It is tradition on the first Sunday of Lent for the pope and senior officials of the Curia to start spiritual exercises for a few days. Previously, these meditations took place at the Vatican, but Pope Francis has decided to change the dynamics and take them outside of Rome.
At this time every year, he takes a bus and leaves for Ariccia, a small town about 20 miles south of the Eternal City. There, the Paulines have a house dedicated to these types of activities.
Throughout these days, the pope will dedicate his time exclusively to prayer, thus he will not have public or private hearings.
The Franciscan Giulio Michelini will be in charge of preaching these spiritual exercises. The main themes will be the Death, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ according to the Gospel of St. Matthew.
Pope Francis will be out of Rome for the week, beginning Sunday afternoon until Friday morning, March 10.