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Bishop washes Norwich congregation's feet in Maundy Thursday Rite

The Bishop of East Anglia washed the feet of 12 members of the congregation at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich last night (March 24), in the traditional Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Bishop Alan Hopes knelt to wash, dry and kiss their feet following the example of Jesus, who did the same to his 12 disciples at the Last Supper, the day before he was crucified.

For Bishop Alan, it was the first time that women were included in the Rite, following the recent change announced by Pope Francis, who himself yesterday washed the feet of 12 male and female refugees at a large centre for asylum seekers in Rome

In his homily, Bishop Alan said: "The whole mystery of Jesus Christ is expressed in this simple action of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.

"This is what the whole of Jesus' life has been about from the beginning, thesetting aside of his divine glory, bending down to us in the mystery of forgiveness and love.

"He is the love which cleanses us. In the sacraments of cleansing, Baptism and Penance, Jesus is continually on his knees, washing our feet, carrying out the service of a slave, the service of cleansing and forgiveness.

"We are not to be passive recipients of his goodness," said Bishop Alan. "Jesus tells his disciples: "If I, your Lord and master, wash your feet, you should wash each other's feet. I have given an example so that you may follow." So he gives us the new commandment: "Love one another as I have loved you.""

Pictured above is Bishop Alan Hopes washing the feet of 12 congregation members at Norwich Catholic Cathedral.