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Large prayer and fasting event in Washington, D.C., kicks off national campaign

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International Week of Prayer and Fasting plans its 27th campaign.

In a promotional video from five years ago, the International Week of Prayer and Fasting said that of the 78.2 million Catholics in the United States, 24% practice their faith.

“How do we awaken the other 76% of our brothers and sisters?” the video asked.

The promotional video went on to explain the essential role of prayer and fasting in the project of New Evangelization and in restoring Christian values to a society that is continuing to tolerate abortion and flirting with things like same-sex marriage and assisted suicide.

In many ways, things have only gotten worse over the past five years. Same-sex marriage is now legal, and there are increasing efforts to mainstream gender ideology. And the Pew Research Center reported this week that the percentage of American adults who describe themselves as Christian is down 12 points over the past decade. The religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

That might be bad news for the Church, but it’s only more reason than ever for the folks at the International Week of Prayer and Fasting to redouble their efforts. The IWOPF, which calls itself a “grassroots movement of Catholics and Christians from around the world participating in a global network of prayer and fasting,” will conduct its 27th annual campaign next week.

“From November 2nd to November 10th, 2019, we gather to pray for an end to the ‘culture of death,’ and for a newfound appreciation for basic human rights, particularly in the United States of America,” IWOPF said. “By invoking the help of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and by praying the Rosary, we play a crucial role in the conversion of nations and changing the course of world events.”

The week gets underway on Saturday, November 2, All Souls Day, with an all-day program beginning at 9 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In addition to a Mass at noon, the day includes presentations by Abby Johnson, the subject of this year’s feature film Unplanned; Msgr. Charles Pope, a pastor, writer and speaker; Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga, founder of the Center for the Secret of Peace in Rwanda; Fr. Chris Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

Those unable to make it to the Washington event can participate by making a “Prayer Pledge” at the WPOF’s website.

Said Maureen Flynn, chairwoman of the International Prayer and Fasting Coalition, “The current grave crisis in the Church and the world can only be fully remedied by Heaven’s spiritual weapons of the Holy Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, the Holy Rosary and Fasting. Our Lord, His Blessed Mother and the saints have told us that these spiritual weapons will destroy evil.”

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