POPE Francis will give the city of Rome and the world an extraordinary blessing this week with the possibility of a plenary indulgence in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pope announced he would give the “urbi et orbi” blessing, normally only given immediately after a new pope’s election and on Christmas and Easter, after presiding over a moment of prayer on Friday, March 27.
The blessing will be given in an empty St Peter’s Square, given Italy is in lockdown, but will be broadcast on communication outlets.
According to Catholic News Service, with the public joining him only by television, internet or radio, “we will listen to the word of God, raise our prayer (and) adore the Blessed Sacrament,” he said.
“At the end, I will give the benediction ‘urbi et orbi’, to which will be connected the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence.”
The plenary indulgence will be available to those who pray with the Pope by television, internet or radio, are sorry for their sins, recite prescribed prayers for the indulgence, and promise to go to confession and receive the Eucharist as soon as possible.
The special announcement follows a recent decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 19, which granted a special indulgence to all the faithful suffering from COVID-19, and extended to healthcare workers, family members, and anyone who cares for them in any capacity, even in prayer.
“This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself,” the decree said.
After announcing the plans for his extraordinary blessing on the world, Pope Francis said at a time “when humanity trembles” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he asked all Christians to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer together at noon on Wednesday, March 25.
“To the pandemic of the virus we want to respond with the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness,” Pope Francis said.
“Let’s stay united. Let us make those who are alone and tested feel our closeness.”