Friday, April 13, 2007

Faith & Politics: Catholic Parliamentary Interns

Since 2004, Newman House has been a partner in the Catholic Parliamentary Internship scheme. Three interns spend a year working with a Christian MP, undertake a course of studies at Heythrop College. They make visits to the constituencies, to various government and EU departments and agencies, and usually pay a visit to the Vatican. Another part of their package is that they live as part of the student community at Newman House. There are two further interns who are based in Brussels.

The London interns for 2007-8 will be John Shinkwin, William Blair and Dominic Berner. We asked them to share their thoughts on being awarded their places on the scheme.

Dom Berner: “It is a very exciting prospect spending 10 months in such an eclectic and communal environment! At the same time, I am anticipating a significant challenge in helping my MP, which I’m sure, will be stimulating. I hope to learn a great deal from those I will be living with and those I will be working with in Westminster. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity, which, I’m sure will be a healthy mix of politics, spirituality and friendship!”

Will Blair: “I've always had a great interest in politics, and when I heard about the CPI scheme it sounded absolutely perfect for me - not just because of the close involvement in British Parliamentary politics (which sounds amazing!) but also the spiritual context of the programme which, I hope, will provide me with a greater means of understanding and discovering what I want to do with my life in the future - not an easy question! After 3 years at Oxford I feel I've still got a fair way to go in answering it, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have something as exciting as this scheme lined up for me in September.”

John Shinkwin: “Working in Parliament, studying ethics at Heythrop and living at Newman House seem to form a rather splendid combination. I am very excited about working for an MP, and look forward to the energetic life of the Westminster jungle, mixed with study of the theoretical basis of social action. I'm also looking forward to living and working alongside Will and Dom, and am glad that we three interns will be rooted in such an obviously vibrant community of fellow Catholics.”

The scheme is run by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for Catholic graduates, and you can find out more information about it here:

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