Pray with Pope Francis on Friday 27th March at 5.00pm UK time

Pope Francis has announced that he will be holding a period of Adoration and Prayer on Friday 27th March at 5.00pm UK time (6.00pm Rome time). The Liturgy will include readings from the Scriptures. It will take place on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome but without people being present. You should be able to watch it live on Vatican TV ‘s YouTube channel,

At the end of the service, he will bestow his Apostolic Blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the City and to the World). The blessing carries with it a Plenary Indulgence, specially granted for the Pandemic

. A Plenary Indulgence is the removal of any purification needed for sin. It requires a true sorrow (contrition) for our past sins. You might want to offer the Act of Contrition before the Service begins. The Bishops Conference for England and Wales have supplied the following Act of Contrition to assist us:

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

Please do join with Catholics around the world to pray with the Holy Father. He asks that we join together to uphold the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness.

Pope Francis encourages us to “remain united and make our closeness felt – especially with healthcare professionals and those who serve.”

A Further Thought: Offering Ourselves Each Day

Right now, as we all know, our best service to the world around us is through prayer, supporting each other and neighbours or fellow citizens in need, and staying at home as much as possible so as to relieve any pressure from the NHS.

Doing all this can become our sacrifice which we offer to God. Sacrifice does not just mean giving something up. For us Catholics it means much more. First of all, the Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ – what He did 2000 years ago in His Suffering, Death and Resurrection is made present today in every Mass. He offered Himself up for us in perfect love.

So how can what we are doing now become a sacrifice in the fullest sense? This is done by making a clear offering of everything I do, feel, think, give up, endure, enjoy – my whole self – each day to God. If we make a Morning Offering every day when we wake up, then it means that everything we do in the day, our entire life that day, becomes a gift to God, an offering to Him. At Mass we are normally meant to bring our offerings of the past week to the Lord to offer them with Him in His sacrifice being offered in the Mass. We worship God by offering Him our entire selves, our whole lives: that’s our sacrifice. By doing this each day, we make our daily lives a mini-Mass, if I can put it like that.

Jesus tells us that the Father wants true worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth. The Morning Offering is our way of continuing what happens at Mass in our own daily lives. And throughout the day, we can keep offering all we’re doing to God out of love for Him: it is our daily worship of the Father, through Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. One day, when we all are able to return to the public celebration of Mass, we will be able to say a very heartfelt Amen to that prayer which ends the great Prayer of Sacrifice, the Eucharistic Prayer:

Through him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, for ever and ever.

This is a sample of a typical Morning Offering which we can use as soon we get up in the morning:

O my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being offered throughout the world this day, I offer you all that I do and say and think and feel and suffer and enjoy this day, my entire self, body, mind and soul: for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in reparation for my sins and those of the whole world, for [here you can mention you intentions that you wish to pray for], and for our Holy Father the Pope. Through you, Lord Jesus, may my offering be sanctified by the Holy Spirit; through you, Lord Jesus, may my offering give praise and love to our Father in Heaven.

After this, you might want to pray slowly the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

Credit: Fr David B Barrett , Parish Priest, Our Lady Help of Christians & St Lawrence, Olney, Buckinghamshire.