Thursday, 28 October 2010

Open House - Serving the Homeless

Andrew reports on his evening at St Anne's Church, Soho

Today after work I popped along to St Anne's Church in Soho to do a spot of volunteering. Having connections with the church, students from Newman House can go every week and help out. I really enjoyed it, even after a day in Parliament. It definitely pops the Westminster bubble and bring you back down to earth.

From 5.30-6pm I helped set up tables and chairs with cutlery and condiments. Our customers queue from 5pm (or earlier) for the food, drink and hospitality on offer. After some prayers, food is served. It's good grub, cooked by some amazing chefs in advance, and much better than my solo gastronomic efforts!

My job as a first-timer during the meal-time was to serve milk to those drinking tea and coffee, not all too easy as demand was high this late October evening.

I was really impressed by the volunteers who turn up every week to make the operation happen - it's quite a sight to see so many people fed in a fairly short turn around period of under 90minutes (although a lot of preparation time is needed).

I'm definitely planning to make it a regular part of my time during my internship to go work at Open House. It's enjoyable volunteering with others from NH and others in the community. I just hope I have the stamina to keep it up with my other internship commitments - Heythrop, Cardinal Hume Centre, Newman House... oh and Parliament!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Catholic Parliamentary Interns 2010-2011

Andrew Duncan

I'm very much looking forward to the CPI. After the election it's an interesting time to be working in Westminster in a period of transition. I'm keen to see the process of law-making in action and learn how politicians work together, elements perhaps not always picked up in the press. To continue living in a student environment at Newman House and study at Heythrop College is very much welcomed too, this perhaps will release me gently into the "real world"!

Chris Morillon

Having known past interns, to various degrees, I witnessed first hand how the experience of the CPI helped them to develop themselves spiritually, personally and professionally. As a fresh-graduate everyone is on the look out for as inspiring a position to kick-start their post-uni career as possible; after much research into various graduate schemes, I believe this is the best one out there (and I'm not just saying that!). This year I'll be working in the European Parliament in Brussels with a French MEP; I'm expecting to learn more about economics and I look forward to gaining familiarity with how it is applied in practice, particularly to help the disadvantaged. Time to get stuck in!

Daniel Howard

I’m very excited to be on the CPI scheme this year. Having previously studied Politics and International Relations at University, it is a great honour and privilege to immerse oneself in the mother of all Parliaments, working for a Conservative MP after 13 years on the opposition benches shall surely prove a unique and exciting experience.
The CPI scheme incorporates so many elements of both public and religious life, and studying at Heythrop College will surely add to this education. In addition, I am eagerly anticipating life in Newman House; living in London for the first time, in a friendly and communal environment will not only help the transition from university to work, but also help foster a strong friendship between all of this year’s interns.
I am greatly looking forward to playing my part in helping my MP in her duty of public service, whilst applying Catholic principles to the everyday business of government.

Jo-Anne Rowney

I'm very excited to finally be started the internship, especially since I'll be based at Archbishop's House, working with the Public Affairs Office. I recently graduated from the University of Hertfordshire, after reading English Literature, Journalism and New Media Publishing for the past three years - so it'll be great to put my training into practice! I start work just before the Papal Visit so I plan to fully immerse myself in the excitement and media bubble. With working in the PA Office, studying at Heythrop and living at Newman House I'm sure we'll all be very busy!

Naomi Brandon

I'm incredibly excited about working as a Catholic Parliamentary Intern for the Catholic Education Service. I was absolutely thrilled to be selected and I can't wait to start. I think the multidimensional quality of this internship, combining the political work placement, spirituality and academic study, makes this internship really special and unique. I have just graduated from Manchester University having studied Politics and International Relations, so I am looking forward to putting my politics and my faith into action and to getting a grip on the complex and fascinating policy area of Catholic education. This year is going to be busy, challenging and lots of fun and I can't wait for it to begin!

Nick Keilty

I've been excited about coming London to start the Catholic Parliamentary Internship, so now it's actually happened I can't quite believe it! I'm working in Parliament for Simon Hughes MP, who is currently deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons. The first few weeks have been really intense with the coalition government's comprehensive spending review providing all of us who are working in Portcullis House with a varied but very busy time!
I'm looking forward to incorporating elements of my faith such as Catholic social teaching and spirituality into my everyday work and then taking a retrospective look at how this affects my decision making. This will hopefully be propagated by living in community at Newman House and by the education we are receiving via our MA in Contemporary Ethics at Heythrop College.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Tablet Lecture 2010

Now well into our respective internships, on Thursday we met on a nippy October evening to hear Francis Campbell speak about his time as Ambassador to the Holy See in the Vatican.

While doing the best we could to bring the average age of the audience down, we listened with great interest to the outgoing ambassador's personal take on the Holy See and its external operations, relations with the UK - and what lies ahead for British-Vatican ties after a successful Papal visit in September.

Of particular interest was how small the Vatican press office is, and yet conducts clear and strong communications with over a billion Catholics and heads of state across the world.

Campbell contrasted the Holy See's operations with conventional foreign offices, and conveyed how decentralised many decisions were, instead of power being wielded at the centre and delegated outwards to the periphery.

To the dismay of some (particularly journalists in the audience) Campbell's talk did not linger near controversial topics or reveal more sensitive ambassadorial work. However, this kind of diplomacy has contributed greatly to Britain's excellent relations with the Holy See.

Campbell leaves big shoes to fill, whoever his successor may be.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Catholic Parliamentary Interns 2010-2011

We have been in London for almost a month now. We love living in Newman House. We have all started our jobs in Parliament, the Archbishop of Westminster's Public Affairs Office and the Catholic Education Service. We have also started our ethics lectures at Heythrop College which have been intellectually challenging. Our spiritual direction with Father James Hanvey has commenced and our mentoring training session with the Cardinal Hume Centre has taken place. The first month has gone so quickly but there is still lots to look forward to.

Danny, Nick and Andrew outside the Palace of Westminster

Profiles and pictures coming soon - watch this spot!