Parish priest, Father Denis Blackledge,78, will be hosting a 24-hour fast in his parish St Francis Xavier in Liverpool, from midday on Thursday 3rd June.
Father Denis’s fast takes place ahead of the G7 summit (11th-13th) June in Cornwall, where leaders of the world’s seven richest countries will come together to discuss the problems facing the world such as economic issues, health emergencies and the climate crisis.
In an act of solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable communities Father Denis wants to raise awareness of the reality for communities in the global south facing the climate crisis, as well as a challenging recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.
Expressing how important it was for him to take a stand ahead of the G7 Summit next month- on behalf of international neighbours who are most at risk because of climate change, Fr Denis says that he knew he needed to do something:
“The UK is hosting the G7 this summer and it is especially important because the leaders will be discussing how the world can rebuild and recover from the pandemic. The eyes of the world are on the UK to show leadership when it comes to putting the world’s poorest people at the heart of their discussions.”
“The only thing I can do at my age and in my condition, is to do a simple little thing like fasting for 24 hours which is nothing compared to what many of our sisters and brothers are going through right now.
“I was deeply saddened that the UK recently cut its international aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5%, a reduction of around £4billion, just when the pandemic has highlighted the gaping inequalities and needs of communities to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
“We can’t turn our back on the world.”
A long-term supporter of overseas development charity CAFOD, Fr Denis will also be taking part in the charity’s national campaign Parliament in your Parish- which encourages parishioners to set up digital meetings with their MPs to discuss the climate crisis, and it’s dire effects. He says that he will be inviting his MP to talk about these issues.
CAFOD’s representative for Liverpool, Colette Byrne, concludes:
“It’s so inspiring that Fr Denis is going that extra mile by fasting. His fast is a great act of solidarity. As well as getting involved in CAFOD’s Parliament in your Parish campaign.
“Sharing our concerns with the public and the people in power is vital, that’s why CAFOD is asking people to speak with their MPs ahead of the G7 in June and the COP26 conference in November-the UK must show leadership in tackling the climate crisis and debt cancellation for African countries.”