Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
Unusual times call for unusual responses.
While the Holy Fathers give their “Urbi et Orbi” — to the city and to the word — blessing on Christmas and Easter, Pope Francis has decided to give this extraordinary formal blessing today from the Vatican via many media.
In light of the coronavirus situation, the blessing will carry with it a Plenary Indulgence for all who are present and watching on television, internet, or listening on the radio.
The blessing did take place during the broadcast beginning at 1pm ET, 12pm noon CT, 11am MT, 10am PT.
but REPEATING TONIGHT! EWTN will REPEAT the broadcast TONIGHT, Msrch 27, at 8:00 pm Eastern time. (Adjust for other time zones)
- We must be sorry for our sins.and have "a spirit detached from any sin"
- We must prayer the prescribed prayers (an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be are the usual prayers, or Creed) for Holy Father's intentions
- Promise to go to Confession and to receive Holy Communion as soon as it becomes possible again.
These, of course, are always mandatory for any Plenary Indulgence. But because of the situation in several countries with churches not able to offer public Masses and some not offering Confession (while others have made provision to continue doing so under these extraordinary conditions), the promise to do so when it becomes possible is another help for everyone.
This blessing is most extrordinary becausethe usual Urbi et Orbi blessing is given the the Holy Fathers making the sSgn of the Cross with thier hands. This time, Pope Francis is givng the blessing after Benediction with the monstrance containing the Holy Eucharist! His hnads are covdered by the usual humeral veil. Meaning, as an EWTN friar explains, that the blessing is coming dir3ectly from OUR LORD! Jesus is blessing us.
For the blessing, the pope said “we will listen to the word of God, raise our prayer (and) adore the Blessed Sacrament. At the end, I will give the benediction urbi et orbi, to which will be connected the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence.”
Pope Francis added, “To the pandemic of the virus we want to respond with the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness. 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.
During this time plenary indulgences are constantly available as the Vatican has decreed. See Here’s How to Get the Vatican’s New Coronavirus Indulgences.