Pope Francis is inviting Catholics – indeed, all people of good will – to witness and receive his Urbi et Orbi – to the City and to the World – blessing today, at 6 p.m. Rome time (which, for readers in the Eastern Time Zone, is 1 p.m.). A miraculous crucifix has been moved into Saint Peter’s Square, strangely empty due to Italy’s stringent lock-down. This image of Christ crucified was apparently the only object to survive the burning down of its home Church, Saint Marcello a Corso, in 1519, and was instrumental in stopping the plague – the ‘Black Death – which stalked Rome in the summer of 1522. The crucifix is brought to the Saint Peter’s every Holy Year – about every half-century, the last being the Jubilee of 2000, and in times of great need, as in, now.
I will have more to write on the strange situation in which we are finding ourselves later on this morning, Deo volente. But, for now, on that note, off to prayer.