One of the beautiful aspects of the Company of Jesus is that you can be and do a thousand different things and also be a Jesuit. This being said, I doubt that St. Ignatius of Loyola could ever have imagined the day when one of his men would be singing lead vocals with a rock band in that perennial Latin American elegy to Che Guevara, "Hasta Siempre Comandante", much less in his own parish (see video below; Chiqui is in blue jeans, a dark sweater and glasses).
We are continuing our series on José Ignacio Mantecón Sancho, SJ (Padre Chiqui) with an article from Diario La Primera (4/19/2008), El rock y la religión van de la mano, that looks at the padre as a rockero.
He was born in Spain, but claims to be just another Agustino. José Ignacio Mantecón, better known in the religious sphere (and rock) as Padre Chiqui is a fan of '70s rock and although he didn't attend the concert offered by the new The Doors in our country, he enjoys the melodious voice of Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix' solos and the depressive lyrics of Janis Joplin.
"I am a child of God and 70s rock, I love rock, but above all music, especially anything that teaches you, that's why I organized Agustirock and that's how my relationship with young people was born and is best integrated," says the priest who came to Peru 30 years ago as a guest to collaborate with the campaigns of Fe y Alegría.
"I am just another Peruvian, I became nationalized in 1990, but I wanted to come to Latin America and thank God I came to Peru and after such a long visit I said to myself: 'Why not stay?'," he said.
The parish and the guitars
Padre Chiqui loves the electric guitar, Che, and God, without a doubt, and, in that sense, the community of Virgen de Nazaret parish, where he officiates as a priest, supports him in every way. "If you like rock music and want to play with your neighbors, it's good. That happened with the community. Thanks to music and other things we have been able to help many young people to reintegrate into society," he said.
But his hobby is not limited to personal enjoyment. The priest has launched into singing on the latest album of the band Tabarra, a group that was born in El Agustino, where he takes over the vocals on the song "Radio el Arenal."
Chiqui also talked to us about his experience with Asociación Martin Luther King, the youth association he helped to form. "Although it may not be apparent, El Agustino is one of the districts that has fewer gang problems", he added.