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The Church Up Close 

Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis

2024 Edition

SPEAKERS

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Baggio, Fabio

Fr. Fabio Baggio, C.S., is a missionary priest of the Scalabrian Order. He has spent eight years in missionary work in Latin America, serving as a consultant on migration with the Chilean Bishops Conference and later as Director of the Buenos Aires Archdiocese’s Department of Migration. He also spent eight years in the Philippines. He holds a License in Church History from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and has taught at several European, Latin American and Asian universities. He directed the Scalabrini Migration Center in Quezon City, Philippines and was responsible for the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal (2002-2010). Since January 2017, he has served as Co-Under-Secretary of the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and since January 2022, sole undersecretary.

D'Souza, Richard

Fr. Richard D’Souza SJ, originally hails from Goa, India. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1996, and finished his two years novitiate in Belgaum, India. This was followed by a year of study of the humanities in Pune. In 2002, he completed his graduation in Physics at St.Xaviers’ college in Mumbai and proceeded for his Masters in Physics to the University of Heidelberg, where he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy for his thesis work. He returned to Pune in 2005 to complete a Bachelors degree in Philosophy. In 2007, he founded and ran the St. Paul’s Community College in Belgaum to help school dropouts find gainful employment. After finishing his Bachelors in Theology in 2011 in Pune, he retuned to Goa and ran a popular theology programme for the laity called “Deepen Your Faith”. In 2012, he started his doctoral studies in Astronomy at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, in Garching, Munich, graduating in 2016. In 2016, he joined the staff of the Vatican Observatory. He completed a postdoctoral research program at the  University of Michigan from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, he transferred to the headquarters fo the Vatican Observatory in Rome. He currently serves as the Superior of the Jesuit community attached to the Specola Vaticana both at Castel Gandolfo and at Tucson, Arizona.

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Espinosa Hernández, Irma Patricia

Prof. Dir. Irma Patricia Espinosa Hernández is a mexican psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Her expertise focuses on Criminal Psychology and profiling and evaluation of victims of sexual abuse and sexual offenders. She qualified as a surgeon before specializing in Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and a Doctorate in Philosophy. She is currently the Director of the Faculty of Psychology at UCLG; Coordinator of the Department of Human Development and Psychopedagogy of the UCLG; Coordinator of the Department of Human Development and Psychopedagogy of the Conciliar Seminary of Mexico. Professor Espinosa Hernández also holds the post of Secretary of the Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Region of Psychiatry and Spirituality of the Latin American Psychiatric Association (APAL) and is principal member of the Philosophy of Psychiatry section of the Mexican Psychiatric Association (APM). She is a member of the National Council for Children Protection of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Mexico and a Founding Member of the CEPROME, a centre for interdisciplinary research and training in the protection of minors based in Mexico City.

In 2022, Pope Francis appointed her a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

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Monda, Andrea

Prof. Andrea Monda, writer and essayist, currently lives in Rome. After graduating in Law at Sapienza University and in Religious Sciences at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he started working as a religion teacher and collaborating with important newspapers since 1988, including “Avvenire”, “Il Foglio”, and writing reviews for “La Civiltà Cattolica”. Since 2006 he has been giving a seminar on Religion and Literature at the Pontifical Lateran University, which he also held at the Pontifical Gregorian University from 2008 to 2011. He is the author of literary essays and of a biographical essay on Benedict XVI, published in 2013, and was appointed director of the “L’ Osservatore Romano” by Pope Francis in 2018. He is also the President of the BombaCarta Association,which organizes workshops and cultural events.

Noronha, John and Ashley

Having lived in Rome 14 years, John and Ashley Noronha are passionate about using every way and means to make truth and beauty come alive. They founded the Truth & Beauty Project, using the living classroom of Rome to help participants discover the roots of their Christian identity, authentic truth and beauty, and transform their lives into a Masterpiece. They founded Exulto, a Catholic Business Incubator created to empower Catholic innovators to run sustainable businesses. Ashley is the Rome Correspondent for the Relevant Radio Network and formerly the host of the weekly Television news show, Voice of the Vatican. She was formerly the Vatican's English Language Official at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and has been featured on various global TV news networks as an expert on Vatican issues. She's an Instructor of Media Training at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and teaches "Media Training for Priests" at the Pontifical North American College (NAC). She works around the world as a Communications Coach specializing in Conflict Resolution, Crisis Communications, Public Speaking, and Media Training. John is a Professor of Art & Architecture, Theology, and Technology and was formerly the Producer of the Voice of the Vatican TV news show. He has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering and Master’s degrees in Computer Engineering and Information Systems. John worked for many years in the telecommunications industry and lead the Technology and Initiatives Group at Verizon Global Telecommunications. He later did Master’s degrees in Philosophy and Theology and is a Wilbur Fellow at the Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal. Formerly a professional tap dancer, John loves to cut a rug with his wife and to teach ballroom dancing too. 

