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Pope concludes spiritural retreat



March 14, 2014 - Pope Francis ended his annual Lenten spiritual retreat outside Rome Friday morning and returned to the Vatican. The Pope, along with Cardinals, bishops and other Vatican officials on retreat with him since Sunday evening, left the 'Casa del Divin Maestro' retreat house of Arricia in a bus for a 25-km trip to the Vatican.

Speaking on behalf of the cardinals, bishops and other Vatican officials, Pope Francis thanked the retreat preacher, Msgr. Angelo De Donatis, comparing his preaching to “the good seed of the Word of God”. He said the good seed that we carry back home will grow and produce fruit with the rain that the Lord will send. While thanking God for the seed and the rain the Pope said they should also thank the sower. Speaking on a lighter note, Pope Francis urged Msgr. De Donatis to pray for the retreatans whom he regarded as “the syndicate of believers”, saying “we are all sinners, but we all need the desire to follow Jesus closer, without losing hope in His promise and without losing the sense of humour.”
The retreat, a periodical spiritual renewal, consists of listening to preaching, prayer and reflection away from the distractions of daily work. Jesuits typically do such Lenten retreats away from home, and Pope Francis, a Jesuit, broke with the papal tradition of the retreat at the Vatican at the start of the 40-day Lenten period preceding Easter.




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