On Sunday 29th March 2020 (5th Sunday of Lent), Bishop Paul Swarbrick of Lancaster, together with the scattered faithful of the Church all united in prayer, re-dedicated England to Mary the Mother of God.

Pope Francis held the special Urbi et Orbi on Friday from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Usually a colorful event reserved only for Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, this extraordinary blessing was held in keeping with the gravity of the current global situation, as more than half of the world’s population is confined to their homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Standing in a deserted St. Peter’s Square with a steady rain falling, Pope Francis spoke to the world through all the means of modern communication: Facebook, YouTube, TV, and radio.

Special Pastoral Measures for Coronavirus

Bishop Paul has issued these special measures regarding the sign of peace and reception of the precious blood from the chalice. He also requests that those who receive Holy Communion on the tongue should receive on the hand for the greater good of the community. 

Lent Pastoral (Year A)
My dear people,
The term ‘self-isolate’ has become familiar to us all in recent weeks in connection with the threat to life posed by the corona-virus. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in some way ‘selfisolated’ when faced with the threat to eternal life posed by sin.

He was led into the wilderness not to avoid contact but to prepare to do battle with the enemy. We must take seriously risks to life. We must take even more seriously risks to eternal life.

Pope Francis has called on the world’s Christians and people of goodwill to join together to pray the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday, 25 March at 11am UK time (midday in Rome). On Friday 27 March at 5pm UK time (6pm Rome), the Pope will pray on the steps of St Peter’s basilica. Although the square will be empty, there will be a period of Adoration and readings from Scripture. At the end of the service, the Holy Father will impart his Urbi et Orbi blessing and will offer a Plenary indulgence for the COVID-19 pandemic.