World Communications Day

In his message for the 58th World Day of Communications, Pope Francis urges humanity to cultivate wisdom of the heart in the age of artificial intelligence.

Celebrated on Sunday 12 May, this year's theme is closely linked to the Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace, which was devoted to the development of systems of artificial intelligence (AI).

Bishop Joseph Toal (Motherwell Diocese), President of  National Communications Commission has released this letter highlighting the themes of the Holy Father's message, (Pope Francis' message can be read at the bottom of this article).

A special collection will take place at all Masses for the apostolate of communications to fund the Catholic Media Office which represents the Church in a challenging media context in Scotland.

The Archdiocese

Matt Meade is the Communications Director for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. He helps parishes on all matters of communications. Please do not hesitate to contact him for  help or advice: | 07833 208 211.

The Archdiocese recently hosted an online workshop for those who help their parish with social media/newsletters/website. The next one takes place on  Saturday 12 October, 10:00am - 11:30am. To register email

There are a range of ways we keep people in touch with news and events across the Archdiocese. 

Website: Find out the latest news from the Archdiocese and beyond at

Mailing List: Receive monthly updates by subscribing to our mailing list at

Calendar:  On our news page scroll down to view our events calendar.

YouTube: Our channel features talks, Zoom events, news, playlists and more. Visit


Twitter: @archedinburgh

Instagram: @standrewsedinburgh


The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day

Dear brothers and sisters!

The development of systems of artificial intelligence, to which I devoted my recent Message for the World Day of Peace, is radically affecting the world of information and communication, and through it, certain foundations of life in society.

These changes affect everyone, not merely professionals in those fields. The rapid spread of astonishing innovations, whose workings and potential are beyond the ability of most of us to understand and appreciate, has proven both exciting and disorienting.

This leads inevitably to deeper questions about the nature of human beings, our distinctiveness and the future of the species homo sapiens in the age of artificial intelligence. How can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?

Starting with the heart

Before all else, we need to set aside catastrophic predictions and their numbing effects. A century ago, Romano Guardini reflected on technology and humanity. Guardini urged us not to reject “the new” in an attempt to “preserve a beautiful world condemned to disappear”.

At the same time, he prophetically warned that “we are constantly in the process of becoming. We must enter into this process, each in his or her own way, with openness but also with sensitivity to everything that is destructive and inhumane therein”.

Pope Francis will take part in the upcoming G7 session on Artificial Intelligence.

— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) April 26, 2024

And he concluded: “These are technical, scientific and political problems, but they cannot be resolved except by starting from our humanity. A new kind of human being must take shape, endowed with a deeper spirituality and new freedom and interiority”.[1]

At this time in history, which risks becoming rich in technology and poor in humanity, our reflections must begin with the human heart.[2]Only by adopting a spiritual way of viewing reality, only by recovering a wisdom of the heart, can we confront and interpret the newness of our time and rediscover the path to a fully human communication.

In the Bible, the heart is seen as the place of freedom and decision-making.

It symbolises integrity and unity, but it also engages our emotions, desires, dreams; it is, above all, the inward place of our encounter with God. Wisdom of the heart, then, is the virtue that enables us to integrate the whole and its parts, our decisions and their consequences, our nobility and our vulnerability, our past and our future, our individuality and our membership within a larger community.

This wisdom of the heart lets itself be found by those who seek it and be seen by those who love it; it anticipates those who desire it and it goes in search of those who are worthy of it (cf.Wis6:12-16). It accompanies those willing to take advice (cf.Prov  13:10), those endowed with a docile and listening heart (cf.1 Kg3:9). A gift of the Holy Spirit, it enables us to look at things with God’s eyes, to see connections, situations, events and to uncover their real meaning.

Without this kind of wisdom, life becomes bland, since it is precisely wisdom – whose Latin rootsapere  is related to the noun sapor– that gives “savour” to life.

