VATICAN CITY, March 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope Francis has announced two extraordinary spiritual events to help the world as it struggles with the coronavirus: a universal prayer and a special blessing.
After the Angelus on Sunday, which the pontiff prayed from within the library of the Apostolic Palace and was broadcast live, Pope Francis asked Christians around the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer simultaneously on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation.
“In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards heaven,” Francis said.
“I invite all the heads of the churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christian of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us,” he continued.
“I, therefore, invite everyone to do this several times a day, but all together, to recite the Our Father this coming Wednesday, 25 March, at noon (Rome time), all together. On that day on which many Christians recall the annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord listen to the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.”
Rome is on Central European Standard Time, which is five hours before Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and six hours before Central Daylight Time (CDT). Thus, the simultaneous prayer will take place at 7 a.m. in Toronto and New York, and 6 a.m. in Chicago.
The Argentinian pontiff also announced that he would offer the papal “Urbi et Orbi” blessing during a prayer service on March 27, and that participating in the blessing through the media would, in part, confer a plenary indulgence.
“With this same intention, this coming Friday, 27 March, at 6 p.m., I will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrata of St. Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square,” Francis said.
“I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication,” he continued.
“We will listen to the Word of God, we will lift up our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, with which at the end, I will give the Urbi et Orbi blessing, to which will be connected the possibility of receiving the plenary indulgence.”
The Urbi et Orbi (“to the City (of Rome) and to the World”) blessing is normally reserved for Christmas and Easter.
According to Vatican News, Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed that Friday’s prayer service will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 p.m. Rome time (1 p.m. EDT, 12 p.m. CDT). Bruni noted that the plenary indulgence attached to the Urbi et Orbi blessing “is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary.”