Holy Thursday–No Place For Cold Feet

Though I wasn’t the best of altar boys, there was one memorable Holy Thursday at St. Mark’s around 1970, that caused my father to be proud.

Monseigneur Johnson had invited Dad to be one of the honored guests to have his feet symbolically washed during Mass…again.

Actually, this was one thing he always dreaded…because he HATED his feet being cold.

Ed was one of those big guys who never left the house in winter without rubbers hugging his wing tips, claiming they kept the heat in.

When he found out I was serving, in an ominous drill-sergeant cadence, he instructed me to let the hot water run in the Sacristy sink for 20 minutes, until it got piping hot, before filling the foot carafe.

Apparently he had been burned, or should I say “iced” in the past.

I can still see the steam rising from the basin as I filled up the stainless steel pitcher, following instructions perfectly.

Since Dad wasn’t one to cause a public scene, I had to wait until after Mass to find out how the plan worked.

He was thrilled.

“Great job Habibi” that’s what he called me…”for the first time in 30 years I didn’t have a near death experience on Holy Thursday.”

In so many ways, Jesus could’ve easily gotten cold feet as he sensed the shadow of the cross the night of His last supper.

With all the power in the world to mitigate pain on Calvary, no favors from His next of kin were requested, other than the giving of His blessed mother to the care of John the beloved Apostle.

Thank you Lord that your lack of cold feet let us live forever…thank you St. Mark’s hot water heater that you let me live past the age of 10.


Our 2 Priests and 2 Deacons Washing Feet



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