Building on its successful monthly-seminar series for Rome-based Vatican correspondents, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome is offering a second edition of its intensive one-week Seminar in English, The Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Benedict XVI. The Seminar, from September 6-12, 2010, is designed for foreign journalists who cover the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church Up Close

Combining class-room seminars, personal meetings, and on-site visits, the Seminar gives journalists an array of tools to strengthen their coverage: a basic sense of the lay of the land at the Vatican; a serious, in-depth analysis of specific hot-button issues confronting today’s Church; a personal introduction to some knowledgeable insiders and key players in Rome; a taste of the rich history and culture behind contemporary Church affairs; a chance to dialogue, in an ideal setting, with journalists from around the world, on the complex relationships between religion and the media.


Seminar Overview

The program, designed for journalists coming from abroad, includes a complete week of academic sessions, visits and encounters. The numbers of participants is limited.


Monday, September 6 - Sunday, September 12, 2010.

Click here to view the program online, or here for a PDF version of the program.


Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
Piazza di Sant'Apollinare, 49
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: [39] 06681641 (Reception Desk), [39] 3884730369 (Cell)
Fax: [39] 0668164400

Content of the Seminar


The class-room sessions will deal with issues of culture and religion (inter-religious dialogue, science and faith, social and bio-ethical topics), the Church and the media (public opinion, Vatican coverage, access and transparency) and the nature and structure of the Catholic Church and the Holy See (organization and role in international politics).


Personal meetings will offer a chance to get to know key curial officials, Vatican media officials and veteran Rome correspondents.

On-site Visits

The program includes visits to St. Peter’s Basilica*, the “Scavi” (the Roman necropolis beneath the present-day basilica), the Sistine Chapel*, the Vatican Press Office, a Papal audience*, and other sites of interest.

*Spouses can accompany participants on visit



Msgr. Charles Brown
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Msgr. Charles J. Brown (USA) studied History as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, followed by Theology at Oxford University and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. His doctorate in Sacramental Theology is from the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant'Anselmo in Rome. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. Since 1994, he has worked as an Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican City. He is also the Adjunct Secretary of the International Theological Commission.

Yago de la Cierva
Executive Director of Communications, World Youth Day 2011 Madrid

Yago de la Cierva (Spain) is the Director of Communications of World Youth Day 2011 Madrid. He is the head of Corporate Communications at the IESE Business School, professor of the Crisis Prevention and Management in the School of Institutional Communication at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and author of "Crisis Communications in the Church."

Rev. Prof. Bernardo Estrada
Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

Professor of New Testament Studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rev. Prof. Estrada (Colombia), graduated from Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1972. He then did an M.S. in Chemical Engineering with the distinction of "Grado de Honor". He completed his Doctorate (S.T.D.) in Biblical Theology, on May 25 1981, at the University of Navarre, Spain. He also has an M.A. in Trilingual Biblical Philology, specializing in Greek at the School of Philosophy and Letters of the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, and another Ph.D. in Biblical Philology at the same university.

Rev. Prof. David Maria A. Jaeger
Pontifical University Antonianum

Rev. Prof. David-Maria Jaeger, O.F.M., J.C.D. (Israel) is a former pastor of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin, Texas and served on the Tribunal for the Diocese of Austin. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome and is a member of the Delegation of the Holy See on the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel. Born of Jewish parents in Tel Aviv, Israel, Fr. Jaeger is the only native-born Israeli ("Sabra") ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the world.

Prof. Elizabeth Lev
Duquesne University

Prof. Lev (USA) is an American-born art historian in Rome. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she did her graduate work at the University of Bologna. She teaches Art History at Duquesne University’s Italian campus. She has written for Inside the Vatican, Sacerdos, First Things, the College Art Association on-line, and is a regular columnist for Zenit News Agency. She was recently featured on the History Channel’s “Angels and Demons Decoded” and is the host of Catholic Canvas, a 10-part television series on the art of the Vatican Museums now airing on EWTN.

Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J.
Director, Press Office of the Holy See

Fr. Lombardi (Italy) has been the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See since 2006. After Mathematical training, he studied theology in Germany. He worked for the magazine Civiltà Cattolica, and in 1984 he was elected Provincial of the Jesuits in Italy, a position he held until 1990. In 1990 he was named program director of Vatican Radio, and eventually became director general. Since 2001 he has been the Director General of the Vatican Television Center.

Rev. Prof. Rafael Martínez
Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

Fr. Martínez (Spain) is the Dean of the School of Philosophy and professor of the Philosophy of Science at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. A trained physicist and philosopher, he is interested in the historical and epistemological aspects of scientific concepts, and in the relationship between science and religion. He is the author of Immagini del dinamismo fisico. Causa e tempo nella storia della fisica (1996), co-author, with Mariano Artigas and Thomas Glick, of Negotiating Darwin and author of The Vatican confronts Evolution, 1877-1902. He is also the Director of the STOQ III Project at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu
Head of Protocol, Vatican Secretariat of State

Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu (Nigeria) has served in the Secretariat of State since 1994, and was named chief protocol officer in 2007. He was formerly a counselor for the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations. Working for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, he has carried out his work at the apostolic nunciatures in Ghana, Paraguay, Algeria, the office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, and in the section of relations with states of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

Rev. Prof. Paul O'Callaghan
Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

An Electronics Engineer and former Assistant Professor of Electronics Engineering at the University College of Dublin (1977-79), Fr. O’Callaghan (Ireland) is currently a Professor of Theology and Anthropology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He was also the Assistant to the Directorate of Research of the School of Theology at the University of Navarre, the Director of Studies of International Ecclesiastical College 'Bidasoa', Pamplona, Spain (1989-1990), Vice-rector of the International Ecclesiastical College 'Sedes Sapientiae' (Rome) (1991-1995), Academic Vice-Rector of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce (1998-2000), former Dean of Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (2000-2008), and member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

Rev. Prof. Luis Romera
Rector, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

Rev. Prof. Luis Romera (Spain) is the Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, as well as a Professor of Metaphysics. He has a PhD in Philosophy and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is a graduate of Theology and Geological Sciences.

Msgr. Lucio Ruiz
Head of the Vatican Internet Office

Msgr. Ruiz (Argentina) studied philosophy and theology at the Metropolitan Seminary Nuestra Señora in Santa Fe. He is a Certified Microsoft Systems Engineer and has a Masters in Business Administration. He also has a degree in Dogmatic Theology and Communication from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He is the Head of the Vatican Internet Office and member of the Congregation for the Clergy and Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He teaches Digital Communication at Santa Croce and New Languages at the Instituto Teológico Pastoral of CELAM, Bogotá, Colombia. Since 1995 he has been the Continental Technical Coordinator of RIIAL (Red Informática de la Iglesia en América Latina – IT Network of the Catholic Church in Latin America) and President of the Centro de Formación y Desarrollo de software de la RIIAL, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Prof. Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna (Malta) is the Promoter of Justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was born in Toronto in 1959 but raised and educated in Malta. He graduated in civil law in 1984 and received a Licentiate in Theology in 1986. He was ordained a priest that same year for the Archdiocese of Malta. He studied Canon Law at the Gregorian University and graduated with an JCD in 1991, with a specialization in Jurisprudence. He served as Defender of the Bond on the Metropolitan Tribunal of Malta from 1990-1995 and lectured in Canon Law at the University of Malta. In 1995 he was called to the Apostolic Signatura and in 1996 was nominated Substitute Promoter of Justice. He is a visiting Lecturer at the Gregorian. He was nominated Promoter of Justice of the CDF in October of 2002.

Card. James Francis Stafford
Archbishop emeritus of Denver and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary

Card. Stafford (USA) has served as the Co-President of the Dialogue between Roman Catholics and Lutherans, U.S.A. (1984-97); Co-President of the Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and Roman Catholics of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Rome (1977-87); Member of the Council of Administration of the Pontifical North American College (1989-96); Member of the Council of Administration of the Catholic University of America (1990-96); Member of the Congregation for Bishops’ Adhoc Commission on Episcopal Conferences (1990-92). Cardinal Stafford served as Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary between 2003 and 2009.

