This was the message that Fr Ignacio Blasco SJ, or Fr Nacho as he likes to be known, gave to some 50 year 9 pupils from St Thomas More School, Buxton who were on retreat at The Briars Youth Centre in Crich. Fr Nacho also spoke to a group of 30 or so adults from across the diocese at Our Lady’s Church Hall, Bulwell.
Fr Nacho, a CAFOD partner, was visiting the UK as part of Hungry for Change, a campaign 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 every day choices.
Fr Nacho described life in his parish of Santa Maria Chimuimula in the highlands of Guatemala, 2200 metres above sea level. His parishioners are mainly indigenous Mayan K’iche people. The parish comprises 37 communities, spread across the mountains, each of which Fr Nacho and his two fellow priests visit at least once a month. Many families in the parish are living in extreme poverty with child malnutrition, gender discrimination, deforestation and unpredictable rainfall being some of the main problems to be faced. The parish, supported in part by CAFOD, runs four programmes – pastoral care, education, health care and agriculture – which promote concern for the environment and healthy food.