Opportunity and danger

Such wisdom cannot be sought from machines. Although the term “artificial intelligence” has now supplanted the more correct term, “machine learning”, used in scientific literature, the very use of the word “intelligence” can prove misleading. N

o doubt, machines possess a limitlessly greater capacity than human beings for storing and correlating data, but human beings alone are capable of making sense of that data. It is not simply a matter of making machines appear more human, but of awakening humanity from the slumber induced by the illusion of omnipotence, based on the belief that we are completely autonomous and self-referential subjects, detached from all social bonds and forgetful of our status as creatures.

Human beings have always realised that they are not self-sufficient and have sought to overcome their vulnerability by employing every means possible. From the earliest prehistoric artifacts, used as extensions of the arms, and then the media, used as an extension of the spoken word, we have now become capable of creating highly sophisticated machines that act as a support for thinking.

🎥VIDEO | Pope Francis discusses the impact of AI on humanity in his World Communications Day message, emphasizing the need for a heart-led approach to technology. He calls for ethical regulation, transparency, and the use of AI to foster equality and human communication.

— EWTN Vatican (@EWTNVatican) February 7, 2024

Each of these instruments, however, can be abused by the primordial temptation to become like God without God (cf.Gen3), that is, to want to grasp by our own effort what should instead be freely received as a gift from God, to be enjoyed in the company of others.

Depending on the inclination of the heart, everything within our reach becomes either an opportunity or a threat. Our very bodies, created for communication and communion, can become a means of aggression.

So too, every technical extension of our humanity can be a means of loving service or of hostile domination. Artificial intelligence systems can help to overcome ignorance and facilitate the exchange of information between different peoples and generations. For example, they can render accessible and understandable an enormous patrimony of written knowledge from past ages or enable communication between individuals who do not share a common language.

Yet, at the same time, they can be a source of “cognitive pollution”, a distortion of reality by partially or completely false narratives, believed and broadcast as if they were true.

We need but think of the long-standing problem of disinformation in the form of fake news,[3]which today can employ “deepfakes”, namely the creation and diffusion of images that appear perfectly plausible but false (I too have been an object of this), or of audio messages that use a person’s voice to say things which that person never said. The technology of simulation behind these programmes can be useful in certain specific fields, but it becomes perverse when it distorts our relationship with others and with reality.

Starting with the first wave of artificial intelligence, that of social media, we have experienced its ambivalence: its possibilities but also its risks and associated pathologies. The second level of generative artificial intelligence unquestionably represents a qualitative leap. It is important therefore to understand, appreciate and regulate instruments that, in the wrong hands could lead to disturbing scenarios.

Like every other product of human intelligence and skill, algorithms are not neutral. For this reason, there is a need to act preventively, by proposing models of ethical regulation, to forestall harmful, discriminatory and socially unjust effects of the use of systems of artificial intelligence and to combat their misuse for the purpose of reducing pluralism, polarising public opinion or creating forms of groupthink. I once more appeal to the international community “to work together in order to adopt a binding international treaty that regulates the development and use of artificial intelligence in its many forms”.[4]At the same time, as in every human context, regulation is, of itself, not sufficient.

Growth in humanity

All of us are called to grow together, in humanity and as humanity. We are challenged to make a qualitative leap in order to become a complex, multi-ethnic, pluralistic, multireligious and multicultural society.

We are called to reflect carefully on the theoretical development and the practical use of these new instruments of communication and knowledge. Their great possibilities for good are accompanied by the risk of turning everything into abstract calculations that reduce individuals to data, thinking to a mechanical process, experience to isolated cases, goodness to profit, and, above all, a denial of the uniqueness of each individual and his or her story.

The concreteness of reality dissolves in a flurry of statistical data.

The digital revolution can bring us greater freedom, but not if it imprisons us in models that nowadays are called “echo chambers”. In such cases, rather than increasing a pluralism of information, we risk finding ourselves adrift in a mire of confusion, prey to the interests of the market or of the powers that be.

