Pope John XXIII during pre-Easter ceremonies in Rome Apr 13 washed and kissed the feet of 4 Africans among 13 student priests.
GV St. John's Basilica with pilgrims outside.
ANGLE SHOT..Basilica tower.
TOP GV INT..Pope John enters.
SV PAN..Congregation kneel in prayer.
SV AND CU..women kneel.
CU Small boy.
LV Student priests.
SV African student priests.
CU Japanese and African student priests.
CU PAN..student priests remove shoes and socks.
TOP V..Pope John washes and kisses feet.
CU Pope wipes African's foot and kisses.
CU Kisses another - turns to walk away.
TOP V..Pope returns to altar.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Pope John XXIII during pre-Easter ceremonies in Rome Apr 13 washed and kissed the feet of 4 Africans among 13 student priests.
The ceremony - on Holy-Thursday, a day of mourning in the churches - is named Washing of the Feet - an act of humility and papal tradition revived by Pope John last year for the first time since 1878.
The ceremony took place at St.John's Basilica; this year the students, training to become missionaries, were chosen from all five continents including the countries of Japan, Vietnam, India, the West Indies, the USA, New Zealand, Ireland and the Fiji Islands.
Foot washing is said to date back to Pope St.Gregory, about the sixth century, and is symbolic of Christ washing the feet of the 12 disciples the day before the Crucifixion; the thirteenth student recalls an angel said to have appeared in human form among the disciples.