It was part of the Holy Thursday Liturgy long before 1955.
As an Altar boy in the 40's I assisted at the services.
Thursday of Holy week is also called Maundy Thursday. Maundy refers specifically to the Washing of the feet. It has been part of the Holy Thursday rituals since ancient times.
See the Catholic encyclopedia.
LOL. Yes, Paul!
Anyway, what the nerve is an "Apologist" really anyway? These former Protestant Apologists are cropping up everywhere. Ask Jimmy what an apologist is, go ahead, I dare you. Ask anyone of his Catholic Answers buddies the same. They get real defensive. They realize that the average Catholic has no idea that theology even exists, let alone what it is, so they (these ex-protestants which carry some of their old ideas with them most of the time) replaced the role of an orthodox theologian with Apologist. This way, no one really has to discuss seriously theology do make their point, and they can be creative in their opinions and make them sound convicing, especially when at least PART of what they are saying is accurate. Jimmy is not exactly a staunch defender of extrinsic tradition. I've had it out with him when he promoted the idea the Jesus may have had brothers by St. Joseph. How did he come to this? By promoting the alleged "Ossury of James" --- which he never disclosed was already PROVEN to be a fraud, and the so-called, self-declared "anthropologists" (a Jew and a Wesleyan that made the Catholic University circuits to try to dismantle Catholic theology from a false, 'scientific' perspective --- this is the BAS group, and all this is researchable and easily verified) had already publicly admitted to it being a fraud. But hey, that wasn't exactly a press release that the mainstream media was jumping on, more like, jumping away from.
Honestly, I don't even want to bother reading anything from Jimmy, or his buddies that he 'trained' to be "apologists" in his two-week, self-created course (i.e., his buddy, the other "Jim(my)".