Pope Francis has travelled to a retreat outside Rome aboard a bus with cardinals and bishops.
Francis and the heads of Vatican offices travelled to Ariccia, in the hills south of Rome, where the Society of St. Paul offered up a retreat house for spiritual exercises.
Jesuits typically did such Lenten retreats away from home, and Francis was 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.''