It is unacceptable that the use of artificial intelligence should lead to groupthink, to a gathering of unverified data, to a collective editorial dereliction of duty. The representation of reality in “big data”, however useful for the operation of machines, ultimately entails a substantial loss of the truth of things, hindering interpersonal communication and threatening our very humanity.

Information cannot be separated from living relationships. These involve the body and immersion in the real world; they involve correlating not only data but also human experiences; they require sensitivity to faces and facial expressions, compassion and sharing.

Here I think of the reporting of wars and the “parallel war” being waged through campaigns of disinformation. I think too of all those reporters who have been injured or killed in the line of duty in order to enable us to see what they themselves had seen. For only by such direct contact with the suffering of children, women and men, can we come to appreciate the absurdity of wars.

The use of artificial intelligence can make a positive contribution to the communications sector, provided it does not eliminate the role of journalism on the ground but serves to support it. Provided too that it values the professionalism of communication, making every communicator more aware of his or her responsibilities, and enables all people to be, as they should, discerning participants in the work of communication.

Questions for today and for the future

In this regard, a number of questions naturally arise. How do we safeguard professionalism and the dignity of workers in the fields of information and communication, together with that of users throughout the world?

How do we ensure the interoperability of platforms? How do we enable businesses that develop digital platforms to accept their responsibilities with regard to content and advertising in the same way as editors of traditional communications media?

How do we make more transparent the criteria guiding the operation of algorithms for indexing and de-indexing, and for search engines that are capable of celebrating or cancelling persons and opinions, histories and cultures?

How do we guarantee the transparency of information processing? How do we identify the paternity of writings and the traceability of sources concealed behind the shield of anonymity?

How do we make it clear whether an image or video is portraying an event or simulating it? How do we prevent sources from being reduced to one alone, thus fostering a single approach, developed on the basis of an algorithm? How instead do we promote an environment suitable for preserving pluralism and portraying the complexity of reality?

How can we make sustainable a technology so powerful, costly and energy-consuming? And how can we make it accessible also to developing countries?

The answers we give to these and other questions will determine if artificial intelligence will end up creating new castes based on access to information and thus giving rise to new forms of exploitation and inequality.

Or, if it will lead to greater equality by promoting correct information and a greater awareness of the epochal change that we are experiencing by making it possible to acknowledge the many needs of individuals and of peoples within a well-structured and pluralistic network of information. If, on the one hand, we can glimpse the spectre of a new form of slavery, on the other, we can also envision a means of greater freedom; either the possibility that a select few can condition the thought of others, or that all people can participate in the development of thought.

The answer we give to these questions is not pre-determined; it depends on us. It is up to us to decide whether we will become fodder for algorithms or will nourish our hearts with that freedom without which we cannot grow in wisdom. Such wisdom matures by using time wisely and embracing our vulnerabilities.

It grows in the covenant between generations, between those who remember the past and who look ahead to the future. Only together can we increase our capacity for discernment and vigilance and for seeing things in the light of their fulfilment. Lest our humanity lose its bearings, let us seek the wisdom that was present before all things (cf.Sir 1:4): it will help us also to put systems of artificial intelligence at the service of a fully human communication.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 24 January 2024


1]Letters from Lake Como.
[2]The 2024 Message for the World Day of Social Communications takes up the preceding Messages devoted to encountering persons where and how they are(2021), to hearing with the ear of the heart(2022) andspeaking to the heart(2023).
[3]Cf.“The Truth Will Make You Free” (Jn 8:32). Fake News and Journalism for Peace, Message for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications.
[4] Message for the 57th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2024, 8.


SSVP man Richard honoured by Pope Francis

Congratulations to Richard Steinbach who has been honoured with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.

The award is given to those who have shown distinguished service to the Church and the papacy and is the highest medal that the Pope can award to a layperson.

Elaine and Richard at St Michael's in Linlithgow, where Archbishop Cushley presented the award at the annual Archdiocesan SSVP Mass on Saturday.
Richard, a parishioner at Ss John and Columba in Rosyth was recognised for his dedication to the Church and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) which he joined in 1998, later becoming diocesan president and national vice president.

His work within the SSVP has been devoted to the good causes of assisting the vulnerable and needy, visiting sick and housebound, providing transport to Mass for limited mobility parishioners.

His care and compassion for others was expressed in many ways, including his active support for the SSVP Fife Furniture Project, and the Missionaries of Charity Project.

Richard and Elaine with their family, along with Archbishop Cushley, Canon Paul Kelly (right) and Deacon Douglas Robertson.

In the days leading up to Christmas, Richard would be delivering bags of groceries and gifts to those in need. He enthusiastically encouraged SSVP Youth activities, visiting schools and arranging visits for the SSVP Youth Development Co-ordinator.

No tribute to Richard would be complete without mentioning his wife, Elaine. Many SSVP members rely on the active support of their spouses and Elaine, herself an SSVP member, has always been available to assist him.

Over the years, Richard has quietly encouraged others to participate more fully in the life of the parish.  On the social side, he is an active supporter and worker for the family fun days and social events organised for the benefit of his parish.

He has fulfilled the role of Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for many years, choir member and is currently one of the Lectors of the parish.

Richard has exercised his pastoral roles throughout these years with such modesty that the extent of his commitment and involvement within the parish would not be known by many parishioners.

Archbishop Cushley meets Pope Francis in Rome

Pope Francis welcomed Archbishop Cushley and Fr Mark Cassidy, rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, to the Vatican last week.

Archbishop Cushley said: “It was a privilege to join Fr Mark for this informal meeting. When I met the Holy Father in February the first thing he asked me was ‘How is the college doing these days?’ So we were pleased to bring him up to date with recent developments.”

During his visit, Archbishop Cushley celebrated Mass with seminarians in the Chapel of the Partorienti in the Grottoes of St Peter’s inside the Vatican. The Mass has become the traditional way of marking the opening of the Academic Year.

A new location for the Scots College in Rome is being sought. Seminarians are currently residing at the Beda College in the city centre.

GALLERY: World Youth Day 2023

World Youth Day 2023 ended yesterday (Sunday) in Lisbon with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis -  attended by a staggering 1.5 million people.

Archbishop Cushley attended the five-day event along with fellow bishops, clergy and young people from across Scotland.

John Patrick Mallon, who covered the event with Sancta Familia Media, said: "1.5 Million young people - the largest gathered crowd in Portuguese history - joined Pope Francis for the final Mass of World Youth Day Lisbon 2023. The legacy of this great event will live on with all who were there."

It was announced that Seoul, South Korea, will be the next venue for the next event in 2027.


All pics Sancta Familia, unless otherwise stated. More pics and coverage at Sancta Familia Media. Follow them on TikTok

Archbishop Cushley with pilgrims from St Albert's Chaplaincy, Edinburgh, in Lisbon (Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh).

Fratelli Tutti

Explore the key messages of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti and how it can inform your life at Sacred Heart Parish, 28 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DJ on Wednesday 7 June from 7-9pm.

Speakers are Sr Isabel Smyth, Imam Hassan Rabbani and Fr David Stewart SJ. This is a free event and no registration is required.

Organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue.

Scotland’s Bishops congratulate Pope Francis

Scotland’s Catholic bishops have sent their congratulations to Pope Francis on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his election.

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said: “We commemorate the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis and give thanks to God for the gift of his ministry.

"We are thankful to him for inviting the Church 'to embark on a new chapter of evangelism', for reminding us of the need for mercy and for urging us to care for our common home through the safe stewardship of our environment.

The Scottish Bishops are currently meeting at the Schoenstatt Retreat Centre outside Glasgow.

On Monday they were joined by Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian  Greek Catholic Church, Bishop Paul Mason, Bishop of the Forces and Mar Joseph Srampickal Bishop for the Syro-Malabar faithful.

