Pope Francis has asked leaders of all the world’s Christian confessions to join with all the faithful in reciting the Lord’s Prayer today — Wednesday*, March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation — at noon, Rome time.
That’s 11am London and 7am Eastern Daylight Time.
“I invite all the Heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community,” Pope Francis said Sunday after the Angelus prayer, “together with all Christians of the various confessions, to invoke the Most High, Almighty God, reciting at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us,” the Our Father, on Wednesday at noon Rome time.
“May the Lord hear the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ,” Pope Francis prayed. “Let us remain united,” he said.
“Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and sorely tried,” Pope Francis prayed, calling on Christians throughout the world, together with the leaders of their communities, to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness.”
The press office of the holy See on Wednesday morning sent a communiqué confirming the Vatican Media stream from the library of the Apostolic Palace, where Pope Francis will recite the prayer, and saying that the Angelus and Holy Rosary will follow from St Peter’s Basilica, led by the basilica’s archpriest, Cardinal Angelo Comastri.
On Friday, March 27th, Pope Francis will offer an extraordinary benediction urbi et orbi — a solemn blessing to the city and the world — from the steps of an empty St Peter’s Square.
Readings from scripture, supplications, and Eucharistic adoration will precede Friday’s blessing, which Vatican Media will broadcast live from 6 pm Rome time. The plenary indulgence attached to the urbi et orbi blessing is available to all the faithful who follow the event live.
The recent decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary has more on the conditions under which the faithful may obtain the indulgence:
[G]ranted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
The indulgence is also granted to medical professionals, first responders, and other caregivers, whose occupations put them at elevated risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
In addition, the indulgence is available during the emergency to the faithful who pray especially for relief from the pandemic and the repose of the souls of the victims of the disease. The decree specifically names several traditional acts of devotion: visiting the Blessed Sacrament; Eucharistic adoration; a half hour’s reading in Sacred Scripture; recitation of the Rosary; the Via Crucis; and, the Divine Mercy chaplet.
*This story has been corrected to reflect that March 25th, 2020, is in fact Wednesday.
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