Published April 15, 2004
The following is Archbishop John F. Donoghue’s directive sent to clergy of the archdiocese regarding the rite of the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday, April 8.
At the celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the rite of the Washing of the Feet is optional. Where it is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, it is my decision that the rubric of the Roman Missal shall be observed, that is, that twelve men (viri selecti) should be chosen from the community to take the part of the Apostles during this rite, other directions in the Paulist ordo, or any other liturgical publications notwithstanding. The “Mandatum” or Washing of the Feet, should be explained to the Faithful as a representation of Christ’s linkage of the institution of the Eucharist to the establishment of the Ordained Priesthood, and the burden of service placed upon those who are called to the Priesthood, in keeping with the events described and recalled in this most solemn Mass.