Pope Francis Cancels Annual Lenten Retreat Due to Cold

Tags: Currents Lent, Pope Francis, Vatican

By Tim Harfmann

Pope Francis was visibly sick Sunday, March 1 as he delivered the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square.

The 83-year-old pontiff said a cold forced him to cancel plans to attend a Lenten retreat.

“Unfortunately, this cold is keeping me from participating this year. I will follow the reflections from here,” he told the crowd.

The Holy Father usually attends the annual, week-long retreat in southern Italy with top officials of the Roman Curia.

“I unite myself spiritually to the Curia and all the people living moments of prayer by doing the spiritual exercises at home,” he said.

Pope Francis stopped several times during Sunday’s audience. It was his first public appearance in days. The Holy Father has been under the weather since last week.

On Ash Wednesday, he could be seen coughing and wiping his nose.

Riding around Saint Peter’s Square last week, the popemobile didn’t stop as pilgrims shouted to the Holy Father.

“We pray for you. We pray for you, Holy Father. We pray for you,” a group of pilgrims yelled.

As of now, Pope Francis continues to celebrate early morning Mass in Santa Marta and keep individual meetings