Advertise with us

Home International Pope Francis returns to Rome

Pope Francis returns to Rome

E-mail Print
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Week of spiritual exercises ends for Pontiff, members of curia
By Elise Harris

After spending a week outside Rome reflecting on key questions in the Gospel during their annual Lenten retreat, Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia returned to the Vatican Friday.

According to Italian paper Il Caffe, the Pope boarded a bus with 20 seats and darkened windows around 10:40 a.m. March 11 for his return trip from Ariccia to the Vatican.

Once he had greeted the faithful gathered to bid him farewell, Francis was escorted to the bus by the Vatican Gendarmerie, the Vatican's police force. His bus was followed back by four others carrying the members of the Roman Curia who also participated in the Lenten retreat.

The Pope and the Curia spent the March 6-10 retreat reflecting on the theme: "Le nude domande del vangelo": "The raw questions of the Gospel."

Led by Father Ermes Ronchi of the Servants of Mary, the reflections centered on 10 key questions from the Gospel, such as: "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" (Mark 4:40) and "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (John 8:10).

The five-day spiritual exercises are taking place at the Casa Divin Maestro retreat center in Ariccia, a city located some 16 miles outside of Rome.

This is the third consecutive year that Pope Francis has chosen to have the Curia's Lenten spiritual exercises in a location outside of Rome. He initially made the decision in order to foster the spiritual aspect of the retreat and to avoid the temptation to continue working.

The Roman Curia's practice of spiritual exercises is modeled on St. Ignatius of Loyola's spiritual exercises. Pius XI was a great admirer of the founder of the Society of Jesus, proclaiming him patron of spiritual exercises in 1922.

In 1929 the same Pope issued the encyclical Mens Nostra on the promotion of the spiritual exercises, in which he also made public the decision to hold annual spiritual exercises in the Vatican.

Since then the spiritual exercises have become a fixed annual meeting for the Roman Curia.

Originally preached during the first week of Advent, the exercises were moved to the Lenten season by Bl. Paul VI in 1964, and have taken place during the penitential season leading to Easter ever since.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 07:59  

Dear reader,

Due to an unmanageable amount of spam and abusive messages, we are no longer able to offer the comment function on our website. We respect the principle of public debate and remain committed to it. Please send us a note at and visit us in the near future when we have finished building our new website — at which point the comment function will be restored.

Kind regards,

The B.C. Catholic






Salt and Light Webcast
  Courtesy of Salt & Light Television

Click image to watch Video
Medieval Gem - UBC acquires papal bull

Click image to watch Video
Paul Goo's Diaconate Ordination

Click image to watch Video
Thank You John Paul II



4885 Saint John Paul II Way Vancouver BC V5Z 0G3   Phone: 604 683 0281 Fax: 604 683 8117
© The B.C. Catholic

Informing Catholics in Canada since 1931