The Pope just finished an unusually busy week. He held a days-long consistory and inducted 20 new cardinals. His next week will be busy too, but it will end with several days of reflection and meditation.
On Monday, he will meet with the king of Tonga, Tupou VI. Days before, the Pope created the first cardinal from that small nation, 53-year-old Soane Patita Paini Mafi.
Lent begins Wednesday February 18th. It will be a full day for the Pope. As usual, he will lead his weekly general audience with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.
In the afternoon, Pope Francis will preside over a penitential procession from the Basilica of San Anselmo to Santa Sabina. To mark the occasion, he will receive the ashes.
On Sunday the 22nd, the Pope will pray the Angelus from the Apostolic Palace overlooking the square. Later that day, he will travel a few miles to the Italian town of Ariccia for his spiritual exercises. He will be accompanied by the Roman Curia. His period of reflection will last until Friday the 27th.
CTV / RR