Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer he celebrated from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope departs on bus for weeklong retreat

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has traveled to a retreat outside Rome aboard a bus with cardinals and bishops.

Francis and the heads of Vatican offices traveled to Ariccia, in the hills south of Rome, where the Society of St. Paul offered up a retreat house for spiritual exercises through Friday.

Jesuits typically do such Lenten retreats away from home, and Francis is breaking with recent papal tradition of prayers and meditation at the Vatican during the 40-day Lenten period preceding Easter.

Monsignor Mario Toso, a Vatican official, said the pope's decision to ride in the bus "is something nice. It is the proof of the family, the caravan of God, serving humanity."

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