Faced with the barbarity of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many Christians are left wondering, “What can we do to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their beliefs?” The International Prayer and Fasting Coalition is urging people of all faiths to a worldwide prayer and fasting campaign for peace Sept. 20-28.
The campaign, comprised of a coalition of Catholic and Christian organizations, will kick-off with an international event on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Guest speakers for the kick-off event include Dr. Scott Hahn; Johnnette Benkovic, founder and president of Women of Grace and Living His Life Abundantly; and Fr. Dermot Roache, missionary in the Society of African Missions and author of the prayer Consecration of the Family to the Divine Mercy.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the head of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, will be the main celebrant and homilist at the noon Mass. In past years, the global prayer movement has received two apostolic blessings from Pope Saint John Paul II and a heartfelt blessing from Blessed Mother Teresa, who said, “You must do this week – God wants this. Prayer is the answer to the world’s problems.”
Citizens around the globe are also urged to participate as individuals, families and parishes by attending daily Masses, services and holy hours, going to confession, praying intentional prayers such as the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and fasting. The goals of the “week” (nine days) are to pray and fast for the conversion of all nations, to build a culture of life and to promote peace in the world.
“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,” said Coalition chairperson Maureen Flynn. “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 graces from God. Remember Lepanto in 1571, when Pope Saint Pius V proclaimed prayer and fasting, especially the Rosary, and the Christian force was greatly outnumbered by the Turks. Despite this, the Christians won the battle, and years later the Feast of the Holy Rosary was proclaimed on October 7, the day of victory. We need a ‘new Lepanto’ in 2014!”
Watch the promotional video for the International Week of Prayer and Fasting:http://vimeo.com/97551806.
For more information or to participate in the free event at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, visit www.iwopf.org.