Utah Christians mark Holy Week with a humble ritual: foot-washing


Published: April 18, 2014 10:43AM
Updated: April 21, 2014 11:38AM
Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune The Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, second back on left, washes the feet of parishioners during the Mass of the Lord's Supper at The Cathedral of the Madeleine Thursday April 17, 2014.

Utah Christians celebrated Maundy Thursday as Holy Week continued its buildup to Sunday’s Easter climax.

The ritual was part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in downtown Salt Lake City.

The practice — followed in Catholic and a number of Protestant churches in Utah — traces its roots to John’s Gospel, who tells of a humble Jesus washing the feet of his disciples shortly before he was betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified.

Jesus’ example

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

“And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

“After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. ...

“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

“Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Source: John 13: 1-5, 12-15 (King James Version)