Pope Francis has washed the feet of prisoners in a youth detention centre near Rome as part of the Maundy Thursday service.
The Christian ritual takes place on the Thursday before Easter to commemorate Christ’s Last Supper.
Thousands of pilgrims and tourists are arriving in Rome to attend ceremonies during the holy week ahead of Easter.
In a homily, the Pope earlier urged priests to do less “soul-searching” and engage more with parishioners.
“It is not in soul-searching… that we encounter the Lord,” he told hundreds of cardinals, priests and bishops in St Peter’s Basilica.
“We need to go out… to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.”
Worshippers should “leave Mass looking as if they had heard good news”, he added.
During Thursday’s intimate service at Casal del Marmo, the Pope washed and kissed the feet of 12 young detainees to replicate the Bible’s account of Jesus Christ’s gesture of humility towards his 12 apostles on the night before he was crucified.
The 12 inmates included two girls, one Italian Catholic and one of Serbian Muslim origin, local prison ombudsman Angiolo Marroni said ahead of the ceremony.
Some of the prisoners volunteered to have their feet washed, while others were given an invitation to help them overcome their embarrassment, the Catholic News Agency quoted the prison chaplain as saying.
The pontiff told inmates that Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples in a gesture of service, Vatican Radio reported.
“If the Lord has washed his disciples’ feet, you should do the same,” he is quoted as saying.