By Jim Fair

Those suffering from that stubborn winter cold are not only – Pope Francis is among them.

The illness has forced him to alter his agenda the past several days and will prevent him from attending the Vatican Curia’s week-long spiritual retreat in Ariccia. The exercises run from Sunday, March 1 through Friday, March 6.

“I ask you also to remember in prayer the Roman Curia’s Spiritual Exercises, which begins this evening at Ariccia.,” the Pope said Sunday after praying the noonday Angelus with the crowds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Unfortunately, my cold constrains me not to participate this year: I will follow the meditations from here. I unite myself spiritually to the Curia and to all the people that are living moments of prayer, doing the Spiritual Exercises at home.”

For the past four days, the Holy Father has canceled appearances outside the Vatican but has continued to receive small groups at his residence at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.

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