POLLS: 2018 Holy Thursday Foot Washing – What happened where you are?

A couple years ago what was clearly a severe abuse was given official recognition so that women’s feet could be washed during the entirely optional “Mandatum” in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday.

NB: Before 2016, those who did this, violated the law.

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 – depending on the Form of Mass you attended – and add a comment in the combox, below.

The 2018 Holy Thursday EXTRAORDINARY Form Mass I attended ...

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[I suspect that the above has been messed with a bit, or that people aren’t paying attention to that EXTRAORDINARY which I tried to make unmissable.]

The 2018 Holy Thursday ORDINARY FORM (NOVUS ORDO) Mass I attended ...

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  1. tamranthor says:

    After the second time I was asked to come up to the altar and have my feet washed, I began to avoid going to Mass on Holy Thursday. I always felt odd refusing to go up when asked directly by a priest, and I felt equally odd watching the priests wash the feet of the women who accepted the invitation. It was not just off-putting, it was obnoxious.

  2. Gripen says:

    Novus Ordo, no foot washing. Pastor has left that out for the last few years, gee, I wonder why.

  3. majuscule says:

    ORdinary Form mission church, so a very small community. We had seven adult males and four male children at Mass. The adult males include Father and our musician who played during the foot washing. So nearly everyone was needed to fill the twelve chairs. (I was not one of them.) it is entiredly possible that if we had enough men they would be the only ones having their feet washed.

    No big thing is ever made of being “inclusive” and purposely including the women. Father stressed the act of humility on the priest’s part and the act of serving others that we should take as an example from Christ washing the feet of His apostles. It was clear from what Father told us that Jesus washed the feet of men. Come to think about it, I have never heard mention in our church about what the Holy Father does on Holy Thursday in Rome.

    [We had another priest in the parish who celebrated the Triduum at the other mission church (with a much larger community) who would pick his men ahead of time. When the example of the current Holy Father seemed to change things, this priest chose to no longer include the foot washing. (It is good to see that in a parish with three churches it is still up to the individual priest.)]

    Our current priest is not a regular parish priest, he is “in residence” helping out in the parish because he has other diocesan duties. Our little church gives him an opportunity to celebrate the Triduum. After Thursday’s Mass we had a procession to reposition the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose in the sacristy and we were urged to stay keeping company with the Lord until midnight.

    During the Mass we also had…not sure what you would call it…a presentation of the oils from the Chrism Mass.

    I look at being a little relaxed and washing the feet of women as a sort of necessity for the priest in our tiny community. I realize that a small community might be a place where innovations (“hey let’s wash each other’s feet!”) might take hold. But we are a pretty traditional group–Kyrie and Agnus Dei to counteract a few Schutte and Hagan songs; Sanctus bells; always using the longer forms of the readings; processions for Palm Sunday and the Feast of Christ the King. We even have a communion rail that I’m praying we will begin to use…some people are kneeling for communion and many more at least genuflect before receiving.

  4. Rob in Maine says:

    I was asked to sing with the choir by the music director, so I did. The Jebs had chairs and basins and pitchers of water set up and asked the silver haired congregation to come forward. A couple of people did. The Paster walked down the isle and implored again for people to come wash each others feet. There were some nervous chuckles but that was about it.

  5. MariaKap says:

    Oops accidentally voted on the EF poll. I attended N.O. And in my parish the tradition is to wash the altar servers feet. We only have male altar servers. Oh and there’s also a lovely tradition of the pastor vesting the new altar servers for the first time on Holy Thursday as well.

  6. CanukFrank says:

    TLM with our local FSSP. No ‘suprises’, just a deeply profound and incredibly rich and satisfying mass.

