Source: Vatican News
Pope Francis has appealed for all Christians around the world to respond together to the Coronavirus pandemic with global prayers.
Speaking after the Angelus on Sunday, which the Pope led from the Apostolic Library in the Vatican, broadcast online and on large screens in an empty St Peter's Square, he said: "In these trying days, while humanity trembles in face of the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven."
On Wednesday, 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, at 12 noon Rome time, he has invited "the Heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christians 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" - the Our Father. "On that day on which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word", Pope Francis prayed, "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."
The Pope also announced that on the following Friday, 27 March, he will preside over a time of prayer from the forecourt of St Peter's Basilica. "I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication," he said.
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, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various media. The blessing is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6pm Rome time.
Pope Francis concluded his address by expressing his closeness to the people of Croatia, which was struck by magnitude 5.4 earthquake on Sunday morning. The Holy Father prayed: "May the Risen Lord give them the strength and solidarity to face this calamity."
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