Pope Francis Returns to Vatican Following Spiritual Exercises

5-Day Retreat Ended With Mass This Morning

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Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia have concluded their Lenten Spiritual Exercises.
The Spiritual Exercises took place again this year at the Casa Divin Maestro retreat house, South of Rome in Ariccia, from Sunday through this morning.
Meditations this year were entrusted by the Pope to Father Ermes Ronchi of the Order of the Servants of Mary. The preacher will propose a series of reflections around the theme “The bare questions of the Gospel,” from a passage of John’s Gospel: “Jesus turned and saw them following him, and said to them: What are you looking for?…” ( Jn 1, 38).

Fr. Ronchi gave his reflections, which looked at answers to questions in the Gospels, twice a day at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The 10 specific questions explored were the following:
  • “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
  • “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”   (Matthew 5:13)
  • “But who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9:20)
  • “Then, turning to the woman, he told Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’” (Luke 7:44)
  •  “How many loaves do you have?” (Mark 6:38, Matthew 15:34)
  • “Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’” (John 8:10)
  •  “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15)
  •  “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:16)
  •  “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be?’” (Luke 1:34).
The activities of the Pope and members of the Curia included morning and evening prayer, Eucharistic adoration and prayer.

Following morning Mass and breakfast, the Holy Father left the retreat house. He and members of the Curia returned to the Vatican aboard the bus that brought them there on Sunday.
This week, all of the Pope’s activities, including the weekly General Audience were suspended. But he will hold his third Jubilee Audience tomorrow morning in St. Peter’s Square.
Spiritual Exercises for the pope and curia used to take place in the Vatican, but Pope Francis moved them to the Ariccia retreat house outside of Rome.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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