"Urbi et Orbi" literally means "to the city (of Rome) and to the world" and refers to the papal blessing that is extended to the whole world on different occasions.

The Pontiff usually gives this special blessing from the balcony of the central façade of St. Peter's Basilica on important dates for the Catholic Church.

In general, it usually takes place on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

However, there are other occasions on which the Pope imparts it exceptionally, such as a jubilee in favor of pilgrims or the enthronement of a new Pope.

This is also the case of the historic blessing of March 27, 2019, which Pope Francis made in St. Peter's Square to ask for the end of the COVID pandemic.  

In the face of this grave situation, Pope Francis presided over an extraordinary moment of prayer at the Vatican, imparting an Urbi et Orbi blessing with plenary indulgence to pray for the end of the pandemic.

Urbi et Orbi Plenary Indulgence

The primary feature of the Urbi et Orbi blessing is that it offers forgiveness for sins that have already been absolved.

Through the sacrament of reconciliation, our sins are pardoned, thereby reinstating us in God's grace. Nevertheless, the disarray created by our wrongdoing still necessitates reparation and compensation through the penance administered in the sacrament, good deeds, and purification in Purgatory.

The Urbi et Orbi blessing, as well as other plenary indulgences, remit the reparation and compensation still required, allowing us to gain direct entry into Heaven without further delay, provided we do not fall into sin again.

To earn the indulgence, the usual conditions apply. It is critical to detach from sin, go to confession, and receive the Eucharist as soon as possible. One must also pray for the pope.

The Urbi et Orbi blessing is effective for anyone who receives it with faith and reverence, including those who watch it online or through mass media such as television or radio.

How to Receive the Urbi et Orbi Papal Blessing in 2024

Pope Francis will administer the Urbi et Orbi papal blessing after the 10 a.m. Mass in St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday (March 31, 2024).

According to Catholic News Agency, approximately 100,000 people attended in 2023.

Watch it live below:

Click here if you cannot see the post above.

Formula of the Urbi et Orbi papal blessing (with the original Latin)

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

Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus, de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus, ipsi intercedam pro nobis ad Dominum.

℟: 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.

Precibus et meritis beatæ Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioannis Baptistæ 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.

℟: 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.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium verae et fructuosae penitentiæ, cor semper penitens et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consultationem sancti Spiritus et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus, tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

℟: 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.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis (Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti) descendat super vos et maneat semper.

℟: Amen

This article originally appeared in ACI Prensa. The EWTN Vatican Bureau Staff updated it on April 9, 2023. ChurchPOP modified it for current use.

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