On March 22nd, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would give an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing on Friday March 27th. The Urbi et Orbi blessing is a solemn apostolic prayer to “The City (of Rome) and the World”. This title emphasizes the Pope’s dual responsibility as bishop of Rome and head of the global church.
These special blessings are typically reserved for Christmas and Easter or the opening and closing of Vatican Councils. To signify its importance, the Pope always delivers the Urbi et Orbi from the central Papal Balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. This Balcony (called the Sagrato), is only used for this rare blessing and for the presentation of new Popes.
In addition to its rarity, the Urbi et Orbi carries a plenary indulgence for all those who watch it via media. This indulgence is a remittance of all temporal punishment due to sin. It takes away all future punishment for sin after death. To receive this indulgence, Catholics must be detached from sin, and possess the strong desire to attend sacramental confession, receive the Eucharist, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions as soon as possible.
We can all take part in this historic blessing on March 27th at 12:00 PM EST. You can live stream the event on the Vatican News Website: https://www.vaticannews.va/en.html
(Header photo CNS photo/Vatican Media)