  7. frjimt says:

    It’s lost its meaning & importance… Between that, first communion hostages, er, candidates, presentation of the oils, we’ve turned the Lords house into cirque de celebrant…
    Let the pope do it & let us get on with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    Bishop Morlino, 12 seminarians. Homily was partly about Mass ad orientem as an orientation toward the Resurrection. It was also (somewhat firmly) about the meaning of the foot washing “according to the Sacramentary” as being about the relationship between Our Lord and the 12 Apostles, or the bishop and his care for his priests, not just about service in general, and he spoke really movingly about how he and the other priests present there at Holy Thursday Mass care for the seminarians more than for themselves like a father loves his sons. Also, “we already have filled the quota for gossipy priests and we don’t need any more of them” so the seminarians will know not to be like that.

  9. choirlady says:

    We have altar boys in our parish. As is our custom every year, 12 altar boys come forward to have their feet washed in the hopes of future priests. It is a really beautiful experience. By the way, over the years we have had four altar boys who became priests. Our parish is truly blessed.

  10. rdb says:

    Talking with a brother priest earlier today, we both agreed that the “social” dimension of the activity and the Pope’s decision to wash non-baptized people’s feet will lead more pastors to just omit it as time goes on.

  11. scotus says:

    The options in the poll refer to people being chosen. At my church a notice went up asking people to volunteer to have their feet washed so nobody was ‘chosen’. It was an OF Mass and the people getting their feet washed were both male and female.

  12. fuquaysteve says:

    No foot washing on Holy Thursday but we had to take our shoes and socks off to venerate the Cross today.

  13. Wendy says:

    Novus Ordo, both men and women. Actually, no one was chosen; Father knelt by the bowl and waited for someone – anyone to come up. People eventually did.

  14. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    37% of EF with women participants? Surely people misread the options?

  15. Pingback: #Christianity- POLLS: 2018 Holy Thursday Foot Washing – What happened where you are? – World Information Centre

  16. robert hightower says:

    It’s worth noting that a number of FSSP parishes, the one I know of for sure is Sacred Heart in Fort Wayne, Ind., received a three year ad experimentum permission from PCED to use the older rites for Holy Week beginning this year. The older rite for Holy Thursday includes the foot washing, but as a separate ceremony after Mass.

    The older rite also took place in the morning, but I had it explained to me that the timing of these services is a matter of church law and not of rubrics, therefore, the older rite Mass of the Lord’s Supper still is in the evening, but I wonder if it’s permissible to do the foot washing before Mass given the unforeseen changes?

  17. Toan says:

    Charismatic Catholic Mass (OF). Foot washing with males only.

  18. MGL says:

    Anglican Ordinariate. There is no foot-washing in Divine Worship, making for an appropriately subdued and reverent liturgy.

  19. maternalView says:

    When I was a kid in the 70’s our family quit going on Thursday precisely because of washing of women’s feet. Went back about 5 years ago to a church that only invites men.

  20. JSzczuka says:

    I voted on the EF by mistake, too. Then I voted correctly as well. Anyway, Our Novus Ordo masses are very tasteful, ad orientem only, male altar servers only, beautiful vestments and statuary, eucharistic prayer one, etc. But they did have 2 women out of 12 for foot washing this year. I think last year it was worse and they figured to reduce the women they would stick to altar servers, MC, sub deacon, etc. Another good thing is that the chairs are placed facing the altar, which makes it feel less like a show.

  21. Michael Haz says:

    TLM at an ICKSP oratory. No foot washing, no homily. The EF was following the 1955 Pius XII Reforms (if I’ve got the description correctly memorized). Simply beautiful Liturgy. Moving, sacred.

  22. Hb says:

    The pastor at my assignment washed the feet of men and women and of course, women outnumber the men same as the EMHCs.

    I refuse to offer the Holy Thursday Mass in every assignment because I refuse to wash women’s feet, which most modernist pastors simply cannot abide. If I had my druthers, it’s be the TLM 100% of the time. Although when doing Holy Week, we moved more towards pre-1962.

    In one assignment as a seminarian, those who had their feet washed (men and women before it was permitted of course) went to stations with finger bowls where everyone came up like at Holy Communion and had their fingers washed as a “ritual action.”

    My fellow seminarian’s parish ( a friend) had those who had their feet washed to go to “foot washing stations” where they washed the feet of the rest of the congregants.

    The insanity continues….

