Benedictine Bernardo Francesco Maria Gianni, Abbot of San Miniato al Monte Abbey in Florence, will lead the Lenten Spiritual Exercises for Pope Francis and the Roman Curia from March 10-15, 2019, indicated the Holy See on February 27. The Retreat’s theme, which will take place in the “Divine Master’s” House at Ariccia — south of Rome — will be: “The City of Ardent Desires. For Paschal Looks and Gestures in the Life of the World.”
The Exercises will begin on Sunday, March 10, First Sunday of Lent, at 4:00 pm. From Monday to Thursday there will be two meditations a day, one in the morning at 10:00 and one in the afternoon at 4:30. On Friday, March 15, there will only be the morning meditation. Then the Pope and members of the Curia will return to the Vatican. The Retreat will begin each day with Mass and will end with Vespers and Eucharistic Adoration.
During those days, the Pope will suspend all audiences, including the General Audience of Wednesday, March 13, day of the sixth anniversary of his election.
Here are the themes of the 10 Meditations, drawn from the poem “We Are Here for This,” of Benedictine Abbot Mario Luzi (1997): “We Are Here for That (Sunday’s Introduction); “La Pira’s Dream” and “We Are Here to Animate the Embers of our Breath” (Monday); “The Present of Infamy, of Blood, of Indifference” and “Do You Remember?” (Tuesday); “The Ardent Desires” and “His Flags of Peace and Friendship” (Wednesday); “Let’s Shake Hands” and “The Stars that Shine in the Night” (Thursday); “The City on the Mountain” (Friday’s Conclusion).
Bernardo Gianni was born in Prato in 1968. He was elected Prior of San Miniato in 2009 and has been Abbot since 2015. He was a member of the Preparatory Committee of the Fifth National Conference of the Italian Church, held at Florence in 2015.