Live: Pope gives blessing to all affected by Covid-19

Pope Francis last delivered an Urbi et Orbi - Latin for 'to the city and to the world' - blessing on Christmas Day. He will give another today, along with a plenary indulgence to those affected by coronavirus. Picture by AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

POPE Francis will grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics affected by coronavirus when he delivers an Urbi et Orbi blessing 'to the city and the world' from the steps of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

The ceremony, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ News Now at 5pm on Friday March 27, will be an "extraordinary global celebration of prayer", said Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin.

"In the midst of this horrendous Covid-19 pandemic, I thank the Holy Father for his compassion, hope and solidarity by leading us in prayer with an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing," he said.

"This blessing will be a very significant celebration of the mercy of God towards humanity, especially in these current and trying circumstances."

The plenary indulgence will be available to "those sick with the coronavirus, their families, healthcare workers and for all working at the front line exposing themselves to the risk of contagion", he said.

Papal Urbi et Orbi blessings are traditionally given only at Christmas and Easter.

A plenary indulgence is a feature of the Catholic tradition in which a person's sins are forgiven in return for performing an action - in this case, watching or listening to the Urbi et Orbi blessing.

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