Kottayam: This Passion Week, men will wash their wives’ feet.
The Kerala Chapter of the Indian Christian Women’s Movement (ICWM), will organize their own washing the feet ceremony.
The movement comprising women of all Christian denominations will hold the ceremony on March 28, eve of Maundy Thursday, when it will be enacted in churches.
Kochurani Abraham, convener of the Kerala Chapter, says the program would be held at Navajeevan (new life) Trust, a center for poor mentally disturbed people, in Kottayam.
She says a few couples would participate in the ceremony.
They also plan to invite guest laborers for the ceremony. “They serve us in all areas now, whether in agriculture, construction, or factories,” Abraham said. “We have to show them that we respect them and serve them at least symbolically,” she added.
According to the woman theologian, the ritual would highlight the message of forgiveness, acceptance and mutual care outside the boundaries of the ritual worship of the Church.
The movement also plans to hold similar rituals at Abhaya Bhavan at Thiruvalla and Mercy Home in Kochi the same day, Abraham told The Hindu newspaper.
Last year, the movement drew attention by organizing washing the feet ceremony. They had washed the feet of 12 residents of Santhwanam (solace), a center for battered women and children under the banner Women’s Lives Matter.
The Christian ritual commemorates Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. He asked his disciples to do what he had done for them. Traditionallypriests wash the feet of 12 baptized boys or men at the ceremony.
However, the ritual gained new meaning after Pope Francis included people from all walks of life in the ceremony. This change was made public through a document in 2016. However, the Syro-Malabar Church has taken the stance to stick to the tradition.
The women activists have welcomed Pope’s ‘inclusion liturgy’ and say the gesture would help correct the Church that has been “increasingly marginalizing women.”