Rome, Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis, The Church Up Close

Well, folks, I’m off to Rome.

I’ve been accepted to The Church Up Close, a program run by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross for foreign journalists who cover the Roman Catholic Church. It will take place at the university September 8-14, 2014. Yep, we’re talking Vatican here.

The theme of this intense, week-long seminar is “Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis,” and I’ll be studying with journalists from around the world, learning from highly accomplished Vatican communication experts as well as meeting with Curia officials.

The seminar will give me a broader understanding of the Vatican, allow me to write more knowledgeably and accurately about Church affairs, which means you’ll benefit by reading what I write based on what I’ve accomplished at The Church Up Close.

What I’ll learn at the Vatican

Here’s what the seminar info page says:

Combining conferences, interactive workshops, personal encounters, and on-site visits, the seminar gives journalists an array of tools to enhance the quality of their coverage of the Roman Catholic Church. Participants will receive 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.”

This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to God for sending it my way. You already know that I love to write about the Church, and after the seminar, I’ll be able to write about it with even more richness and insightfulness!

Keeping you up to date

Of course, I’ll be blogging during my preparations and most certainly during the trip itself so that you can share all the excitement with me. If you haven’t yet, “friend” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Above all, of course, I’d appreciate your prayers as I scamper to raise funds and get things set up for the trip. I’ve got a ton to do in less than 8 weeks!!  Your prayers will carry me, I’m sure.

In the mean time, be assured of my prayers for you, and my gratitude for your faithfulness to me and to this blog. Thank you!

Three Easy Ways You Can Help

Attending The Church Up Close comes out of my pocket, which means and I have to raise a substantial amount of funds to cover the cost. Here are three easy ways you can help me:

– Step up your use of the Amazon link on my homepage for your purchases there and encourage your family and friends to do the same. I’ll receive a small percentage of each sale amount. It will not cost anything extra to do so. Let your Facebook and Twitter friends know, too.

– Participate in the great sales I’ll have coming up in my Bookstore, and pass the word along about them to family and friends. Let your Facebook and Twitter friends know, too.

– Contribute cash by using the Donate Button on my home page.



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