WASHINGTON – 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 approach of Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy and to help combat these grave threats, a grassroots coalition of Catholic organizations worldwide are mobilizing for the 23rd International Week of Prayer and Fasting (IWOPF), from October 16 – 24, 2015. This year the coalition is joining together with the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, a fraternal community of consecrated life in the Roman Catholic Church. They are uniting to pray and fast for the following goals:
- Conversion of Peoples and Nations
- To Build a Culture of Life
- To Pray for Peace and Implore God’s Mercy
- To Pray for God’s Holy Will to Prevail at the World Synod of Bishops on the Family
For the final (ninth day) on Saturday, October 24, 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 to receive a free prayer card at the Basilica event. This day is part of the 23rd International Week of Prayer and Fasting October 16 – 24, 2015.
There will be dynamic speakers and The Global Living Rosary prayed by the Asian, African and Latino 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 Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, a world-renowned expert in the message of The Divine Mercy; Pat Polachek, foundress of the Family Eucharistic Holy Hour and president and co-founder of Jesus – The Divine Mercy Foundation; and Tony Mullen, national coordinator of the Flame of Love Movement of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and Lila Rose (invited), foundress of Live Action, a youth-led organization that seeks to protect the rights of the pre-born. The celebrant and homilist for the noon Mass will be Bishop Martin D. Holley, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Last year the International Week of Prayer and Fasting movement received an apostolic blessing from Pope Francis. This year the Holy Father’s call for a Jubilee Year of Mercy is 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 Blessed Mother Teresa, 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 graces from God.
“Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” — words from our Lord to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
For more information on how to participate during these nine days or to attend the FREE event at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, please visit www.iwopf.org.
To schedule an interview with Maureen Flynn, chairperson of the International Prayer and Fasting Coalition: