For seven days, journalists from 18 countries and five continents convened for an opportunity to explore the Church in a way they never have before, with inside access and meetings with top Vatican officials.
They covered how topics such as politics, economics, finances and bioethics relate to the Church and how the Vatican is involved throughout the world.
The event is organized every two years at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross as a way to equip journalists with the tools to better understand and report on the Church as a whole.
"This course puts together a series of conferences, workshops, meetings, encounters and also participating in the pope's events, like the audience today, to give them the sense of what the Church is, how the Vatican works as a structure, and to understand some of the hot issues related to the Catholic Church.”
One hot issue has been the ever-changing social media trends, which journalists utilize daily in order to both discover stories and deliver their news. They found the Church's stance on social media both optimistic and promising, after meeting with the Vatican Secretary for Communications.
Fox News Channel, New York
"That shows that the Church is not malleable, but willing to change to the times - not their message, their core message, their eternal truth - but certainly in the way they get the message out. The fact that they were open to it, they were open to suggestions and to have that kind of access to the Vatican people, it was a real plus for us.”
The access each person had to Vatican cardinals, Pontifical University professors, and also veteran colleagues offered a rare experience. With different perceptions of the Church based on their home countries, coming to Rome brought along these specific concerns and issues that were able to be addressed.
NBC, New York
"We always talk about the U.S., the American Catholic Church, and there's a diversity of opinion within that Church, but then how it relates to Rome. The clear thing is, me, having been able to come to the Vatican, it just enhances your understanding of the global, universal Catholic Church and I think that's extraordinary.”
As a seven-day conference, the attendees were able to participate in papal events such as the General Audience and the Angelus, giving them up close and personal access with the man who is the star of many of their Church-related articles.