In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis will pronounce an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on Friday, March 27, at 1 p.m. local time in the Washington, D.C., area (6 p.m. Rome time). Although he will pronounce the blessing before an empty Square, the faithful can participate and receive the plenary indulgence because the event will be broadcast worldwide via television, radio and the Internet.

Under the heading "Together in Christ: Responding to Coronavirus," the usccb.org/coronavirus page has a link for all Catholics and other Christians to participate in Pope Francis' special "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The formal blessing -- usually given only immediately after a new pope's election and on Christmas and Easter -- carries with it a plenary indulgence for all who follow by television, internet or radio, are sorry for their sins, recite a few prescribed prayers, and promise to go to Confession and to receive the Eucharist as soon as possible.

The Vatican, in a statement on its website, noted that “the extraordinary moment of prayer in time of pandemic will last about an hour.”

When he announced the extraordinary blessing last Sunday, March 22, Pope Francis said, "We will listen to the Word of God, we will raise our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, at the end I will impart the Urbi et Orbi  blessing.”

Here is the English translation of the Urbi et Orbi blessing that Pope Francis will pronounce Friday, May 27:

May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we trust, intercede for us before the Lord. R: Amen.

Through the prayers and merits of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you and forgive all your sins, and may Jesus Christ bring you to everlasting life. R: Amen.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution and the remission of all your sins, a season of true and fruitful penance, a well-disposed heart, amendment of life, the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit and final perseverance in good works. R: Amen.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you forever. R: Amen.

Here is the Latin text of the Urbi et Orbi blessing, which are the exact words that will be used by Pope Francis:

Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus: de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus, ipsi intercedant pro nobis ad Dominum. R: Amen.

Precibus et meritis beatae Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioannis Baptistae et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus; et dimissis omnibus peccatis vestris, perducat vos Iesus Christus ad vitam æternam. R: Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium veræ et fructuosae pœnitentiae, cor semper paenitens, et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus; et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. R: Amen.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R: Amen.

The pope has also said that “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.”

Here are two prayers the faithful can recite in asking God's help in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic:

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered this prayer seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

This is the prayer Pope Francis recited March 11 beseeching Mary's protection of Italy and the world:

O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus' pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon Himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

(This article includes information from stories filed by the Catholic News Service.)