Apostolic Blessing

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A blessing was usually given at Mass by a bishop, in the Gallican rite after the fraction, but in the Roman rite at the end of the eucharist. When the pope gave this blessing, it was known as an apostolic blessing. The custom developed of its being given solemnly after Mass on certain occasions, e.g., at St. Peter's on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, at St. John Lateran's on Ascension Thursday, at St. Mary Major's on the Assumption. Historically, a plenary indulgence was attached to it. Sometimes it was also given outside Mass, e.g., the papal blessing Urbi et orbi from the balcony of St. Peter's.

[b. forshaw/eds.]