Returning to Vatican Following Spiritual Exercises, Pope Sends Donation to Syria

5-Day Retreat Ended With Mass Friday 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.
Following a morning Mass which the Pope celebrated for Syria, 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.
Thanks to a contribution from the Roman Curia, the Holy Father also sent €100,000 to Aleppo’s poor. The Office of Papal Charities will make the donation.
Tonight, Pope Francis will travel to the Vicariate of Rome where he will meet with the prefects of the Diocese. The meeting, a normal part of the life of the local Church, will be strictly private.
Meditations this year were entrusted by the Pope to Father Giulio Michelini, O.F.M., who led the meditations on the theme: “Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus according to Matthew.”
Fr. Michelini’s reflections were pronounced generally twice a day at 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m, on each session’s specific Gospel reading.
The spiritual activities of the Pope and members of the Curia included morning and evening prayer, and Eucharistic adoration.
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.
This week, all of the Pope’s activities, including the weekly Wednesday General Audience were suspended.

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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': or

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