April 17 - Pope Francis calls for the Church to always be a refuge for the poor and the sick as he leads a solemn Holy Thursday mass. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Holy Thursday at the Vatican. It's marks the day Jesus founded the priesthood at the Last Supper with his apostles on the night before he died. Pope Francis, who since his election last year, has urged priests not to seek out material comforts or climb clerical career ladders, leads a solemn service starting four packed days of events culminating in Easter Sunday. He says the church must always be a refuge for the poor. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "The availability of her priests makes the Church a house with open doors, a refuge for sinners, a home for people living on the streets, a place of loving care for the sick, a camp for the young, a classroom for teaching children about how to make their First Communion. Wherever God's people have desires or needs, there is the priest, who knows how to listen and feels a loving mandate from Christ who sends him to relieve that need with mercy or to encourage those good desires with resourceful charity." The Argentine Pope has been stressing the need for the Church to be an institution of sanctity and service. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday he is due to preside at three services leading up the Easter Sunday.