"Urbi et Orbi" means "To the City [of Rome] and to the World." It is a special apostolic blessing given by the pope from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica every year on Easter Sunday, Christmas, and other special occasions.
Pope Francis said the March 27 prayer broadcast for those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic will include listening to the Word of God and Eucharistic Adoration.
More than 300,000 people have contracted COVID-19 as of March 22, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The respiratory disease, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to 157 countries, and has led to the deaths of 13,672 people worldwide.
"We want to respond to the pandemic of the virus with the universality of prayer, compassion, tenderness. Let us stay united," Pope Francis said.
"All those who spiritually join this moment of prayer through the media will be granted the plenary indulgence according to the conditions provided for in the recent decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary," Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told journalists following the pope's announcement.
The Vatican's Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a plenary indulgence for people who pray for an end to the pandemic, healing for the sick, and the eternal repose of the dead. Plenary indulgences, which remit all temporal punishment due to sin, must be accompanied by full detachment from sin.