Pope Francis has said he will grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful who watch or listen to his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” later today. In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will give the extraordinary blessing to the city and the world at 6pm Rome time, 5pm GMT.
Vatican News reported that the extraordinary moment of prayer in time of pandemic will last about an hour. The “Salus Populi Romani” icon and the crucifix of St Marcellus will be placed in front of the central door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar in the atrium of the Vatican Basilica.
The formal blessing, usually given only immediately after a new pope’s election and on Christmas and Easter, carries with it a plenary indulgence for all who follow by television, internet or radio, are sorry for their sins, recite a few prescribed prayers and promise to go to confession and to receive the Eucharist as soon as possible.
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.”
Watch and join the Urbi et Orbi.
An indulgence is an ancient practice of prayer and penance for the remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven. In Catholic teaching, a person can draw on the merits of Jesus and the saints to claim the indulgence for themselves or offer it on behalf of someone who has died. “To the pandemic of the virus we want to respond with the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness,” he said. “Let’s stay united. Let us make those who are alone and tested feel our closeness,” as well as doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and volunteers.
Pope Francis also expressed concern for “authorities who have to take strong measures for our good” and the police and soldiers maintaining public order and enforcing the lockdown.