Rome, Italy, Mar 20, 2018 / 09:04 am America/Denver (CNA).
Continuing his custom of saying Holy Thursday Mass outside a sacred place, Pope Francis this year will visit one of Rome’s most well-known prisons, the Regina Coeli, located in the historic Trastevere neighborhood.
The Pope will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper March 29. During the ceremony he will wash the feet of 12 inmates. He will also meet with prisoners and visit sick inmates in the prison’s infirmary.
Originally the site of a 17th-century convent, from which it gets its name, the Regina Coeli prison was constructed in 1881 by the Italian government after the country’s unification. A women’s prison, called the Mantellate, was later built nearby, also on the site of a former convent.
The prison has been visited by popes on three former occasions: by St. John XXIII in 1958, by Bl. Paul VI in 1964, and by St. John Paul II in 2000.
Like most prisons throughout Italy, Regina Coeli has had issues with overcrowding and inmate suicide in recent years.