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About us

The Church Up Close is an initiative born of the School of Church Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. The seminars count on the collaboration of Iscom media-relations group.

The Pontifical University

of the Holy Cross

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross was born from the desire of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei, to create a center of higher ecclesiastical studies in Rome at the service of the whole Church. St. Josemaría’s first successor, Blessed Bishop Álvaro del Portillo brought that desire to completion, inaugurating the Roman Academic Center in 1984.

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The School of Church Communications

The School of Church Communications was founded in 1996 in order to prepare communication professionals for ecclesial institutions. Students can pursue degrees in the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

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The Church Up Close seminars count on the collaboration of Iscom media-relations group. Iscom is a non-profit association that seeks to enhance the communications of educational, religious, and social development entities through professional consulting and training. 

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Organizing Committee

Rev. Prof. John Wauck, President

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. Diego Contreras

Diego Contreras (Spain) is a Professor of Journalistic Analysis at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He is the Vatican Correspondent for Aceprensa and formerly the Italy Correspondent for Europe Press. He served at the Dean of the Faculty of Institutional Communications from 2007 - 2011. Prof. Contreras holds a Doctorate from the Universidad de Navarra (Spain), and is currently the Vice Rector for Communications at Santa Croce University. 

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Ms. Valeria Sanasi

​Valeria Sanasi is the Executive Secretary of The Church Up Close Organizing Committee. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Linguistic Mediation (2017) and a Master's Degree in Mornern languages for International Communication and Cooperation (2020) from Roma Tre University in Rome. During and after her university studies, she has been Interpreter for congresses and events organized by religious institutions and has participated in various international projects. She currently collaborates with The Church Up Close Seminar.

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 for Europa Press news agency, Spain. Since 2001, he has taught at the School of Church Communications, where he is currently the Dean. In March 2021 he was made consultor to the Vatican Dicastery for Communications.

Prof. Manuel F. Sánchez

A lawyer and journalist, Manuel Sánchez (Spain) is 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). He is a professor of Media Relations at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

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