Over the next two days, CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle will host Father Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Blasco, a Spanish Jesuit priest who is in the UK to share his experiences of living and working in a developing country where food is scarce and caring for the environment is paramount for a sustainable future.
Fr Nacho is the parish priest in Santa Maria Chiquimula, Guatemala, where a significant number of indigenous Mayan people live. The parish is part of western Guatemala’s “dry corridor” – an area that experiences annual drought and food shortages. Year on year, the people living there struggle to ensure they have enough healthy food to eat.
Whilst in the UK, he will be speaking to a selection of parishes and schools across the country about the poverty and hunger that face the people in his community as well as the work being done to address these problems. He is helping to promote CAFOD’s Hungry for change campaign, which aims to tackle the hunger that afflicts one in eight of the world’s population. The campaign is currently focusing on the impact of climate change on small-scale farmers struggling to grow food, and the ways in which all human beings can affect the global food system with their everyday choices.
Fr Nacho said: “Some of the most poor and marginalised in Guatemalan society live in my parish. But we have been working with CAFOD on environmental projects to fight deforestation and to encourage young people to understand the importance of their land. They have also helped to promote healthy food campaigns, mobile clinics for mothers and babies as well as food gardens for families to grow nutritious vegetables to eat.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with people in the UK and inviting them to rethink their relationship with the environment and the earth. I hope they feel encouraged to participate in the Hungry for change campaign and to live sustainably in their own communities”.
Since its launch in Autumn 2012, the Hungry for change campaign has been calling for empowering aid for small-scale farmers and action against corporate lobbying, especially checks on the power of global food companies. Through the campaign, CAFOD is encouraging people to make sustainable lifestyle choices and show that they are living in greater solidarity with poor and hungry communities around the world. Examples of choices to help people achieve this goal include eating leftovers, having a “meat-free” day or two each week and choosing Fairtrade products.
Anne Marie Hanlon, CAFOD’s Diocesan Manager for Hexham & Newcastle, said: “We are extremely grateful that people from the local area should have the opportunity to hear from Fr Nacho, whose incredible warmth and eye-opening experiences will I’m sure inspire them to make changes in their own everyday lives.”
Already incredibly warm and friendly, you’ll make a lasting friend of Father Ignacio if you share his love for Barcelona Football Club. Since arriving in the UK, he has already visited London and managed to squeeze an Arsenal match into his busy schedule.
Fr Nacho will speak on:
Monday 4th November – St Patrick’s RC Church, Felling – 7pm
Tuesday 5th November – Northumbria/Newcastle University Chaplaincy