“My dear brothers and sisters, in these days of trial, as humanity trembles because of the threat of the pandemic. I would like to propose that all Christians unite their voices in prayer and that the heads of churches and the leaders of Christian communities and all Christians of the different denominations, should invoke the Almighty by praying together, all at the same time, the prayer that Jesus taught us. I, therefore, suggest that we all pray this prayer several times during the day and then, altogether, recite the Our Father next Wednesday (25th March) at midday (11am GMT), everybody together. This is the day that a number of Christians remember the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the incarnation of the Word. May the Lord hear the united prayer of these disciples who prepare to celebrate the victory of the Risen Lord.
With this same intention, on Friday 27th March at 18.00hrs (5pm GMT) , I will preside over a moment of prayer above the square of St. Peter’s Basilica, which will be completely empty. I invite everyone to join spiritually, by means of the media. We will listen to the Word of God. We will raise our prayers. We will adore the Blessed Sacrament, with which I will then give a blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) with the chance for all to receive a plenary indulgence.
In the face of the pandemic caused by this virus, we want to reply with prayer, the universality of prayer, and the compassion of mercy, remaining united. We will then feel our proximity to the people who are the most affected and the most hurting, our proximity to the doctors and nurses and to the authorities who must take the very difficult decisions in our interest. We will feel our proximity to the police who are in the streets to keep order. We must do what the authorities ask us to do. Finally, we’ll also feel that solidarity with everyone.
We also need to show that solidarity at this time with the people of Croatia affected by an earthquake this morning (Sunday). May God give them the strength to deal with that calamity. And don’t forget to read the Gospel of today (John, Chapter 9). Read it calmly and slowly. I wish you all a good Sunday.”
Special Urbi et Orbi Blessing
On 27 March Pope Francis delivered an extraordinary blessing “To the City and to the World” to pray for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Below is a one minute video summary of that momentous occasion