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Pope returns to Vatican after spiritual exercises

Back by bus from Ariccia, hilltop town near Rome

14 March, 12:47
Pope returns to Vatican after spiritual exercises (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 14 - Pope Francis on Friday returned to the Vatican after spending the first anniversary of his election to the helm of the Catholic Church engaged in spiritual exercises at a Lenten retreat near Rome.

The pope travelled back to Rome by bus, just as he and the accompanying cardinals from the Curia left.

Francis did not have any special celebration planned during the retreat at Ariccia, a suburban hilltop town 16 miles from the Italian capital.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires has repeatedly called for a "poor" Church and shunned luxury and pomp since being elected following the shock resignation of former pope Benedict XVI in February last year.