International Conference in Rome for Church Communicators

Catholic Church communications officials from around the world will meet in Rome in April for a conference on how to spread the Church's message in an era of conflict and controversy.

The Sixth Professional Seminar for Church Communications Offices will be held in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross from April 28 to April 30.

The three-day seminar is specifically organized for communications personnel of dioceses, bishops' conferences and other Church institutions.

Communications officials from about 70 countries are expected to participate.

"Church communications personnel need to address numerous controversial issues, including public discussions about the family, protection of the needy, and respect for religious freedom," said Diego Contreras, president of the organizing committee. "We need to explore the fundamental question:

How should church officials intervene in debates about topics of public interest?"

The conference schedule includes:

-- A meeting at the Press Office of the Holy See with its director, Father Federico Lombardi.

-- Pat Ryan Garcia of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will discuss the public service announcement campaign, "What have you done for your marriage today?"

-- CNN Vatican analyst Delia Gallagher will comment on her experiences working with Church communications offices.

-- John L. Allen of the National Catholic Reporter will explain how to show the "other" news about the Church.

The conference registration fee is 190 Euros (about 280 dollars). A complete schedule and online registration is available on the Web at

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross is located in Rome and is dedicated to teaching and research in the ecclesiastical sciences. The university is chartered by the Holy See and entrusted to the Prelature of Opus Dei.