The Pope’s Blessing and the Sacrament of Penance while the Church is closed

28 Mar
Dear All,
I’m sure lots of you tuned in to the Pope’s extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing yesterday evening to the city of Rome and to the world with prayers to end the pandemic. It must be the first time in history a Pope has given this blessing to an empty St Peter’s Square.  The most moving moment for me was at the end when the Pope stood at the door of St Peter’s Basilica and blessed the world with the Blessed Sacrament as the bells of St Peter’s rang out joyously. 
It was a totally unique event. Normally the Pope only gives the Urbi et Orbi at his election and at Christmas and Easter. But the blessing yesterday was the Holy Father’s way of making himself present in all of our lives in this time of crisis. While he is live-streaming Mass daily on the internet, Mass on TV or the computer can’t replace your actually being present at the Eucharistic Sacrifice. But the Urbi et Orbi, which only the Pope does, does transmit over the TV, radio or internet. You receive all the blessings as if you were actually there in St Peter’s Square and a Plenary Indulgence was attached to all those tuning in.
Moving on to Confessions. During the present situation it is going to be very difficult for people to receive the Sacrament of Penance. Under these circumstances you may make an act of Perfect Contrition which when the Sacrament itself is not available can forgive even mortal sins, provided you resolve to go to Confession as soon as the opportunity arises. There is a really good explanation of this and also of a Spiritual Communion in the article below. Just click on the link below.
A reminder that there is Holy Water available outside the front door of the church for you to take and sprinkle in your homes and to bless yourselves with. Bring a bottle and fill it up. I see people have already been taking from it. Holy Water used with faith forgives venial sins and can give protection against evil and sickness. I have also put some printed newsletters along with the text for tomorrow’s Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary outside the front door on a table. Don’t forget to join me in spirit tomorrow at 11am and make the Rededication yourselves. 
Please remember you may subscribe to the weekly newsletter online by signing up from any page of the website (right-hand column).  The homepage is updated daily with lots of new information.
And finally, let us continue to pray for an end to the pandemic and for all the sick, particularly those infected with the virus, for the needy, for the dying and those who have died. 
May Our Lord, Our Lady and St Joseph protect us all.
Fr Paul

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