God willing, Father Edward Inyanwachi will soon again celebrate Mass for the members of his rural southeastern Nigerian parish. Until then he’s trying to keep them from starving.
The pastor of St Patrick Parish and two mission churches in the Diocese of Abakaliki in Nigeria’s impoverished Ebonyi State.
Over the last two months, he has travelled in a truck over dirt roads outside the village to buy food staples that are out of reach — physically and financially — for some parish families amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The cost of food items, especially the staple foods, is rising each day,” he shared in an April 24 email to longtime Holy Name of Jesus parishioner Angela Testani from the village of Uburu-Amachi.
Father Inyanwachi and Testani, a retired San Francisco nurse, met at the parish when the priest visited during his studies at the University of San Francisco. In 2016 they co-founded Mother of Mercy Charitable Foundation out of a mutual desire to improve the lives of the rural poor in Ebonyi, the third-poorest State in Nigeria.