The priest leading Pope Francis's annual Lenten retreat says he hopes Christians around the world will be inspired to join in, Catholic News Agency reports.
“I will be grateful to all those that are listening to us, that these exercises will be shared by all who believe in Jesus Christ,” Fr Giulio Michelini told CNA before the retreat commenced yesterday. “We can do them together.
“I know that people will go to work, will go to school, will be busy during these days,” he said, but “we can read the Passion according to Matthew's Gospel, and that can be a way to pray to the Holy Spirit so that the Church will be more united.”
Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia began their annual five-day spiritual exercises retreat at the Casa Divin Maestro in Ariccia, a city outside of Rome. Located on Lake Albano, the retreat house is just a short way from the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
Fr Michelini, a Franciscan of the Seraphic Province of the Friars Minor of Umbrias, said that his preaching for the retreat will be an in-depth examination and reflection on the Gospel of Matthew, starting with the Last Supper and moving through the Passion to the Resurrection.
“I will try to go deep into the Jesus that the disciples saw and followed,” he said. “So there will be a reflection on the humanity of Jesus,” as well as a meditation on relationships. Most importantly, the retreat “will be a time of restoration,” Fr Michelini said. “We will quit working, talking, doing the usual things that the Pope, Bishops and Cardinals, and households do.”
They will pray, and there will be time to walk around the beautiful grounds and lake outside the retreat house, he said, “a time to quit, to stop and to reflect.”
This is the fourth consecutive year the Pope and Curial members have held their Lenten retreat at the house in Ariccia
Casa Divin Maestro is on Lake Albano, near Castel Gandolfo. (Casa Divin Maestro)