The Pope also announced that on the following Friday, 27 March he will lead a moment of prayer from St Peter’s Basilica.
“I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication”, he said.
This will be an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing in response to coronavirus.
The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi blessing. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 pm Rome time [which is 4 am Saturday in Newcastle].
“In these days of trial, while humanity trembles because of the pandemic’s menace, I would like to propose to all Christians to unite their voices to Heaven,” the Pope said after Sunday’s Angelus. “I invite all the Heads of Churches and the leaders of all the Christian Communities, together with all the Christians of the various Confessions, to invoke the Most High, Almighty God, reciting contemporaneously the prayer that Jesus Our Lord taught us. I invite all, therefore, to do so several times a day, but, all together, to recite the Our Father next Wednesday, 25 March, at midday – all together.
“On the day in which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord be able to hear the unanimous prayer of all His disciples that are preparing to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ. With this same intention, next Friday, 27 March at 6:00 pm, I will preside over a moment of prayer in the courtyard of St. Peter’s Basilica, with the empty Square. From now on, I invite all to take part spiritually through the means of communication. We will listen to the Word of God, we will elevate our prayer, we will adore the Most Blessed Sacrament, with which at the end I will give the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, to which will be annexed the possibility to receive a Plenary Indulgence,” Pope Francis said.