WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholics are urged to join in prayer and fasting Oct. 16-24 for the conversion of people and nations, peace in the world, a renewed culture of life in the United States and spiritual blessing on the Synod of Bishops on the family.

The 23rd International Week of Prayer and Fasting will conclude its nine-day campaign with a eucharistic prayer vigil Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington for a day of prayer, speakers, opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation and Mass.


Maureen Flynn, chairperson of the International Prayer and Fasting Coalition, said one of the lasting effects of the campaign, which involves thousands of Catholics across the country, is that many parishes that participate in eucharistic adoration or recitation of the rosary often continue to do so after the nine days are over.

The coalition’s website, http://iwopf.org, has link to sign up to participate and provides information about the prayer and fasting campaign, suggests prayers and includes a variety of other resources.

Flynn, a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Herndon, Virginia, said there is a particular urgency for this year’s campaign with the recent exodus of refugees from Syria, terrorism threats around the world, ongoing abortions and the release of a series videos taped undercover showing top Planned Parenthood officials and others discussing the transfer of body parts from aborted babies for research.

She told Catholic News Service that prayer and fasting campaigns use “our most effective weapons” and they will continue to take place each year until a culture of life returns to the United States. She also is optimistic that young people will see that change, noting: “The tide is beginning to turn.”