VATICAN CITY — Breaking with the practice of his predecessors, Pope Francis will not take a long summer vacation and will stay in Rome, just making short trips to Castel Gandolfo.
In two announcements issued by the Vatican on June 6, the pontifical household shed light on the Pope’s summer plans.
Though he will make at least a one-day visit to Castel Gandolfo, the pontifical residence 15 miles outside of Rome, Pope Francis will continue living at St. Martha’s House during the summer.
He will lead the Angelus at Castel Gandolfo on July 14, prior to spending the last week of the month in Brazil for World Youth Day.
While Pope Francis’ decision is in keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires, it contrasts with the normal retreat popes make to the lakeside villa between July and September, the time when the heat is most intense in Rome. Benedict XVI and John Paul II both spent their last summers in the papacy at the residence through September.
One thing that will stay the same is that all general and private audiences with the Pope in July will be canceled, as well as the daily morning Mass that he has been celebrating in St. Martha’s chapel ever since he was elected.
The last Mass in St. Martha’s will be held on July 7, and it is not clear when they will resume.
The Vatican Press Office director, Father Federico Lombardi, told Catholic News Agency June 6, “All we know is that Mass will stop on July 8. I don’t know when it will start again, maybe in September, but I don’t know.”
Pope Francis will resume the weekly general audiences at the Vatican on Aug. 7, around the same time they normally begin in late summertime.