A Whirlwind Week in D.C.

Damien Delgado, CCAO Environment and Peace Intern
February 27, 2013

God is good.

Damien Delgado

In reflecting on my first few weeks here with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, this is the only phrase I can think of to fully describe how my experience has gone. I have written more, seen more and done more than I could have imagined myself doing over an entire semester, let alone a few weeks. I can only begin to imagine what the rest of my experience here with the CCAO will bring me, as it has already become the internship of a lifetime.

This past week in particular has been beyond description. God blessed me with a week full of meetings, working groups, and gatherings—all of which have brought me closer to God. I say this because I believe that growing more in touch with God’s creations is the same as growing more in touch with God himself. I believe we all have a duty to God and ourselves to protect the gifts we have been blessed with and my meetings this week have helped me to further enlighten myself on how I can help achieve this goal.

The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering started off my week, and what I expected to be a small group of advocates sharing their beliefs turned out to be a major conference where great minds of Catholic advocacy work came together to educate attendees on major issues being advocated on today. Between the ecological concerns and Immigration reform, it’s difficult to choose what topic I loved hearing about most. My dream is to one day work as an advocate, and seeing advocates at this conference interweaving their work with the word of God was inspiring to me.

My Asian Militarization and my interfaith working group meetings followed, which provided me with a window into the hearts and minds of many devoted advocates working towards the goal of a peaceful and coexistent planet. My first group, The Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific, gave me the chance to reconnect with my field of study throughout my formal education (military history) through an advocacy lens that made it that much more rewarding. My second group, the Washington Interfaith Staff Community for Energy and Ecology, gave me the invaluable opportunity to learn more about environmental issues that I admittedly do not know as much about as I would like to, such as CO2 emissions and deforestation.

To top my week off, I was a hands-on participant in an Extractive Industries working group today, which—I admit—might have been my favorite experience. The opportunity to feel as though I was actively engaging in group discussions and strategies within a meeting was a blessing.

Damien with CVUSA Volunteer Deanna and the Immigration Volunteer Teresa Vyhanek at an Ash Wednesday prayer service that week.

My expectation by this point was that I would still be doing administrative work, mixed in with some light advocacy research. I understood that, with taking on this internship, I would need plenty of time to gain my bearings in the complex environment that is faith-based advocacy.

Needless to say, my expectations were shattered in the best way possible. I believe that I have become an integral part of the work we do here at the CCAO and, most importantly, I believe that what I am doing matters. I believe the work I am doing right now is immersing myself in exactly the kind of advocacy work I hope to be doing for years to come. Most importantly, I feel certain that this is the work I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

God is good, and this internship proves that statement truer each and everyday