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Pope washes feet of Muslim migrants, says ‘We are brothers’

Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Chrism Mass on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. During the Mass the Pontiff blessed a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Chrism Mass on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. During the Mass the Pontiff blessed a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)
Nicole Winfield Associated Press

CASTELNUOVO DI PORTO, Italy – Pope Francis has washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood.

Several of the migrants wept as Francis knelt before them during a Holy Thursday Mass with asylum-seekers at a refugee shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome. He poured holy water from a brass pitcher over their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them.

In his homily, Francis said: “We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace.”

Francis also denounced the Brussels attacks as a “gesture of war” carried out by bloodthirsty people beholden to arms traffickers.

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