VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will leave the Vatican for a weeklong retreat leading up to his busy Easter season.
The Vatican confirmed Thursday that Francis and the heads of Vatican offices would travel to Ariccia, in the hills south of Rome, for spiritual exercises March 9-14. Jesuits typically to do such Lenten retreats away from home and the Society of St. Paul offered up a retreat house.
The pope's official Easter schedule doesn't include a Holy Thursday foot-washing service, but Vatican officials said Francis would once again re-enact Jesus' washing of his apostles' feet in a "pastoral" setting outside the Vatican.
Francis' decision last year to go to a juvenile detention center to wash the feet of women and Muslims set the tone for his rule-breaking papacy.