  23. Nan says:

    Byzantine Rite. No footwashing.

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Father said that the only reason someone would be shy about having their feet washed, was secretly harboring hatred and disdain for other people’s feet. He said that it would be mandatory washing and being washed for everyone, if he had his druthers, and that pantyhose was no excuse. (I don’t think he understands the implications of the term ‘pantyhose’, as he had no sisters growing up.) Basically a lot of passive-aggressive ranting from a priest who is usually better than that. I just closed my eyes and thought about Moses and Aaron, and was glad to ignore the silliness while keeping in my seat and my socks.

    You notice that there is not much pastoral humility, though, whenever it turns into “You people in the pews are not humble, and you need to do this.” No giving socks and shoes, and money and a banquet, to the poor, either.

  25. bwfackler says:

    Byzantine Rite. Bishop washed the feet of 12 priests after liturgy

  26. jaykay says:

    NO Mass where, as for the past 20 years I’ve been attending, they ask people before Mass begins and then at the appropriate time the Priest accompanied by a server goes down the aisles (there are transepts) performing the washing – men and women. Obviously, these are seated at the end of the bench, at the aisle!

    Otherwise, it’s very reverent, with an excellent choir: Missa de Angelis, Duruflé “Ubi caritas” at footwashing, Byrd “Ave verum” and another polyphonic piece at Communion, and plainchant “Pangue lingua” at procession to Altar of Repose.

  27. Amerikaner says:

    Lincoln, NE. Men & women chosen (6 each).

  28. Tom says:

    We had Divine Worship Mass with footwashing of the all-male altar servers.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    We had nine “washees.”

    Various sexes, ages.

    Part of the homily referred to Mary of Bethany’s anoint of Jesus with costly spikenard (see the homily post. After washing their feet, I anointed their feet with balsam paste.

  30. exNOAAman says:

    Suburban, I first thought your post was a sarcastic gag line, until I got to the pantyhose part. What’s worse? Having my wife forced to strip off her pantyhose in public, or getting her feet washed by a strange dude?
    With our latest STAND training (as it’s known in Baltimore) I’m not supposed to even offer a ride home to an unaccompanied minor. But washing a female’s naked body part? No problem. (OK, I made that sound a lot worse than it is.)
    Good posts Suburban, and everyone.

  31. WVC says:

    The fact that there was ANY female foot washing at an Extraordinary Form Mass is distressing. This is NOT the type of “mutual enrichment” that should be going on. That enrichment should be a one way street, from the Traditional Mass to the Novus Ordo. Someone needs to rig up a check valve to prevent female foot washing and other such nonsense from happening in the Extraordinary Form! Next thing you know we’ll have EF Masses with hand holding during the Our Father!

  32. Carrie says:

    I think this is a ridiculous issue and has taken the joy out of attending Holy Thursday liturgy, for me. I stay home and do my own retreat— which can be rich in prayer and reflection, but also saddens me because of the petty wars our Church has taken on. [If you think that liturgical disputes are “petty”, then you have no idea whatsoever of the role of sacred liturgical worship in your life or in the life of the whole Church.]

  33. Athelstane says:


    “I refuse to offer the Holy Thursday Mass in every assignment because I refuse to wash women’s feet, which most modernist pastors simply cannot abide. If I had my druthers, it’s be the TLM 100% of the time. ”

    You’re a good man, Father.

  34. majuscule says:

    I wonder if the priests (who rant on about lack of humility or whatever reason that people do not want to have their feet washed) think about someone with athlete’s foot or some kind of embarrassing foot fungus?

    I somehow contracted a stubborn nail fungus a few years ago. I did not offer to have my feet washed. The real reason is because I believe it should be men as a symbol of the Apostles. It has not come to this at my church but if there is ever an attempt to shame me into having my feet washed, I will, in a loud voice, give the foot fungus as an additional reason.

  35. Father:

    We had, if I may say so myself, a rather splendid Holy Thursday.

