Pope to begin Lent with annual retreat

The Vatican announced yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI, along with members of the Roman Curia will begin their annual Lenten spiritual exercises this Sunday, led by Cardinal Marco Ce, patriarch emeritus of Venice.

Catholic News Agency reports that this year, the Pope and Roman Curia will reflect on the theme, "Walking with Jesus towards Easter." The exercises will be held in the Vatican's Redemptoris Mater Chapel, which is housed in the Apostolic Palace.

The Vatican likewise announced that the retreat will begin with Eucharistic exposition, evening Vespers and an introductory meditation, followed by adoration and a Eucharistic blessing.

During the days following, the Pope and Curia will participate in a daily schedule of Lauds and meditation at 9:00 am, Terce and meditation at 10.15 am, another set of meditations at 5 pm, concluding with Vespers, adoration and a Eucharistic blessing at 5.45 pm

The spiritual exercises will end on the morning of Saturday 11 March, with the celebration of Lauds and a closing meditation.

The Vatican also noted that during the course of the retreat, all audiences will be cancelled, including the Pope's weekly general audience on Wednesday 8 March.

Pope, Roman Curia mark beginning of Lent with annual spiritual retreat (Catholic News Agency 28/2/06)

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1 Mar 2006