Or did he? According to the tweet below the quote fro the AP article Th Holy Father is indeed taking part in these Spiritual Exercises.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A coughing Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered for the traditional Sunday blessing that he is canceling his participation at a week-long spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because of a cold. It is the first time in his seven-year papacy that he has missed the spiritual exercises that he initiated early in his pontificate to mark the start of each Lenten season. Such retreats are typical Jesuits, an order to which he belongs. The 83-year-old pontiff, who lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, has canceled several official engagements this week as he battled an apparent cold.Coughing pope cancels participating in Lenten retreat