"Creative intelligence, passion for communication and love for the Church". These were the words of the late Alfonso Nieto, an Asturian who died nine years ago (February 2, 2012) and one of the driving forces behind the birth of university journalism studies in Spain and Europe, which were echoed last February 26 in the Aula Magna "John Paul II" of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Faculty of Institutional Communication, of which Nieto was one of the driving forces.
Mariano Fazio, today Auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei and Vice Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. The Argentine priest also referred to the fervor with which Blessed Alvaro del Portillo promoted the creation of this new academic reality in the panorama of the Roman pontifical universities, despite the fact that those were not easy years, both from the organizational and economic point of view.
In 1996 there were only 9 students, most of them Polish, and today the Faculty can count more than 500 alumni serving the Church practically all over the world. They were the protagonists of a live streaming during the afternoon of February 26, in which their testimonies were heard: serving in various ecclesiastical institutions on several continents, from the United States to Benin, Slovakia, India, Venezuela, South Africa and Croatia.
At the service of the Church and the Pope
Our desire," explained the current dean of the Faculty, Daniel Arasa, a Catalan who has lived in Rome for more than 20 years, "has always been to prepare professionals capable of adapting to the constant social innovations in the field of communication, intelligently understanding the different advances that are appearing on the scene.
"For a quarter of a century we have been trying to provide a service to the local churches, to the universal Church and to the Pope: from St. John Paul II, with whom this Faculty was born, and who encouraged us to a new evangelization, through Benedict XVI, who has done so much to intellectually support the communication of the faith, to Pope Francis, whose call we follow to live a Church going out."
There are currently more than one hundred students enrolled in the Faculty of Institutional Communication in the three cycles of study offered (Institutional, Licentiate and Doctorate), among whom are priests, religious and lay people from 38 countries. There are 12 permanent professors and about 30 collaborating professors.
An open access journal
In addition to teaching, over the years the Faculty has given a strong impetus to research, in particular with the creation of the academic journal Church Communication and CultureThe paper is open access, written in English and published by Taylor & Francis.
In the meantime, the Faculty's commitment does not stop and, from April to May, the series of thematic webinars related to the 12th edition of the Church Communication Offices Professional Seminaron such a topical issue as institutional trust.
Mooc in three languages
In May, the first free Mooc in three languages offered by the Faculty, designed for a non-specialized audience and focused on the specific topics of the Church's institutional communication.
At the closing Mass of the day of celebration of the first twenty-five years of the Faculty, celebrated in the Basilica of St. Apollinaris and concelebrated by a large group of students, professors and priests, Monsignor Mariano Fazio recalled in his homily the ejaculation that Blessed Alvaro del Portillo used to repeat on each anniversary: "Thank you, forgive me, help me more," referring to everyone personally and as members of the academic institution in various functions.
He then entrusted to the intercession of St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of the Faculty, the future of this young institution at the service of the universal Church and the whole of society.