Pope Francis to miss Lent retreat due to cold

Pope Francis greets pilgrims before his general audience Feb. 26, 2020. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

(CNA) Pope Francis said Sunday he will not take part in his annual Lenten retreat with the Roman Curia in Ariccia this week due to a cold he has had for several days.

“I also ask you to remember in prayer the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, which will begin this evening in Ariccia,” the pope said March 1.

“Unfortunately, a cold forces me not to participate this year: I will follow the meditations from here.”

The pope announced the decision to stay at the Vatican after giving his Sunday catechesis and leading the Angelus prayer from a window of the apostolic palace.

Francis, who canceled his public audiences starting Thursday, had to pause several times to cough during the Angelus and address.

He added that he will join “spiritually” the curia and all those praying or doing the spiritual exercises at home.

The retreat begins in the evening March 1 with bishops and cardinals of the Roman Curia. It ends March 6.

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