Buongiorno da Roma!

Written by Marc Medwed


I am pleased to be writing to you from Rome, Italy, where I have just spent a magnificent week attending the Pontifical Academy for Life conference and the inauguration of the new Center for Ethics launched by The Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano and Isaac Abarbanel University Institute (IUIA).

The conference included a special Papal Audience where I had the privilege of meeting Pope Francis and an opportunity to attend panels and workshops with distinguished speakers from all over the world. These offerings covered issues such as: The human being in the techno-scientific age; Human Originality and Responsibility; From domination to responsibility: rethinking human centrism; Body and soul, heart and conscience, mind, and will. Opening and closing remarks by Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

What a beautiful city and a unique experience!

The conference and this program were special for several reasons—

  • I had the opportunity to represent ACPE and to discuss the training and education our programs provide with faith leaders from around the world and representing many different traditions. There is a lot of interest in the work of ACPE and the impact that it is having in our various communities.


  • I had the privilege of being a part of a special Papal Audience, hearing from Pope Francis on the topics of the conference, and meeting and shaking hands with him. He was such a delightful and gracious person!


  • Together with 15 other spiritual and religious leaders from around the world including Kenya, Argentina, Israel, Bulgaria, and the US, I visited the Vatican Library for the culmination of a special program of study that was conducted related to the Vatican’s Hebrew Manuscript collection. I also had the opportunity to visit one of the Vatican Library Reading Rooms, explore and meet with the leaders and architects of a social justice-oriented public housing program, and participate in the inauguration of the Center for Ethics.


  • And, if all of this wasn’t exciting enough, I began conversations (very early stages) with the leadership of the Center for Ethics about launching an extended learning opportunity for ACPE members. This learning opportunity would focus on biomedical ethics and issues related to social justice and bias in healthcare and beyond. ACPE’s place in the landscape of Spiritual Care Education is an exciting collaboration for the Center. This certificate program would  be in relationship with the Vatican and the Center for Ethics and is slated to be primarily online with an in-person component hopefully taking place in Rome.  I look forward to sharing more about this opportunity in the coming weeks.

At the end of an exhilarating, yet exhausting week, I am returning to the office with appreciation for the work of our programs and members, for the recognition of ACPE’s reputation for providing quality programs in the field, and with excitement for new opportunities for our members.


Marc Medwed, Interim ACPE Executive Director