Holy Thursday washing of hands

Question from Gail on 3/25/2008:

Our priest on Holy Thursday asked everyone in church to go up just like they do during Communion and wash their hands in a bowl of water placed in front of the church and dry the hands of the person in back of them. This was done in place of washing of the feet.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 3/25/2008:

It was outside that priest's authority to change the ceremonial washing in that way. Besides being liturgically incorrect, it also significantly altered the symbolism of the ritual. I once asked a priest if a handwashing could substitute for a footwashing on Holy Thursday and he reminded me, "It was Pilate who washed his hands!"

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers

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