BY ANTHONY PATRICK FERNANDEZ
My internship at the Holy See Mission to the UN is the highlight of my IPED experience. The Holy See, as a State bound by international law, has representation at the UN as a Permanent Observer State. The Holy See is at a unique position to make available to the UN its 2,000 year history of promoting human dignity and the common good to help the UN in achieving its mission. As an intern at the Mission for four months, I received professional, personal and spiritual formation – a formation that is difficult to get elsewhere.
I was made aware of the IPED-Holy See Mission partnership through the alumni who did the same internship in previous years. When I first learned of the internship, I thought it would be impossible for me to do it in the Fall Semester because of ongoing classes – previous IPED students did the internship during their second spring semester, which is usually open for internships. I have discovered, however, that by arranging my classes early on, it would be possible for me to engage in a full-time internship in the Fall. When I learned of this opportunity, there was no doubt in my mind that I would take on the internship, for it is a unique opportunity to serve the Church. Through prayers, I felt that this was indeed a path that the Lord wanted me to take.
I received tremendous professional growth during my internship. As an intern, I was mainly assigned to report on the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial Committee) meetings and negotiations, as well as on other meetings or side-events that the Mission would need “eyes and ears” on. As an IPED student, being able to sit in on high-level meetings and negotiations was a privilege. I was able to absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge on economics and development, as well as observe the political dynamics between States. I was able to improve on my work ethic, and writing and observation skills, as well.
A unique feature of the internship at the Holy See Mission is the spiritual growth that an intern would receive. I do not think that I would be able to find another job that starts with prayer and has a chapel. It is a great benefit to be given the space and time to pray the Third Hour with a community before the start of work, and to be able to visit the Blessed Eucharist so conveniently. Most of all, I have met people that have become spiritual companions and life-long friends. In my whole internship, I have been surrounded by people, fellow interns and staff, who were genuinely interested in my well-being, and were my inspiration for their dedication and love for the Church.
My internship at the Holy See has truly been life-changing. I have learned and grown enormously in the short four months. I truly appreciate IPED’s support, especially Dr. Schwalbenberg and Prof. Odra in helping me do this internship. The internship, however, was truly made special by the people at the Mission, especially Abp. Auza, Fr. Landry, Msgr. Hansen, Msgr. Charters, Msgr. Franco, Dr. Maniezzi, Dr. Giungi, Ms. Duffley, Mother Teodora, Sr. Elsa, Sr. Lourdes, Owan, Thien and my fellow interns. These people have turned my internship at the Holy See Mission to be the highlight of my IPED studies.
I would encourage those in the IPED program who might be interested in having similar experiences to visit holyseemission.org and speak to Dr. Schwalbenberg or Prof. Odra to see if you could become the IPED Fellow at the Holy See Mission.