Bishop Gilbert added: "Together with them we offered Mass for our Holy Father and his intentions. On behalf of Scotland’s Catholic community we offer the Holy Father our warmest congratulations and the promise of our prayers.”

Article from Scottish Catholic Media Office. Image @SCMO14

World Day for the Poor

On Sunday the Catholic Church throughout the world marks the sixth World Day of the Poor. This annual commemoration was instituted by Pope Francis and is intended to act as reminder to all Catholics of their duty to care for those less fortunate than themselves.

This is an abridged version of the Holy Father’s Message that appeared in The Flourish, the Official Journal of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

Letter of Pope Francis for World Day of the Poor

Several months ago, the world was emerging from the tempest of the pandemic, showing signs of an economic recovery that could benefit millions of people reduced to poverty by the loss of their jobs.

A patch of blue sky was opening that, without detracting from our sorrow at the loss of our dear ones, promised to bring us back to direct interpersonal relations and to socialising with one another once more without further prohibitions or restrictions.

Now, however, a new catastrophe has appeared on the horizon, destined to impose on our world a very different scenario.

The war in Ukraine has now been added to the regional wars that for years have taken a heavy toll of death and destruction.


Yet here the situation is even more complex due to the direct intervention of a “superpower” aimed at imposing its own will in
violation of the principle of the self determination of peoples.

In this situation of great conflict, we are celebrating the Sixth World Day of the Poor. During his visit to Jerusalem, Paul met with Peter, James and John, who had urged him not to forget the poor.The community of Jerusalem was experiencing great hardship due to a food shortage in the country.

The Apostle immediately set about organizing a great collection to aid the poverty-stricken. The Christians of Corinth were very understanding and supportive. At Paul’s request, on every first day of the week they collected what they were able to save and all proved very generous.

From that time on, every Sunday, during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, we have done the same thing, pooling our offerings so that
the community can provide for the needs of the poor.

It is something that Christians have always done with joy and a sense of responsibility, to ensure that none of our brothers or sisters will lack the necessities of life.

Faith into Practice

Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice
through a direct involvement, one that cannot be delegated.

At times, however, a kind of laxity can creep in and lead to inconsistent behaviour, including indifference about the poor. It also happens that
some Christians, out of excessive attachment to money, remain mired in a poor use of their goods and wealth.

These situations reveal a weak faith and feeble, short-sighted hope. We know that the issue is not money itself, for money is part of our
daily life as individuals and our relationships in society.

Rather, what we need to consider is the value that we put on money: it cannot become our absolute and chief purpose in life.

Attachment to money prevents us from seeing everyday life with realism; it clouds our gaze and blinds us to the needs of others. Nothing worse could happen to a Christian and to a community than to be dazzled by the idol of wealth, which ends up chaining us to an ephemeral and bankrupt vision of life.

Social Justice

None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice. When the only law is the bottom line of profit at the end of the day, nothing holds us back from seeing others simply as objects to be exploited; other people are merely a means to an end.

There no longer exist such things as a just salary or just working hours, and new forms of slavery emerge and entrap persons who lack alternatives and are forced to accept this toxic injustice simply to eke out a living.

We can easily discern the lack of satisfaction that many people feel because they sense that something important is missing from their lives, with the result that they wander off aimlessly in search of it.

In their desire to find something that can bring them satisfaction, they need someone to guide them towards the insignificant, the vulnerable and the poor, so that they can finally see what they themselves lack.

True love

Encountering the poor enables us to put an end to many of our anxieties and empty fears, and to arrive at what truly matters in life, the treasure that no one can steal from us: true and gratuitous love. The poor, before being the object of our almsgiving, are people, who can help set us free from the snares of anxiety and superficiality.

On 15 May last, I canonized Brother Charles de Foucauld, a man born rich, who gave up everything to follow Jesus … We would do well to meditate on these words of his: “Let us not despise the poor, the little ones, the workers; not only are they our brothers and sisters in God, they are also those who most perfectly imitate Jesus in his outward life.

