The Extraordinary Blessing of Pope Francis “Urbi et Orbi”

“The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the nether world surrounded me. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and from His holy temple He heard my voice. (Psalm 18)

EWTN live-streamed video of Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi extraordinary blessing on March 27, 2020:

The Gospel from Mark 4:35-41 was first read:   

 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Pope Francis then gave a beautiful meditation on the Gospel.  In conclusion he said, “By His Cross we have been saved, in order to embrace hope…embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope. This is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope. Why are you afraid, have you yet no faith?  Dear brothers and sisters from this place that tells of Peter’s rock solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the Stormy Sea.  From this colonnade that embraces Rome, and the world may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace: Lord, bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid, yet our faith is weak, Lord, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, do not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again, ‘Do not be afraid.’  And we, together with Peter, cast all our anxieties onto You, because we know that You care for us.”  

Miraculous Crucifix of San Marcello
The Last Vision of St. John Bosco

After his meditation the Pope proceeded to the icon of Our Lady “Salus Populi Romani” where he prayed for several minutes before moving again to pray before the miraculous Crucifix of San Marcello. This was followed by prayers, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament just inside the door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The powerful image called to mind the last vision of St. John Bosco: The pope on the deck of a large ship in a stormy sea, with no land in sight, being attacked on all sides by smaller vessels and trying to anchor the ship between two columns rising out of the sea — one with the Blessed Sacrament and the other with Our Lady, Help of Christians. 

Pope Francis then proceeded out of St. Peter’s carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and with bells pealing, together with the sounds of sirens in the distance, he blessed the world, in the pouring rain, before a dark, empty St. Peter’s Square. The rain streaming down the side of the miraculous crucifix, recalling the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ. Please, at least watch the blessing in the video, which begins around 54:54 minutes. One could not fail to be moved by such powerful imagery. This Urbi et Orbi blessing was like no other in history, and a decisive moment for the world to turn back to the Face of God.

Mother Angelica
and Jesus

And how very fitting, that this historic, spiritual event would coincide with the anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN. It was Mother Angelica’s “Yes” to God that made it possible for millions around the world to see and hear the humble pleas of Pope Francis, and to receive his blessing!

“And we, with our unveiled faces, reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; This is the work of the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) These are the words on Mother Angelica’s tomb.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

Prayers Offered for Liberation From the Coronavirus

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Pope Francis calls for 9 pm Rosary for protection from Coronavirus on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph.
Detail, St. Joseph with the Child, by Alonso Miguel de Tovar

From Aleteia: “At the end of the general audience March 18, the pope said he is joining the initiative promoted by the Italian bishops to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 9pm (Italian time) on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.

Presumably, this initiative will gain ground across the globe, with each time zone joining in and creating a chain of prayer.”

“Every family, every member of the faithful, every religious community: All of us spiritually united tomorrow (Thursday) at 9 pm in praying the Rosary, the Luminous Mysteries”

‘We are led to the Luminous and transfigured Face of Jesus Christ and His Heart by Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, to whom we turn with the prayer of the Rosary, under the loving gaze of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family”–Pope Francis

“Mary — Mother of God, and Health of the Sick, to whom we direct the Rosary, under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Family, and our families — brings us to the luminous and transfigured Face of Christ and his Heart.

And we ask that he especially protect our families, in particular the sick and those who care for them: doctors, nurses, and volunteers, who risk their lives in this service.”  — Pope Francis 

The Pope also appeals for the 24 hours for the Lord initiative: click here for details  

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Prayers are being offered around the world for the end of Coronavirus.  Many churches, including the Vatican are live-streaming (may be seen below) the Mass for those who cannot attend Mass during the health crisis.

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus
Padre Pio called the Holy Veil of Manoppello the “greatest relic of the Church” photo: Patricia Enk

Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

HOLY HOUR FOR FAITH, HEALING, AND PROTECTION FROM COVID-19

On Friday, Mar. 13 during the 3 p.m. “Hour of Mercy” Fr. John Paul Mary, MFVA,  led a Holy Hour  on EWTN television — which was live streamed, and may still be viewed above, or on facebook.com/ewtnonline, ewtn.com –  invoking Divine Mercy, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph in these troubled times. EWTN has been re-airing the Divine Mercy Holy Hour. Fr. John-Paul also recited a prayer written by the Archbishop of Chieti, Italy, Archbishop Bruno Forte for the liberation from the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the world. 

 

Copy of the Holy Face Veil of Manoppello next to a Relic of St. Padre Pio

 

In tempo di corona virus

Preghiera per invocare la liberazione dai mali

Signore Gesù, Salvatore del mondo, speranza che non ci deluderà mai, abbi pietà di noi e liberaci da ogni male! Ti preghiamo di vincere il flagello di questo virus, che si va diffondendo, di guarire gli infermi, di preservare i sani, di sostenere chi opera per la salute di tutti. Mostraci il Tuo Volto di misericordia e salvaci nel Tuo grande amore. Te lo chiediamo per intercessione di Maria, Madre Tua e nostra, che con fedeltà ci accompagna. Tu che vivi e regni nei secoli dei secoli. Amen.

+ Bruno Forte  Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto

 The Holy Veil of Manoppello

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

The origins of this miraculous image on a gossamer-thin veil, “not made by human hands,” of the Face of Jesus are a great mystery and gift of God. It’s existence is an invitation to enter more deeply into relationship with God by contemplating the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus in His Holy Face.  Devotion to The Holy Face is therefore necessary, so that the great gift of “Il Volto Santo” The Holy Face of Manoppello is not treated as a mere curiosity, but with reverence, love and gratitude.  May Jesus Christ draw all souls, by His Merciful Face, reflecting all the love and pains of His Sacred Heart, to Himself.  More about the Holy Veil of Manoppello may be found by clicking (here).

