Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Off to Brussels!

European Parliament
The interns are off to Brussels tomorrow to learn about the EU parliament, COMECE and see where our fellow Brussels intern has been living.

On Wednesday (22 June) we'll meet Michael Kuhn,Deputy General Secretary, Advisor for Education and Culture at COMECE along with Johanna Touzel, Press Officer for an introduction to the programme, religious organisations in Brussels and how COMECE interfaces with the EU.

After lunch at the COMECE Secretariat we grab a coffee with Wendelin Gravenreuth, Project Manager, Confederation of European Forest Owners. Then we meet Tim Foley (2md Secretary, Press and Information)

Then it's off to European Parliament where we're meeting a former intern - Rhiannon Price, who is currently working for Kay Swinburn MEP. 

Afterwards we'll meet with  Jacek Sariusz-Wolski, EPP followed by a tour of Parliament with a visit to a mini Plenary session.

To give us a flavour of a typical EU parliamentary meeting we'll attend a hearing "Connecting Europe's transport and energy infrastructures". 

Lastly we'll meet Andrew Hollingsworth, Public Affairs Manager, Novartis.

On Thursday we're off to meet Fr Frank Turner, at the Jesuit European Office followed by Iris Reinmidl, World Youth Alliance (WYA).

In the afternoon we'll off to the European Commission to discuss Dialogue with Religions, Churches and Communities of conviction, with Mr Jorge César das Neves, Adviser, Bureau of European Political Advisers (BEPA). 

The day ends with the Council of the European Union where we'll meet Mr Guy Milton who is responsible for relations between the Council and the European Parliament.

Mass ends our intern trip to Brussels, and a busy few days!
I've been to Brussels once before - as have the others - but none of us has seen the EU parliament. For the parlimentary interns this should be particularly illuminating - comparing the EU to our own parliament. Having worked so closely to our system I wonder what they will think of the EU? We'll let you know how it goes when we get back next week!

Monday, 6 June 2011

A different point of view - literally!

It was clear that throughout our visit to the Vatican we'd gained a greater understanding the way things work. But, while we'd changed our point of view on a lot of old myths surrounding the Church's home in Rome we also had a different point of view more literally!

Take a look a the stunning view from the Secretariat of State - impressive, no?

Media Intern

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A sneak peek at News.va website!

We were extremely lucky during our Rome trip as we were given a sneak peek of the news.va website - the new Vatican website that's to be launched this June (2011).

Here's a rather cloak and dagger style film preview of the new website!

Video: Fr Lombardi chats to the Interns

During our trip to Rome we were lucky enough to meet with Fr Lombardi, who deals with all the press at the Vatican. We spoke about the importance of diocesan meeting, the recent bloggers meeting (2 May), what our role is in spreading the good news and how we can react responsibly when it comes to using social media and blogging. Fr Lombardi allowed us to video some of his answers which you can watch below.

Jo-Anne Rowney
Media Intern

Interns visit Roma! Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Chris, Brussels Intern, shares our experience at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

On a hot early summer afternoon the interns were saluted by the Swiss Guards as we made our way into the Vatican. With Mr Edward Davies of Eccleston Square as our escort, we were taken through the immaculately kept gardens, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences where Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo was awaiting us. He gave us an introduction to the operations of the Academy of Sciences, which had been founded by Pius XI, with the aim of promoting the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of epistemological problems. The Academy itself comprises of eighty women and men from all over the globe who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of scientific endeavour. To obtain a seat in the Academy they are nominated by the Pope after being elected by the body of the Academicians.
Steven Hawkins is one of the members of the Academy

 We were made aware of one of the most recent works of the Academy vis-à-vis the fate of mountain glaciers in the anthropocene, a report which draws on various research sources to inform all people on the potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The report concluded that by acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we can accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life (to access the report click

We met Archbishop Sanchez who explained what the Academy does

During the remainder of the tour we were given a very thorough explanation of the actual building in which it is housed- the Casina Pio IV, which was built in 1561 to serve as a summer residence for Pope Pius IV. The stunning Casina is a well-preserved building, covered in sixteenth century frescoes, stucco reliefs, mosaics and fountains.