Foot Washing Question

Tomorrow, Father wants to wash the feet of all of the candidates and their sponsors (which would be 12 altogether). He is only doing one foot. No one has explained how it’s done and if there is anything we will need to do. Is there is anything we say: ie: do we thank Father; remain silent; do the sign of the cross?

Everything is so new to us all that we kind of get nervous when we don’t know what the procedure is. Thank you in advance for all your help in answering my millions of questions. It really does help to be able to relax and enjoy the reason and symbolism behind these wonderful rites/traditions when you know what to expect.

I’ve been chosen for the Washing of the Feet before. It is a great experience to meditate on the Lord and God of the universe, washing your foot. Don’t worry- there is nothing that you have to do. Just make sure you wear clean socks. :smiley:

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Nope, nothing special you need to say. You just sit there and meditate or watch Father clean your feet. However, be prepared for like everyone in the church to be watching you!

Also, remember to take your socks off before he is about to do it!

I am having my foot washed tonight. I was told to remove my right shoe and sock before Father approaches me.

Best regards


That would be acceptable as long as they are all male Candidates, they need not do anything.

In my parish tonight (“Holy Thursday”) there will be six men and six women undergoing the profound symbolism of Washing of the Feet. Despite my own personal feelings siding with the tradition that Jesus Washed the Feet of His male Apostles, I can say nothing but reflect on the symbolic meaning. Should not the homily of Holy Thursday also reflect the humble meaning behind the Washing of the Feet?

I say this because so few Catholics fail to understand this catechesis.

**“You are clean, but not all of you”. Today, the Lord alerts us to the self-sufficiency that puts a limit on his unlimited love. He invites us to imitate his humility, to entrust ourselves to it, to let ourselves be “infected” by it.

He invites us - however lost we may feel - to return home, to let his purifying goodness uplift us and enable us to sit at table with him, with God himself.

Let us add a final word to this inexhaustible Gospel passage: “For I have given you an example” (Jn 13: 15); “You also ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13: 14). Of what does “washing one another’s feet” consist? What does it actually mean?

This: every good work for others - especially for the suffering and those not considered to be worth much - is a service of the washing of feet.

The Lord calls us to do this: to come down, learn humility and the courage of goodness, and also the readiness to accept rejection and yet to trust in goodness and persevere in it.

But there is another, deeper dimension. The Lord removes the dirt from us with the purifying power of his goodness. Washing one another’s feet means above all tirelessly forgiving one another, beginning together ever anew, however pointless it may seem. It means purifying one another by bearing with one another and by being tolerant of others; purifying one another, giving one another the sanctifying power of the Word of God and introducing one another into the Sacrament of divine love.

The Lord purifies us, and for this reason we dare to approach his table. Let us pray to him to give to all of us the grace of being able to one day be guests for ever at the eternal nuptial banquet. Amen!


I think the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday became far more accepted in the USA when Cardinal Sean O’Malley received formal permission to do so from the Holy See back in 2005.

Unless there is a specific directive, I would say, “put your best foot forward.”

I think the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday became far more accepted in the USA when Cardinal Sean O’Malley received formal permission to do so from the Holy See back in 2005.

Yes; I think each Bishop can allow it (please check on this).
Wouldn’t this be in the GIRM?

What upsets me is that, in the past, a pro-abortion woman has been a participant in my parish!
She has told members of the pro-life group that she is even accepting of the “partial birth” procedure!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
And even recently, she served as an acolyte at a funeral Mass (for a v pro-life lady).

Lord, Have Mercy!


You’re probably correct in saying that it is acceptable (in the OF), but nonetheless I find it a little troubling that those who are not yet fully members of the Church and have not yet received the Eucharist would be selected to participate in the Mandatum. Those selected to participate are supposed to represent the “Twelve” who (besides being males) were not exactly the equivalent of catechumens.

My assumption is that is not being done according to the EF. If this is the EF, it’s another whole ball of wax: it would be a true abuse and considered illicit from the get-go.

I believe he requested permission and received a response that basicaly said if he felt it necessary he could do it this time. I suppose each Bishop could request permission from the Holy See, but I personally doubt the Holy See would be so willing to grant permission again.

They said Candidates, not Elect or Catechumens.

Yes, I know. If you’re saying they’re not the same thing, then the next question is: “candidates” for what? City Council? Congress? :confused:

Most liturgical technicians will point to this article of PASCHALES SOLEMNITATIS as “proof” only men can have their feet washed:

  1. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came "not to be served, but to serve. This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

There are 2 who are catechumens, who I just learned will be among the 12. There will be 9 women and 3 men (1 of which is teenage catechumens; 1 an adult female catechumen). There will also be a another teenage boy (14) who will be participating.

It just seemed rather difficult and overwhelming when we ‘newbies’ don’t fully know what, why or how this service is done. It seems we could appreciate and take in the reverence and of Christ being present in it, if we had more knowledge – or someone in the parish would have told us. I think I would appreciate it more seeing it be done to others; or at least giving us the choice whether or not to be a participant.

I plan to participate as instructed to do so (out of obedience to my priest) and to reflect on it’s meaning rather than the mechanics; however, I do appreciate the discussion here because it’s important for us newbies to understand what is, or is not correct. So many of us wouldn’t know if it weren’t for you all! :thumbsup:

you will be told what to do, where to sit etc. when called forward sit where it is indicated, if they told you one foot, take off one shoe and sock (for heaven sake don;t wear pantihose if you are a lady) and relax allow the priest to move your foot, wash and dry it. watch what the others do and put you shoe back on when everyone is done if not before, and return to your seat. there is no response nothing else to say or do.

this is a great privilege listen carefully to the dialog with Peter and Christ in the gospel

And others will point to this article from the USCCB allowing both men and women.

I’m just saying.



Last year, I went to my first Holy Thursday Mass after a very long absence. I was surprised when the Pastor invited the entire congregration to come up to the sanctuary (in several lines) and wash each others feat. Man, woman, child.

It was rather odd and I did not participate. Althgough, the majority of the attendees did.

I love my parish and church but I am not looking forward to tonights mass.

The celebration seemed to lack the sanctity and reverence I had been hoping for…
I noted that many of the participants in the foot washing giggled. Also, many if not most of the participants washed their families feet.

Sorry, did not mean to go OT.

Don’t participate as it is not required, What is being done is questionable in itself.

Unfortunately it does not include any request to the Holy See or any response granting permission from the Holy See. It simply states that it does not follow the rubric and has become a customary practice, even though it does not follow the rubric in the Sacramentary? It does not carry any weight.

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