John Thavis
Catholic News Service

Mr. Thavis (USA) is a graduate of Saint John’s University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English. He also has a second Bachelor’s in language studies at the Gregorian University in Rome. He is the Rome bureau chief of CNS, which specializes in reporting religious news and operates as a source for English-language Catholic news organizations. Mr. Thavis has worked in the CNS Rome bureau since 1983 and has headed the department since 1996. He has written extensively on religious affairs in Europe and the Middle East, published a Rome guide book and contributed to John Paul II: A Light for the World. In May 2007, the Catholic Press Association (CPA) awarded him the 2007 St. Francis de Sales Award, considered the highest honor given by the Catholic press.

Patricia K. Thomas
Associated Press Television News

Patricia K. Thomas (USA) has been covering Italy and the Vatican for Associated Press Television News since 1994. She covers events for television, radio and AP’s on-line news service. She covered the papacy of John Paul II from 1993 until his death and covered the election of Pope Benedict XVI. She has traveled to Africa, throughout Europe, and to South America and the Middle East for AP Television News. In 2007-2008 she served as a political analyst for Sky News Italia on a television program dedicated to US politics. Prior to moving to Italy she worked at various news organizations including CNN in Washington and ABC News in New York. She has a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York (1991) and a Bachelor's Degree in History from Haverford College in Pennsylvania (1986). She is married to Gustavo Piga and has three children: Niccolo, Caterina and Chiara.

Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Card. Turkson (Ghana) was ordained and installed as the Archbishop of Cape Coast in 1993. In September 2003, Pope John Paul II named him to the Sacred College of Cardinals. He was the Vice President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA) since 2004. When AECAWA merged with its Francophone counterpart, the Conférence Épiscopale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CERAO), he was appointed as its first President (2007). He is the Honorary President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), and is a member of the Association of Ghana Biblical Exegetes.

Jack Valero
Spokesperson for Newman’s Beatification

Mr. Valero (United Kingdom) is the press officer for the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. He is the director of communications of Opus Dei in the UK and was the co-coordinator of the "Da Vinci Code Response Group" in 2006, a team of Catholics who made themselves available to the media in the run-up to the release of the DVC film.

Prof. Angelo L. Vescovi
Università Bicocca Milano & Cerebral Stem Cell Bank, Terni

Prof. Vescovi (Italy) is a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Milan Bicocca and the Co-director of the Institute for Stem Cell Research, Terni. He is a Member of the National Committee on Stem Cells of the Italian Ministry of Health, Consultant of the British Committee on Stem Cells of the House of Lords of England and a Member of the Committee on Stem Cells at the Vatican, and is the Director of Research of ConStem (Italian Consortium for Stem Cell Research). He has given numerous presentations at international scientific meetings and was the Speaker Emeritus at the European Commission Meeting “Inter-Institutional Seminar on Bioethics” in Brussels. He is a Reviewer for several scientific journals. In 2002 he was awarded the Award of the Italian Life Science Association for Scientific Achievements.

Prof. Stefano Zamagni
University of Bologna

Prof. Zamagni (Italy) has been a Professor at the University of Bologna since 1979 and was the Director of the Department of Economics at the University of Bologna from 1985 to 1993. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University (Bologna Center) since 1983. Professor Zamagni is the author of several books, including Microeconomic Theory and Civil Economy and Paradoxes of Growth, both published in 1997. In addition, he co-authored History of Economic Thought (1995 and 2005), Living in the Global Society(1997), Non-Profit As Civil Economy (1998), and Multiculturalism and identity (2002). In 2007 he was appointed the President of the Italian Commission for Non Profit sector, Milan. He is a member of the scientific committee of various economic journals and reviews.

Michele Zanzucchi
Editor-in-chief, Città nuova

Mr. Zanzucchi (Italy) is editor-in-chief of Città Nuova, the Italian edition of the Focolare Movement's main magazine, with 37 editions worldwide and published in 24 languages. He has published 27 books in various languages, including a report from post-war Iraq, Tempi di Guerra (Times of War), and a recent volume, L’Islam Che Non Fa Paura (Islam That Doesn't Frighten), composed of interviews with 63 moderate Muslim leaders. Zanzucchi is a professor of journalism. Currently, he heads research in Communication Studies at NetOne—Media For a United World, the Focolare Center for Communications, and teaches journalism at the Gregorian University in Rome.






