Catholic interns ready to launch

The interns pictured with their chaplain  Frank Turner SJ
The interns pictured with their chaplain Frank Turner SJ

The Catholic Parliamentary and Public Affairs internship scheme has got underway for its fourteenth year.  Nine interns had a week of formation led by Fr Frank Turner SJ and Fr Paul Nicholson SJ at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales. 

The scheme, which is run by the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales, provides recently graduated Catholics with an intensive experience of political and social action in a spiritual context. This year placements include the offices of Christian MPs at Westminster, a parliamentary support role within the Bishops’ Conference Secretariat, with the Catholic Agencies CAFOD and CSAN in social action and public policy roles, and a media and communications internship in Archbishop’s House Westminster.

Jesuits have always provided the chaplaincy service to the interns which includes one to one spiritual direction.  Each intern also takes part in an intellectual formation course in ethics and Catholic Social Teaching, as well as exploring the Church’s involvement in social action through a series of events.

One such event took place on Wednesday as the interns joined the audience for the Theos Annual Lecture by Professor Terry Eagleton entitled “The Death of God and the War on Terror”.

This year’s interns are (pictured back row from left) William Kent, Rory O’Donovan, Rory Tanner, Robert Keenan, Katie Milne, (front row from left) Clare Purtill, Nina Azadeh, Laura Seggie, and Charlotte Dixie.  They are pictured here with this year’s chaplain, Fr Frank Turner.

“This is the largest number of interns to have participated so far” commented Fr Frank “ we have just had a very good week at St Beuno’s which was a blend of silent retreat, faith sharing and workshops on imaginative prayer and discernment.  They are a very interesting and intelligent group of young people and it’s wonderful to be able to give them this kind of formative experience at the intersection of faith and politics.”

The interns were excited about starting their placements on Monday: “it is such a brilliant opportunity” Charlotte commented, adding “we all loved St Beuno’s, though the silence took a bit of getting used to!”

The scheme is open to recent graduates with good degrees and who are UK residents and practising Catholics.  Applications for next year can be made at http://faithinpolitics.org.uk/