With only a couple minor hiccups, I managed to get through my first week of living and working in Geneva. With the current exchange rate for the dollar, it can feel like a pretty expensive city for an American, albeit with a silver lining—chocolate, wine, and cheese actually seem to cost less. I am being generously put up in an apartment attached to a Dominican monastery, a short tram ride west to the city center, and a short tram ride east to the French border (and cheaper shopping). Having heard how difficult it can be to find housing in Geneva, I am most grateful to be provided a place in such a wonderful location.
Work has been new and exciting. As with many jobs, it is hard to truly know what your work will entail until you actually start. And upon more fully understanding my role, I am all the more excited to be here.
I am interning with the Caritas in Veritate Foundation, an independent organization with offices at the Holy See Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. The Foundation’s purpose is to provide the representatives of the Holy See, the Order of Malta, and Catholic NGOs present in Geneva with a source of research and expertise from academia and elsewhere. It aims “to make the positions of the Catholic Church more understandable and visible, thus increasing their impact on the elaboration of international culture and law.”
It is exciting to be a part of a young organization working to establish itself into its important role. This week I attended a meeting near Palais des Nations (UN) with several Catholic NGOs to discuss their upcoming activities and research needs, and began work at the Mission on the two main research projects currently on my plate in the areas of religious freedom and disarmament. The Mission is a joyful yet dedicated workplace, with at least six different nationalities represented in a relatively small group, all gathered to serve the Church in its work in Geneva.
Pope Francis has called for tomorrow to be a day of prayer and fasting for peace. Tomorrow, many of us at the Mission will be attending the special evening mass to that effect at the cathedral here in Geneva. So my closing thought would be to encourage everyone—of all faiths—to join us as we pray for Syria and pray for peace.