Any active journalists writing for newspapers, magazines, wire services, radio, television, or online news organizations may apply.

Priority will be given to journalists covering religion.

The seminar is open to journalists from all countries, but fluency in English is required.

The number of participants is limited.




Application and registration can only be done online.

Application deadline: June 20, 2010.

The organizing committee will evaluate the applications and respond to the applicants on or before June 30.

Candidates should fill out an online application form and send a curriculum vitae (CV) in a digital format (word, pdf, rtf, etc.) to the email address of the seminar:

Please ensure that the CV includes the following information (The length of the CV should be no more than 6,000 characters):

• Date
• Name
• Position
• Company
• Office (Address and contact data)
• Home (Address and contact data)
• Fields of Specialization
• Education
• Journalistic Employment (List all)
• Other Employment (If relevant)
• Selected Newspaper Articles (Also, Books, Journal Articles, Lectures Given, etc. (if relevant))
• Affiliated Memberships (If relevant)
• Other Activities (If relevant)
• Awards (If relevant)
• Languages
• References (If relevant)
• Recent photograph (optional)




  • Registration and participation in all the activities (classes, encounters and visits)
  • Educational materials
  • Lunch for 5 days
  • Travel in Rome for seminar activities and visits

Candidates may request a partial scholarship of up to 600 euro.

The application for the scholarship should be made online (found on the same page as the Application Form).

Scholarship Request Deadline: June 20, 2010.

Applicants will be notified of scholarship status on or before June 30.


Registration and Payment

Participants will be given instructions for payment procedures, upon being notified of admittance to the seminar.


    • Candidates who withdraw from the Program before July 20 , will be charged 100 euro (for administrative costs) and the rest will be reimbursed.
    • From July 20 to August 20, only 50% will be reimbursed.
    • After August 20, there will be no reimbursement.




The organizers will not arrange for the lodging of the participants.

Interested participants may check our list of possible accommodation in Rome (hotels in the area, and other hospitality houses run by religious congregations with very affordable prices).

Moreover, we have made an agreement with the Hotel della Torre Argentina by which a participant in the seminar can avail of the following special rates:

Single room - 100.00 Euro/night
Double Room - 160.00 Euro/night
Double room used by one person - 130.00 Euro/night

Booking should be done directly with the hotel. Guests should mention their participation in the Church Up Close seminar of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce). The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the University.

Hotel della Torre Argentina
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 102
00186 ROME, Italy 
Tel. +39 / 06-683-38867
Fax +39 / 06-688-01641



Organized By



School of Church Communications - Pontifical University of the Holy Cross




Association for the Promotion of Institutional Communication




Sponsored by


With the collaboration of

International Association of Journalists accredited to the Vatican




Click here to download the 2010 edition brochure dated April 2010
Click here for the update with the latest program changes
For pictures of the conference click here and here.



Click here for details of the 2008 seminar
Click here for photos of the 2008 seminar







“It can take years to get to know the policies and the players of the Vatican. But The Church Up Close gave me instant access and understanding. It unlocked many mysteries, and gave me the tools to dig deeper. I’m so glad I participated and have recommended it to friends and colleagues.” --Ari Goldman, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, USA

“No fewer than 18 seminars covering everything from bioethics, Islam, and "the long shadow of Galileo" explained why the Church takes the stands it does. Talking to the Vatican's best scholars gave me insights, contacts, and story ideas that I could not have obtained any other way.” -- Jennifer M. Green, Ottawa Citizen, Senior Writer, Faith and Ethics, Canada

The Church Up Close seminar was an invaluable immersion into the living heart of the Catholic Church; the range of specialists on hand to share their knowledge with participants was impressive, and together with trips to sites of major importance to the Catholic world, made for an active, stimulating and informative programme. It has greatly benefited my journalism, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others.” -- Paul Keenan, Features Editor, The Irish Catholic, Ireland

