The 24th International Week of Prayer and Fasting to pray and fast for life begins
“Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.”
— Words from our Lord to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 2016 – Today the world faces unprecedented global financial crises, record-breaking natural disasters, global terrorism and the greatest exodus of refugees to Europe since World War II. Our world is also under great threats from countries like Iran, North Korea and China. With the closing of Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy, and to help combat these grave threats, a grassroots coalition of Catholic organizations worldwide is mobilizing for the 24th International Week of Prayer and Fasting (IWOPF), from Oct. 2 – 10, 2016. This year the Coalition is joining together with the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy and Priests for Life and other groups.
They are uniting to pray and fast for the following goals:
Conversion of peoples and nations
To build a culture of life
To defend the sanctity of marriage and family life
For peace and to implore God’s mercy
For the final (ninth) day, on Monday, Oct. 10, people are asked to come to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET for the International Day of Prayer. Registration is FREE, but please register online at www.iwopf.org.
There will be dynamic speakers and The Global Living Rosary prayed by the Asian, African and Hispanic communities, and members of the Children’s Rosary. Before the noon Mass there will be the Procession of the Nations. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be recited, and confessions will be held throughout the day. Citizens around the globe are also urged to participate as individuals, families and parishes by attending daily Masses and holy hours, going to confession, praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and fasting.
Speakers at the Basilica include Father Stephen Imbarrato, director of Project Defending Life, which now has many pro-life ministries and activities under its direction, including the Holy Innocents Chapel located directly across from a Planned Parenthood facility; Congressman Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.), 18th Term, U.S. House of Representatives, serving residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey, and chairman of a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the pro-life caucus; and Lila Rose, foundress of Live Action, a youth-led organization to protect the rights of the pre-born.
The celebrant and Homilist for the noon Mass will be Father Chris M. Alar, MIC, from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, Director of the Association of Marian Helpers and world-renowned expert in the message of the Divine Mercy.
In 2014, the International Week of Prayer and Fasting movement received an apostolic blessing from Pope Francis. In 2015, the Holy Father’s call for a Jubilee Year of Mercy was truly extraordinary. Pope Francis proclaimed the Year of Mercy because, he said, “It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
Pope Francis also said, “Preaching Mercy is not the same as ignoring sin or withholding correction. Instead, mercy invites repentance and conversion, and ensures the sinner that once God forgives a sin, He forgets it.”
The movement also received two apostolic blessings from Pope Saint John Paul II and a heartfelt blessing from Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who said, “You must do this week – God wants this. Prayer is the answer to the world’s problems.”
Coalition chairperson Maureen Flynn says, “Peace will not come to the world from the meetings of those whom we call the great leaders of the earth, nor from their agreements. Peace can only come to us from the return of humanity to God through means of conversion, to which we are being called this day by means of prayer, fasting, and penance. Prayer and fasting can stop wars and will obtain for our nation and our world great graces from God.”