As we are all united in the pandemic, may we all be united in prayer, Pope Francis urges.
On March 25, Catholics and many Christians are celebrating the Annunciation, the day Gabriel visited Our Lady and thus the feast of the Lord becoming flesh within the womb of the Virgin.
The pope made the invitation at the end of the March 22 midday Angelus address, live-streamed from the Apostolic Library.
He also said that on Friday, March 27, he will spend time in prayer in St. Peter’s, starting at 6 pm. He invited the faithful to tune in to the ceremony, which will include the Liturgy of the Word, and benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. He said he will give an “urbi et orbi” apostolic blessing — “to the City of Rome and the world” — with the possibility of attaining a plenary indulgence.
The urbi et orbi blessings are usually given on solemn occasions — Christmas, Easter, and when a new pope is elected, as his first blessing for the world.
After the end of his reflection in the Apostolic Library, the pope went to the window overlooking the empty St. Peter’s Square, and blessed the security guards and, symbolically, the world.
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. 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. 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, 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.
With this same intention, this coming Friday, 27 March, at 6:00pm, I will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrata of Saint Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square. I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication. 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.
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