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Sick Pope Francis Cancels Attendance at Lent Retreat

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Pope Francis has canceled his participation in a traditional Lent retreat, blaming his ongoing battle with a cold. 

Coughing while giving his regular Sunday blessing to pilgrims, the Pope said he will not be attending the week-long spiritual exercises that he started to mark the beginning of Lent.  The retreat is held in the Italian countryside. 

The 83-year-old pontiff has been sick for several days and has canceled several official engagements. He lost part of a lung to a respiratory disease as young man. 

He was also seen coughing and blowing his nose during Mass on Ash Wednesday.

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