Pope Francis to Skip Weeklong Retreat Near Rome, Citing Cold
Pope Francis Waves To Attendees From A Motorcade Before Mass At O’Higgins Park In Santiago, Chile (Photographer: Tamara Merino/Bloomberg)

Pope Francis to Skip Weeklong Retreat Near Rome, Citing Cold

(Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis said he was skipping a planned week-long retreat outside Rome with members of the Vatican curia, citing a cold that has kept him from several public events over the past few days.

Francis, 83, made the announcement during his regular noon Sunday prayers and remarks delivered from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. He paused twice during the event to cough.

“Unfortunately, my cold forces me to not participate this year,” Francis said of the retreat that marks the start of Lent, the period leading up to Easter. He said he would follow the event remotely.

This is the first time Francis has missed the annual retreat, the Associated Press reported.

The Pope’s cold coincides with a surge of coronavirus cases in Italy, which now top 1,100. Almost all of Italy’s cases are in the north of the country, with virtually no infections reported in the region that includes Rome.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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