Pope Francis begins spiritual exercises outside of Rome

Pope Francis and members of the Curia were punctual for their annual spiritual exercises in Ariccia, south of Rome.

The bus arrived shortly before 5 p.m., and after leaving their belongings in the rooms, attendees headed to the chapel to pray in silence. As always, the pope didn't sit in any special place, instead praying alongside his collaborators. 

At 6 p.m., Portuguese priest José Tolentino de Mendonça began preaching. The central theme of his meditations is “Thirst.” He will preach as many as two times each day. 

The Vatican has released the itinerary for the spiritual exercises. Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 a.m., followed by breakfast and the first meditation at 9:30 a.m. Lunch is served at 12:30, and the second meditation begins at 4 p.m. Two hours later, they will pray the Vespers and dedicate time to Eucharistic adoration until dinner at 7:30. The retreat concludes on Friday. 

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