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Pope spends election anniversary doing spiritual exercises

No special celebrations planned for Francis

13 March, 11:09
Pope spends election anniversary doing spiritual exercises (ANSA) - Rome, March 12 - Pope Francis is spending the first anniversary of his election to the helm of the Catholic Church engaged in spiritual exercises at a Lenten retreat near Rome Thursday.

In keeping with the Argentine pontiff's simple, frugal style, Francis does not have any special celebrations planned during the retreat at Ariccia, a suburban hilltop town 16 miles from Rome. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires has shunned perks and pomp since being elected and repeatedly called for a "poor Church", earning plaudits for attempting to follow the example set by the saint Francis of Assisi, whose name he took.

His election followed the shock resignation of former pope Benedict XVI, who announced in February 2013 that he did not feel fit enough to continue the job.

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