my experiences at other nearby churches, where the cacophony and utter seeming disregard for Our Lord after the Holy Thursday Mass borders on blasphemy, this was a very reverent service.

  133. Major/Minor Seminary in Canada run by Benedictine Monks…all 12 were young men students (youngest-newest), Mandatum by the rev.Abbot ..was all rather Solemn, full Gregorian chants… peaceful..profound..contemplative…

  134. Sacred Heart of Jesus South Euclid, Ohio:

    Our very fine priest washed and kissed the feet of men and boys only. He also preached a moving homily on the beauty of the priesthood, and asked for prayers. Fly, drive, run, walk, crawl if you must…. The LORD is worshipped here in English, in Latin, and with exquisite attention to rubrics.

    May God bless all good and faithful priests…

  135. Supertradmum says:

    Did not get to Thursday Mass in my parish, but friend who did said it was a mixture of men and women. Could not see how to vote on poll in his names, but would have been second category.

  136. Michael says:

    At my NO parish, there were mostly women having their feet washed. 10 women and only 2 men. Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do….

  137. Packrraat says:

    Our Lady of Lourdes, Seaford, DE. We had only 2 males, the rest female–adults and children. The priest was assisted by a middle-aged female altar server, one boy and our deacon. I took pictures and made sure that most of the foot washing pictures (the only ones that anyone will see besides me) show only the priest washing a foot with no indication of who it belongs to. Unfortunately, our priest can only change a few things at a time in our parish. He’s working at it, little by little. The people are so stuck in their liberal ways. At least this time, nobody applauded the choir after they sang. That’s an improvement.

  138. St. Epaphras says:

    Feet of 12 adult males washed and everything else very reverent and done according to rubrics. I was very blessed to be at that parish.

    Then last night my non-Catholic husband informed me of the pope’s inclusive foot-washing ceremony again this year. His main point: The pope is the one in charge who should set an example of obedience. So why is he giving clergy the impression that it’s fine to disregard liturgical law? He was Extremely Unimpressed; disgusted would be more like it. He knows the Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice (see I Samuel chapter 15).

    As for the many, many priests and bishops who have the motto of “I Did It My Way” — what kind of converts do they think they are going to get? Do they even want converts who would be docile to Christ in His Church?

  139. Stephen Matthew says:

    The feet of both men and women were washed, including at least one child, and all of the foot washing was carried out by the DEACONS, neither of priests washed anyone’s feet, though one of them did hold a water jar for one of the deacons.

    I really don’t know what to make of this. In one sense, it seems perfectly in keeping with the deacons call to service and charity, and in olden days both the deacon and subdeacon had a role in the foot washing, so I can see arguments for it. On the other hand, the rubrics say the priest is to do it. Also, it makes a hash of symbolizing the one in the highest position stooping down to do the humblest deed when instead the chief official sends out lesser officials to do this duty. All of this year’s Holy Week liturgies seem to be making a point of emphasizing the role of the deacons for some reason.

  140. JohnE says:

    Our two priests went out into the congregation to wash feet, so it was difficult to tell. The ones that I DID see were all men. Perhaps it’s a discreet way to do it that does not raise the ire of those who would complain if women’s feet weren’t washed.

  141. ajf1984 says:

    At my in-law’s parish for the Triduum and Easter. Only males chosen for the foot-washing rite, all single men who received an admonishment from Father to consider prayerfully whether God might be calling them to the priesthood. He then allowed that some might be called to the vocation of marriage, which was good considering one of these viri was my sister-in-law’s boyfriend! Still and all, though, I thought it was a good approach to take.

  142. Peasant of the Garonne says:

    Pastor washed the feet of the parish staff, men and women. Then, the parish staff washed the feet of 12 parishioners who were called forward as a kind of reward for service. It felt like awards night at the high school auditorium. Later, a female parishioner came forward, strode up to the mic and had the pastor and parochial vicar renew their priestly vows before her. This was a new one on me. Does the Holy Thursday liturgy for some reason seem to invite liturgical abuse?

  143. lelnet says:

    It’s weird. I’ve been to some out-there parishes in my life. I’ve been to parishes with “liturgical” dance. I’ve been to parishes that appear to have forgotten the distinction between Jesus and FDR. I’ve been to parishes where the entire church was divided lengthwise down the center with a 6+ foot-high banner (brought down at a pre-planned moment during the female liturgical director’s “homily”), as a symbolic measure to kick off Social Justice Month.

    I’ve seen my share of bad stuff in this here Church of ours, is kinda my point here.

    And yet, I have never once been to a parish where Holy Thursday foot-washing included women. Despite the fact that it seems to be so common that even among visitors to this blog, it’s running a very close second in the poll results, to the proper form.

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