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You can read here the feedback from some participants to the different seminars on Church coverage and religious information:

“I will long remember all the wonderful and heart-warming memories I had during those days. There were so many great benefits to this seminar such as the scientific atmosphere throughout the university as the location of holding the seminar, choosing practical subjects for the speeches, inviting qualified professors and also visiting related sites. I believe these all made this event extremely useful and practical for the participants. Not to mention that simultaneously with the seminar, it was a great opportunity to communicate with different journalists from all around the world”.

Hasan Sadraei Aref, Sub-director International Division, Hozeh News Agency, Iran (2014)

“This seminar was first class. (…) You truly shared the treasures of the Church along with an invaluable inside track on  the workings of the Vatican. Like the dictum of Lord Reith who founded the BBC you managed to educate, inform and even entertain. Thank you so much”.

Paul Burnell, Reporter, BBC News Online, UK (2014)

“I consider this Seminar a must for all those journalists interested in a close coverage to the Vatican, to know who is who, the structure and functions of key people in the Papacy, as well as the matters currently on discussion. The conferences -held at the University or in different locations in Rome- together with the possibility of interaction with the speakers, offer a unique opportunity to journalists covering Catholicism”.

Laura Cerezo, Radio Cadena 3, Argentina (2014)

“I cover the Church from New York; coming here could only help me understand the Church and put some of the issues in context. (…)I learned so much from the questions my other colleagues asked. And so I´ve learned much about the Church in Africa, the Church in Asia, or how those who cover the Church who are not Catholic, for example, see some of the issues… So I´m gonna take away a lot of little nuggets about the Church that will help me tell the fuller story”.

David Ushery, Anchor/Correspondent, NBC New York, USA (2016)

“It was a dream trip to come to Italy and have a chance to travel around and see these amazing historical sights, but specially to have this behind-the-scenes look at the Catholic Church”.

Kelsey Dallas, Enterprise reporter, Deseret News, USA (2016)

“I’ve really enjoyed hearing about the way the Vatican works (…). We hear a lot about it in the general media but I´m beginning to understand that some of that reporting is not always accurate (…). I think this is a wonderful conference. There are participants that have all kinds of experiences: some have been working for a very long time, others no quite so long. Not only can we learn from the speakers, we can also learn from other journalists”.

Cameron Doody, English correspondent, Religión Digital, Spain (2016)

“Want to become a “Vaticanista” in just one week? Attend this conference! It is excellent- and it’s in Rome. Hard to beat that combination!”
David Gibson, Religion News Service, USA (2012) 

“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 (2010)


“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, Senior Writer, Faith and Ethics, Ottawa Citizen, Canada (2010)

“It sounded like a wonderful thing to do and a very important possibility for someone like me who covers the Vatican from the outside. (…) This is a great opportunity to get close to the Church and meet people who actually work at the Vatican and work within the Church, as well as making network and understanding the Church better”.

Lauren Green, Chief Religion Correspondent, Fox News Channel, USA (2016)

“It was a wonderful moment for me. I really felt at home and, above all, I met professionals”.

Nasim Haider, Controller News, Geo TV, Pakistan (2014)

“As John Paul II said, you have to live Rome. If you attend to this conference, you can live this amazing city, you can live inside the Church and you will have experiences with important people within the Church. Here you can understand a lot of things which you cannot understand from home”.

Martin Horalek, Editor-in-chief, Česká Televize, Czech Republic (2016)

“What I found interesting is that I was able to get in touch with a lot of Departments or Congregations in the Vatican. We learned about how they are organized and what their points of view are, which I think is very useful to my job in the future”.

Ka Kei Benedict Ip, Associate Editor, O Clarim, Macau (2016)

“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.”

Paul Keenan, Features Editor, The Irish Catholic, Ireland (2010)

“This is a splendid course that offers real insight into the workings of the Catholic Church. It will take you beyond the headlines into the depth and riches of one of the world's greatest institutions. For journalists covering religion, this course is a must. For Catholic journalists, you will come away far more attached to your faith. If you have the chance to study at Santa Croce, take the opportunity. It's the learning experience of a lifetime.”e

Charles Lewis, Religion Reporter, National Post, Toronto, Canada (2010) 

“An opportunity to get a look at the inner workings of the Church, her operations, her leaders, and her people. Things make sense now! I have many more questions as my interest and enthusiasm has been enhanced through Church Up Close. The speakers, encounters and experiences were wonderful but one must not forget the value of meeting people from all over the world: huge! Highly recommended. No doubt”.

Claire Mathieson, Reporter, The Southern Cross, South Africa (2012)

“Thank you for providing a most educational, informative and life-changing experience for me and my colleagues”.

Chaz Muth, Staff Writer, Catholic News Service, USA (2008)

“A golden opportunity for English-speaking journalists who aspire to report and interpret the affairs of the Catholic Church at a global level with authority and insight”.