 

“This Mercy of God which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the risen Christ.” –Pope Francis

Please pray that the light on the Merciful Face of Jesus, so darkened by the sins of the world, will shine upon us once more. “Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back. Let your Face shine on us and we shall be saved.”

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

2Chronicles 7:14

13.“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14. if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15.Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

Angelo Cardinal Comastri leads prayers live streamed from St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Veronica sudarium displaying the Veil of the Holy Face

Your prayers are an act of compassion. When a soul performs an “act of compassion,” Jesus leaves His image on the “veil” of the soul. In other words, while contemplating the Face of Jesus in an image, in the Word of God in the Scriptures, in a person made in the image and likeness of God, or above all, in the Eucharist, the soul places itself in the Presence of God. When we are turned completely toward the Face of God, through a daily face-to-face encounter in prayer–by the power of the Holy Spirit–God gradually transforms the soul into the “True Image” of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Pope St. John Paul II says, our hearts must become an “effigy of truth,” a “true icon.” Then our name too will be born from what we gaze upon. It will be “Veronica.”

 

 

 

Prayer, Penance and Procession

EWTN Holy Hour invoking Divine Mercy
Holy Face of Manoppello on the left — Prayer of Archbishop Bruno Forte recited.

Important Update:

HOLY HOUR FOR FAITH, HEALING, AND PROTECTION FROM COVID-19

On Friday, Mar. 13 during the 3 p.m. “Hour of Mercy” Fr. John Paul Mary, MFVA,  led a Holy Hour  on EWTN television — which was live streamed on facebook.com/ewtnonline, ewtn.com –  invoking Divine Mercy, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph in these troubled times.  Fr. John-Paul also recited a prayer written by the Archbishop of Chieti, Italy, Archbishop Bruno Forte for the liberation from the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped. the world. 

Prayer to the Holy Face for the liberation from the coronavirus
Lord Jesus, Savior of the world, hope that will never disappoint us, have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil! Please overcome the scourge of this virus which is spreading, heal the sick, preserve the healthy, support those who work for the health of all. Show us your face of mercy and save us in your great love. We ask you through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and ours, who faithfully accompanies us. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
+ Bruno Forte
Archbishop of Chieti – Vasto (Italy)

 

“This Mercy of God which has a concrete face, the Face of Jesus, the risen Christ.” –Pope Francis

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This may be the longest Lent on record. I have just read the shocking news that in response to the spread of coronavirus public Masses have been banned in Rome until April 3rd. What a desert the Church is entering into now — without the public sacrifice of the Mass!

In the past, during times of crisis in the world, the Catholic Church has traditionally responded with a greater call to prayer and penance, as well as public demonstrations of faith and trust in God’s infinite majesty and power, by participating in the act of procession.

Omnis Terra Procession of Pope Innocent II in 1208 carrying “the Veronica” Face of Christ (from “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia” manuscript 1350)

There is power in procession that terrifies the infernal foe and makes all of hell tremble. As Fr. Frederick W. Faber in his treatise on the Blessed Sacrament wrote:

“We process toward our heavenly home in the company of God.  Procession is the function of faith, which burns in our hearts and beams in our faces, and makes our voices tremulous with emotion as our ‘Lauda Sion’ bids defiance to an unbelieving world.”

detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript "Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia"
Detail of Face of Jesus on the Holy Veil from the precious manuscript “Liber Regulae Sancti Spiritus in Saxia”

An unbelieving world has reason to fear death. Edward Pentin, of the National Catholic Register has a fine article on the Church’s response to the crisis. In it he quotes Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars in France:

“The collective panic we are witnessing today — is it not indicative of our distorted relationship to the reality of death? Does it not show the anxiety-inducing effects of the loss of God?”

The Church’s response must be more, not less, devotion, in addition to the caring for the sick and suffering. Where are the calls for prayer, penance and processions? To it’s credit the Diocese of Rome has called for a day of fasting on March 11th, hopefully many will answer that call.  The world is not only unbelieving but publicly blasphemes God to His Face, and it is for this reason that He must be honored publicly. This does not necessarily mean a large crowd, a procession may be small but still public. Whether it is within the confines of a church or through the city streets, the procession is a public function of faith, hope, and love. It is an antidote to the poison disseminated by our culture which falsely asserts that religion is “private” and not something to be brought up in polite society or in the public square.  By solemn procession the Church loudly proclaims to all the world that Jesus is Lord!  Our help will not come through human means, but divine.  Humanity must turn back to the Face of Christ!

“Lord, God of Hosts, bring us back! Let Your Face shine on us and we shall be saved!”
Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello
Photo: Patricia Enk

 

Prayer to Our Lady Health of the Sick for the people of Rome
by Pope Francis

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.

 

Thank you, Mother Angelica!

Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord
Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord

“In our life as Contemplatives, we may never see the fruit of all the prayers and penance we do.  It isn’t easy at first, but after a while as you dig deeper into your interior and Jesus comes along with light–it dawns on you, as it must, that the only thing that the Eternal Father wants from you and from me is to become transformed in Love.  Then, the Divine Image of His Son will be so clear in us that when He looks at us, He will see no one but Jesus.”

–Mother Angelica, born into Eternal Life, Easter Sunday 2016

Thank you, Jesus, for the beautiful life, inspiration and example of Your beloved spouse, Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica and Jesus
Mother Angelica
and Jesus