    For many years — reaching back to my predecessor’s tenure — we have cultivated a high standard with altar servers. Every year, we have two high school boys who serve as MCs — i.e., Masters of Ceremonies — for the year. It is their job to oversee the weekly 9 am “High Mass” (i.e., with incense and torches and so forth), to get boys turned out to serve weekly Benediction, and to handle Christmas, Holy Week, 40 Hours and Corpus Christi duties. All boys. And they come through. They aim high, and the boys coming up emulate them. On Holy Thursday, I came over to the church almost an hour early, and the boys were all in cassock, and the MCs were walking them through the things they would need to know.

    For Holy Thursday, we do not have the foot washing. My predecessor omitted it some years ago after there was some complaint about no female feet, and I have left well enough alone. We do have all the incense and torches, lots of chanting, and so forth. We have a procession inside the church from the altar to the place of repose. Nothing extraordinary, really (this is all ordinary form, btw), and only a little Latin; yet we pack the church every year. People are hungering for reverence. Reverence. That is what people always say: they love the reverence.

    Oh, and this year, for the first time in, I suppose, 50 years or so, we have had our entire Triduum ad orientem. We moved the “low altar” to one side, creating plenty of room in the sanctuary for everything. I know not everyone is in favor, but I have been preparing for this for some time, and the favorable comments have been very strong.

  36. Imrahil says:

    Our reverend host is right to point out that liturgical issues are not petty issues.

    I will, however, say that the conservative, orthodox and trad community of Catholics (there shouldn’t be this distinction by adjectives, but you know what I mean) is ill-advised to choose “men only even in the NO” as a hill to die on. The rule that it should only be men once existed, and was to be obeyed as long as it existed, but it has been lifted. Logically the connection of the footwashing is not with the Sacrament of Holy Orders [Oooops!] but with the Sacrament of the Eucharist, to be more specific its reception; there’s nothing in the aspects of “cleaning of remaining [venial] sin after Baptism [and Confession]” and (yes) “Christian charity” and (perhaps even) “actual bodily purity” which by their nature would not apply to women. [Oh dear. I refer you to Augustine, tr. Io. 55 &56 (if memory serves) perhaps the best thing ever written about this moment in the Gospel. Even KASPER agrees! cf. his Jesus The Christ in a footnote.]

    (I don’t know what was done where I would have gone if I could have made it because I didn’t. Beyond-holidays-of-obligation is at the moment rather difficult.)

  37. Uxixu says:

    Pre-1955 Holy Thursday with FSSP.LA authorized by Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. No washing. Yes to folded chasubles, broad stole and a Bugnini free liturgical year, Deo Gratias and may God have mercy on him.

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Like I say, I am pretty sure that Father meant “trouser socks” or “knee high hose.” He is a celibate man without sisters, so why should he know all the fashion words?

    But yeah, it sounded pretty bad in a homily. I was probably not the only woman biting her tongue! Or secretly laughing!

  39. WVC says:

    Fr. Jim,

    You didn’t use real Spikenard? Hmmmm, I’m starting to doubt your commitment to authentic liturgy!!!

  40. rbbadger says:

    I am a parochial vicar in a cluster of parishes. I chose not to do it because of health reasons. I had surgery on my legs, but complications set in after the surgery so I went for a long period without being able to fully genuflect. I am starting to be able to do so again now, but I am wary of doing anything like the footwashing where the possibility of my toppling over is a possibility.

    I was angrily greeted by one of the female parishioners who had apparently volunteered to have her feet washed. [Imagine my surprise.] But I would have looked for a way to omit the ceremony anyway, as I want to uphold the traditional discipline. Apparently, I wrecked her whole Triduum.

  41. Tominellay says:

    Our N.O. service was reverent and beautiful. Twelve men were wearing white albs and had their feet washed. Our priest (in his mid-thirties) wore a white Roman chasuble. There were no shortcuts; all the readings, all the singing, the long Eucharistic prayer, some of it chanted; for holy communion, everyone received on the tongue and kneeling. The priest intincted the host for each communicant. The priest also saw that the twelve had confessed, so that they would all receive communion. The choir sang upstairs in the loft, accompanied by organ. We are blessed in our parish.

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