Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pope begins week-long spiritual retreat

18 February 2013, 14:41

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI began a week-long spiritual retreat out of the public eye on Monday ahead of his resignation, with the cardinal leading the prayers saying he hoped they would be an "oasis".

The pope will remain in the Vatican with some of his closest aides for the traditional pre-Easter retreat and will only take a short break each day to meet with his secretary Georg Gaenswein to deal with urgent Church matters.

He will be praying together with the Roman Curia - effectively the government of the Catholic Church - in a private chapel in his residence.

The Vatican's culture minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi - seen as a possible long-shot candidate for the papacy - has been selected to lead the retreat this year and has written 17 spiritual "meditations" for the week.

"After the storm, my task will be to create a moment of oasis," Ravasi said in an interview with Vatican radio before the beginning of the retreat.

"The pope wanted it himself and he did not cancel. This moment of silence, this white space, really has the sense of passing to the new horizon towards which the pope is moving and in which we too will have to live," he added.

Benedict compared to Moses

After the retreat, the outgoing pope will receive Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on February 23, celebrate his final Sunday prayer on February 24, and hold a last audience before tens of thousands of faithful on February 27.

Benedict will formally step down as pope on February 28 at 19:00 GMT.

Vatican radio has said it will be making available one of Ravasi's prayers per day as a podcast so that Catholic faithful can pray along with the pope.

In the first prayer late on Sunday, extracts of which were broadcast by the Vatican, Ravasi compared the pope to the Biblical figure of Moses who prayed for the Israelites on a mountain while battles raged in the valley below.

"This image represents the main function, your function, for the Church, that is of intercession," Ravasi said.

"We will remain in the valley... where there is dust, where there is fear, terror, nightmares but also hope, where you have been for these past eight years with us," he said.

"From now on, however, we will know that on the mountain there is your intercession for us," he added.

Ravasi said the spiritual retreat would "liberate the soul from the dust of things, from the mud of sin, from the sand of banality, from the nettles of chatter which, especially in these days, are constantly in our ears."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...