“Thank you for providing a most educational, informative and life-changing experience for me and my colleagues.” -- Charles Muth, Catholic News Service, USA

I was delighted to come to Rome to engage with a cross-section of people from across the world, and to view the Church's inner workings in their own setting. It is one thing to view these things from afar, and another to see things "up close". It really does make a difference to one's perspective. A place like Rome certainly engages all the senses. The program takes that into account when organising the seminar, the Scavi, the Vatican Museums, Castel Gandolfo, and so on.” --Michail Rassool, The Southern Cross, Cape Town, South Africa

 “It was great to be with so many people from all over the world with different mentalities, cultures, and religions, and to hear such interesting speakers.” -- Claudia Robu, Romanian Television, Romania

“Any journalist who has to deal with spirituality, faith, religious organisations or churches, and especially the Catholic Church, in their professional life will benefit enormously from The Church Up Close seminar. It offers a unique and invaluable opportunity for journalists to come to grips with the single most important Christian Church around the world in the heart of the city whose name is synonymous with Christianity. Over the course of the week journalists get to hear high-level Church experts decode the issues that are at the heart of contemporary life as the Church sees them. Almost as important, participants also get unique opportunities to develop contacts in a range of Church-related organisations and agencies that they would never otherwise come across and which will assist them enormously in the practice of their profession and on their own beats. As a participant in the 2008 Church Up Close seminar, I strongly recommend this unique Rome experience to any journalist, news director or editor.” -- Peter Rosengren, Managing Editor, The Record, Perth, Western Australia



Organizing Committee

Rev. Prof. John Wauck
Organizing Committee President

Rev. Prof. John Wauck (USA), a Chicago native, studied history and literature at Harvard University and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Prior to ordination, he wrote speeches for the attorney general of the United States and the governor of Pennsylvania. He has written for many publications, including American Scholar, Christian Science Monitor, The New Criterion, Beliefnet, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. He has also commented on Church affairs for CNN, BBC, ABC, CBS, Associated Press TV, Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, and U.S. News and World Report. Currently he teaches Literature and Communication of the Faith at Santa Croce.

Prof. Daniel Arasa

Daniel Arasa was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1971. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism (1994) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain, a Bachelor's Degree in Theology (1999) from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, a M.A. in Television and Radio (2001) from the Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, TX, and a PhD in Social Institutional Communications (2007) from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. From 1994 to 1997, he worked as a journalist in the political, social and local sections of Europa Press news agency, Spain. Since 2001, he has taught Digital Communications at the School of Church Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He has published Church Communications Through Diocesan Websites. A Model of Analysis (2008), and is co-editor of Religious Internet Communication. Facts, Trends and Experiences in the Catholic Church (2010).

Mr. Manuel F. Sánchez

A lawyer and journalist, Manuel Sánchez (Spain) is vice-president of ISCOM - Association for the Promotion of Institutional Communication (Italy), member of the Directive Committee of Intermedia Consulting (Italia-USA), and vice-president of the Fundación Estudios de la Comunicación (Spain).

Mr. Sergio Destito

Mr. Sergio Destito (Italy) is the Secretary of the Board of the Schools of Theology, Canon Law, Philosophy & Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Mr. Destito graduated in Law at La Sapienza University of Rome, has also received a Master in Management and Business Strategy and a Master in Marketing Management. Before starting his experience at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, he worked in several national and multinational companies.

Mrs. Ashley R. Noronha

Mrs. Ashley Noronha (USA) is a Professor of “Leadership & The Art of Communication” at the University of Europe in Rome. She graduated in Marketing and International Business from the University of Dayton, and received a Master’s in theology from Holy Apostles’ Seminary. She is a freelance writer and photojournalist, and is currently finishing a Licentiate in Institutional Social Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. She has worked in medical, lifestyle and event marketing for various clients including Universal Pictures, Jaguar, JCPenney, 3Com, M&M Mars and Kraft Foods.





School of Church Communications
Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

Piazza di Sant'Apollinare, 49
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: [39] 06681641 (Reception desk)
Fax: [39] 0668164400
Coordinator's Cell: [39] 3884730369