They perfectly represent Jesus, the Worker of Nazareth. They are the firstborn among the elect, the first to be called to the Saviour’s crib. They were the regular company of Jesus, from his birth until his death…”

May this 2022 World Day of the Poor enable us to make a personal and communal examination of conscience and to ask ourselves whether the poverty of Jesus Christ is our faithful companion in life.


WATCH: Explore Pope Francis' encyclical 'The Joy of Love'

Father Nick Welsh and Sister Anna Marie have begun a three week tour of Pope Francis' encyclical Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"). Watch the first two sessions on YouTube or below.

The final lunchtime talk is at 1:30pm on Monday 24 January on Zoom. Register now at

The talks coincide with the “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year 2021-2022. Amoris Laetitia is an apostolic exhortation written by the Holy Father about Love in the family. Read it here.

Holy Father introduces limits on celebration of Tridentine Mass

After consulting the bishops throughout the world, Pope Francis has decided to modify the norms regulating the use of the 1962 missal granted 14 years ago by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as the “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite”, writes the Vatican News.

The Pope has published the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes, dated 16 July 2021, regarding the use of the Roman liturgy prior to 1970.

It is accompanied by a letter in which he explains the reasons behind his decision. Here are the main points.

In the letter accompanying the document, Pope Francis explains that the established concessions granted by his predecessors for the use of the 1692 Roman Missal were above all “motivated by the desire to foster the healing of the schism with the movement of Mons. Lefebvre”.

The request directed to the Bishops to generously welcome the “just aspirations” of the members of the faithful who request the use of this Missal was also motivated by “the ecclesial intention of restoring the unity of the Church”.

Pope Francis observes that, “many in the Church came to regard this faculty as an opportunity to adopt freely the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and use it in a manner parallel to the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Paul VI”.

The Pope recalls that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision promulgated with the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007) was sustained by the “confidence that such a provision would not place in doubt one of the key measures of Vatican Council II or minimize in this way its authority”.

Fourteen years ago, Pope Benedict declared “unfounded the fear of division in parish communities, because ‘the two forms of the use of the Roman Rite would enrich one another’”.

However, the responses to the recent questionnaire circulated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith among the Bishops, Pope Francis writes, “reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene”.

Benedict’s desire to ensure unity, Pope Francis says, has “often been seriously disregarded”, and the concessions offered with largesse have instead been “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division”.

The Pope said he is “saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides”.

In addition, he deplores the fact that the “instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church’ ”.

To doubt the Council, Pope Francis explains, “is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council, and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church”.

This is the final reason Pope Francis gives for his decision to modify the past concessions:

“Ever more plain in the words and attitudes of many is the close connection between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican Council II and the rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the “true Church.” One is dealing here with comportment that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency — ‘I belong to Paul; I belong instead to Apollo; I belong to Cephas; I belong to Christ’ — against which the Apostle Paul so vigorously reacted (1 Cor 1:12-13). In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors”.

NB This decree of the Holy Father does not affect the celebration of the post-Vatican II Mass of St Paul VI in Latin or the use of the Latin language in liturgical music in a Mass celebrated in English.

To read the unabridged Vatican News article, please click here.

LIVE: a special blessing from Pope Francis at 5pm

Pope Francis will pray before an empty square at St Peter's Basilica today to give a special blessing in response to the coranvirus outbreak.

It takes place today at 5pm (6pm Rome) and those who participate by watching or listening live will receive a plenary indulgence.

Watch it online at the Vatican's YouTube channel:

The #PrayTogether initiative will include the Word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and an Urbi et Orbi blessing. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

Pope Francis said: "We will listen to the Word of God, we will raise our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, at the end I will impart the Urbi et orbi Blessing, and you will have the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence.

"We want to respond to the virus pandemic with the universality of prayer."

The Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary. To find out more about a plenary indulgence, click here.