On September 20th at the beautiful Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there will be a "kick-off" event for the International Week of Prayer and Fasting. All Catholics are asked to pray, fast, give, adore, repent, and attend Mass during this week for the conversion and defeat of ISIS. Please join in. The Basilica's website has information as well as the official IWOPF website and this article from Zenit.
I am happy that attention is being brought to the need for prayer in this crisis. I have been dismayed with my home parish for the past month with what seems to me a complete disregard for what is going on. Here are some resources to help you get the most out of this week:
Live the Fast offers fasting kits of fresh, ancient grain breads and support for those who fast and how to fast effectively.
If you do not know when and where confession is offered in your area, consult Mass Times. Remember also, that most priests will allow you to schedule a time for confession if you cannot make it to their normal hours.
If you cannot find a church that offers adoration during the week or are unable to get to church. Savior.org hosts an online perpetual adoration for all.
There are many funds looking for donations for the Iraqi Christians. I am not comfortable giving t most. You are free to give to whomever you want, but please do a bit of research and make sure it is a legitimate fund. Much of the money used for this assault by ISIS was raised through fraudulent charities that were meant to help Iraq's orphans. Knights of Columbus have their own fund and is where I plan to give.
There really isn't much that is funny about this situation, I only find it funny that the Catholic community in America seems so silent. Why aren't we raising our hands and voices, crying for help for these people? Why are parishes not holding prayer vigils and offering extra times for adoration? why do we seem so indifferent? To be clear, this is not an isolated incident, it is an on going genocide and it is not relegated just to Iraq. ISIS and groups like it are targeting and "cleansing" out Christians in many parts of the world. The latest I have heard about is in Africa where a Catholic radio station was shut down and people were driven from their homes. We are not only accountable for what we do but what we fail to do, and that is no laughing matter.
The threat to Christians is real. If you do not know the full scope of what is going on, please read the following articles. It is real, these are real people, these are real mothers losing children and real children being slaughtered. This is real suffering and we are called to ease the suffering of the "least of these." Please pray and fast and cry out to the LORD, but most importantly share these concerns and prayer requests with all you know. We must not be silent any longer.