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Nwachukwu, Fortunatus

Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu was born in 1960 in Nigeria. In 1984 he obtained the Baccalaureate in Theology summa cum laude and received priestly ordination in 1984 by the imposition of the hands of Anthony Gogo Nwedo, bishop of Umuahia; he is incardinated at the age of twenty-four as a presbyter of the same diocese. In 1994 he gained a Doctorate in Theology and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See.Two years later, he gained a Doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of San Tommaso D'Aquino Angelicum. After working in Rome

in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, he was consecrated Bishop in 2013 by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2021 Pope Francis appointed him Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva and to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Representative of the Holy See to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2023 Pope Francis appointed him Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches. He speaks several languages including English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, as well as Arabic.

O'Callaghan, Paul

Paul O’Callaghan studied electronic engineering at University College, Dublin (1977-79). Ordained a priest in 1982, Fr. O'Callaghan is currently Professor of Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. He taught theology at the School of Theology of the University of Navarra, was Director of Studies at the International Ecclesiastical College ‘Bidasoa' in Pamplona, Spain (1989-1990), Vice-rector of 'Sedes Sapientiae' International Ecclesiastical College, Rome (1991-1995), Academic Vice-Rector of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce (1998-2000), Dean of Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (2000-2008), Spiritual Director of “Sedes Sapientiae” College (2010-2020), Director of the Department of Dogmatic Theology (2012-2020), Director of the Centre for Priestly Formation at Holy Cross (2017-2020), of  and member of the Governing Board of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. At present he is Procurator of the Prelature of Opus Dei. Among recent publications: Faith Challenges Culture. A Reflection on the Dynamics of Modernity, Rowman & Littlefield 2021 and God’s Gift of the Universe. An Introduction to Creation Theology, Catholic University of America Press 2022.

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Sánchez Galera, María Dolores

Prof. Maria Dolores Sanchez Galera was born in Spain and gained a Bachelor of Laws in 2001 in Public Comparative Law by Glasgow University, where she was a Post-graduate researcher in Comparative Law. She got a European Master’s degree on the history and comparison of the political and legal institutions of Mediterranean Europe; and a PhD in Environmental Law at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, being a research fellow at a European RTN until 2006. As a former Legal Officer of the International Development Law Organization was in charge of the World Bank legal training programs in Access to Justice in Post-conflict areas and was researcher for The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law. She has Lectured on European Law and Environmental Law and currently collaborates as a freelance researcher for different charity foundations and organizations; and she was international cooperation officer for Caritas Catania.

With over 10 years experience in applied research in the field of Environmental Law, EU Law, Development and Innovation Programmes related to the field of Sustainability, Energy, Environment and Education and Culture, he is currently collaborating as Senior Research Advisor for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Trott, Christopher

Christopher Trott was appointed as the British Ambassador to the Holy See in September 2021. He has been a British diplomat since 1991, and has worked in Burma, Japan, Afghanistan, the South Pacific and both West and Southern Africa. In 2007 he was appointed as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Senegal, accredited also to Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Mali. In 2011 he was appointed as Consul General in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by a short stint in Honiara as High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru. His most recent roles have focussed on the Sudans, first as the Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan from August 2016 until March 2019, and then as British Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan from May 2019 until the end of 2020. Among various roles in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London, he worked as Deputy Head of the Human Rights department and as Deputy in a then newly formed unit in the Department for International Development designed to address stabilisation post-conflict. He is married with 2 children and is a Freeman of the Commune of Timbuktu.

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Wachowski , Mirosław Stanisław

The Reverend Msgr. Mirosław Stanisław Wachowski was born in Pisz, Poland on 8 May 1970. He was ordained a priest on 15 June 1996 and incardinated in Ełk, Poland. He holds a degree in canon law and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 1 July 2004, He has served in the Pontifical Representations in Senegal, at the International Organizations in Vienna, in Poland, and at the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, of which in 2019 His Holiness appointed him as under-secretary. He knows Italian, English, French and Russian.

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Wang, Stephen

Fr. Stephen Wang is a priest of the Diocese of Westminster. He was born in London and grew up in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Having spent his years of priestly formation from 1992 to 1997 at the Venerable English College, he has recently returned as Rector. He obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University in 2005, with a thesis on human happiness. From 2005 to 2013 he taught philosophy and theology at Allen Hall Seminary, and from 2008 was also Dean of Studies. From 2013 until 2021 he served as Senior University Chaplain in the Diocese of Westminster, as well as being Vocations Director for the last two years.

Wauck, John

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.

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