Martin O’Brien, Freelance Journalist, Belfast - Northern Ireland (2014)

“Covering the Catholic Church is complex and this conference presents an opportunity to take a deeper look at issues that surround the Church, and to understand the Church and its mission better, especially in the age of Francis, who makes news all the times and we have the duty to put them into context. (…). One of the great opportunities was exchanging notes with my fellow colleagues from all of the world who have the same duty to covering the Church and are trying to do a good job, and to see how they present issues and how they tackle big media events at the Vatican. (…)

I would highly recommend to any journalist who’s looking to understand the Church better and to do a better job when reporting to come at this conference. It provides access to the Church and to the Vatican, like no other conference I know of and provides you a really good overview of what the Church is trying to do… And you´re able to ask a lot of questions: a dream for a journalist!”

Susanna Pinto, Executive Producer, EWTN, USA (2016)

“Thank you for enabling me 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's one thing to view these things from afar and another to see things "up close". You all were right -- it does make a difference to one's perspective.

Even if one approaches the Church also from a critical perspective, one has a far more tangible sense of the terrain after actually being at the epicentre. Being in a place like Rome certainly engages all the senses, which is something you and your colleagues seem to have taken into account when organising the seminar -- the wonderful meals, the Scavi, the Vatican Museum, Castel Gandolfo, and so on”.

Michail Rassool, The Southern Cross, South Africa (2008)

“I am very much grateful that the team behind it organized it as an effective way of making people such as myself understand and appreciate further the nature, mission of, and the gifts that the Church has to offer. The speakers gave relevant insights and enlightening points that are spurring me on to help spread the word about the Church with a clearer perspective. The visits to the offices of the Vatican, the gaining of deeper knowledge about Church art, and the exchange of views between participants from other countries all contributed to making this a powerpacked encounter.  I highly recommend this seminar!”

Ilsa B. Reyes, Co-host, DZMM Teleradio, Philippines (2012)

“Even though I was already correspondent in Rome from a few months, and specialized in religious issues, I have learned many things, and met people I hadn't have the opportunity to meet before, especially during the work-lunches. (…). The lessons gave me the opportunity to understand better the point of view from inside the Church and the Vatican about a variety of subjects. It was very instructive and also agreeable to meet people from all over the world”.

Virginie Riva, Rome Correspondent, Europe 1 Radio, France (2014)

“I can say that my knowledge is well improved in such a short time! (…) I need to congratulate your great idea, embracing so many people from all over the world with their mentalities, their culture, their religious side, and also to bring such great speakers!”

Claudia Robu, Religion reporter, TVR1 – Romanian TV, Romania (2008)

“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.” Peter Rosengren, Managing Editor, The Record, Perth, Western Australia (2010)

“The Church Up Close Seminar was a wonderful experience in terms of both professional development and cultural immersion in the city of Rome. The speakers were extremely high profile, including Cardinals and others who work in the Vatican, and also journalists from well-regarded publications who report on Vatican news. Their insights about the unique communication style of Pope Francis and the inner workings of the Roman Curia were invaluable and have helped me tremendously as a journalist from Australia, geographically so far removed from the Holy See. The tours of St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and some of the churches of Rome, were a wonderful way of giving us some of the important elements of the history of the Church in Rome and also cultural insights about the city. Those organising and running the Seminar were extremely helpful and accommodating. It was also great to have the opportunity to network with other journalists from around the world. Having the Seminar in Rome, so close to the Vatican, allowed us to experience the Roman way of life and also to see the Holy Father up close on several occasions! It was all-together an uplifting, enlightening and truly memorable experience. I highly recommend the Church Up Close Seminar to any journalist covering the latest news from the Vatican”.

Catherine Sheehan, Online Journalist, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia (2014)

"The Church Up Close was one of the most interesting, informative and enjoyable courses I have ever been on.  It was a real privilege to be taken 'behind the scenes at the Vatican; to attend talks and lectures given by leading Church figures - and to be able to ask them in-depth questions. The week was also a great opportunity to get to know religious correspondents from around the world. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to write seriously about the Catholic Church”.

Josephine Siedlecka, Editor, Independent Catholic News, UK (2014)

“I work for a Catholic news magazine and we write on these issues weekly or daily based. But one thing is to see institutions of the Catholic Church in Rome on the paper and another thing is to be there. So to write about it, and not to see what is happening anywhere is actually impossible. So I came here to make my writing possible”.

Branimir Stanic, Vice-director in Chief, Glas Koncila, Croatia (2016)

“What an amazing week, packed with opportunities to listen to and question leading figures in the Catholic Church based in Rome. Also, a unique networking experience alongside religious journalists from around the world.  Thank you Santa Croce University.”

Ellen Teague, Media Desk, Columbian Missionaries, UK (2014)

“A once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and interview top Vatican leaders, led by generous and extremely accommodating hosts at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.”

Elizabeth Tenety, Writer, America magazine, USA (2014)

“I wish to thank everyone concerned for the extraordinary Church Up Close conference held in September 2014. It was highly informative and the guest speakers were all very impressive.

The course contributed immensely to my knowledge of the way the Catholic Church and the Vatican operates and will assist me immensely with my reporting on church issues. Thanks also for your kind hospitality, and, of course, the delicious lunches every day!”

Anna Chiapponi Cox, Editor, Archdiocesan News Johannesburg, South Africa (2014)

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