April 13, 2017

Pope names local native and Cathedral graduate to Vatican communications advisory group

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service


(IObserve photo/courtesy of EWTN)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Michael P. Warsaw, a native of the Diocese of Springfield, graduate of the former Cathedral High School, and chairman of the board and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, has been named by Pope Francis as part of a group of 13 to help advise the Vatican Secretariat for Communications.

Pope Francis named six priests, six laymen and one laywoman to be the new consultors or advisers to the communications body, which is led by Msgr. Dario Vigano and coordinates the Vatican’s diverse communications and media operations. The consultors are an advisory group separate from the secretariat members – a group of 16 cardinals, bishops and laypeople the pope named last year.

“I am extremely humbled and honored by the Holy Father’s appointment,” said Warsaw. “This is a tremendous recognition of the role which EWTN plays in the life of the church throughout the world. I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence and look forward to serving the universal church in this post.”

A Springfield native, Warsaw attended the former Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Grammar School in Springfield. At Cathedral, he was senate president for the school’s highly acclaimed Student Congress. After graduating from Cathedral in 1982, Warsaw then went on to The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he studied religion and religious studies. He also did graduate work in liturgical studies.

“I think it’s part of God’s sense of humor that the guy who grew up in Pine Point (a neighborhood in Springfield) would end up in Irondale, Alabama,” Warsaw told iObserve in 2014. “I certainly never expected that’s where I’d end up or that’s what God had in store for me, but it’s a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful experience.”

Warsaw joined EWTN in 1991 and has held senior management positions in the areas of television production, satellite operations and technical services.

He became president of EWTN in 2000 and assumed the post of chief executive officer in 2009. Warsaw was named chairman of the board of EWTN in 2013. In that capacity he oversees the network’s strategic direction and mission around the world. With the network’s 2011 acquisition of the National Catholic Register, Warsaw assumed the role of publisher of that newspaper.

 In 2014 he returned to western Massachusetts to receive the St. Joseph Medal honoring distinguished alumni of Cathedral High School. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Catholic Distance University.

Warsaw wasn’t the only appointee with Massachusetts ties. The pope also named Ann Carter, co-founder of the Boston-based Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, who now heads ACcommunication Partners, advising on business challenges and communications issues. She was CEO of Rasky Baerlein when the firm dropped its role as the Archdiocese of Boston’s outside public relations firm, when the sexual abuse crisis in the church there emerged; the firm picked up its work again after the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard Law, resigned.

The Secretariat for Communications was established by Pope Francis in an apostolic decree on June 25, 2015. Among its responsibilities, it has the task of carrying out the restructuring, reorganization and consolidation of the various communications outlets of the Holy See including the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, Photographic Service and the Vatican Internet Service.   

In addition to Carter and Warsaw, other new consultors to the Secretariat are: Father Ivan Maffeis, undersecretary of the Italian Bishops Conference; Father José María La Porte, dean of the faculty of institutional social communications of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce; Father Peter Gonsalves, dean of the faculty of the science of social communications at the Pontifical Salesian University; Domincan Father Eric Salobir, promoter general for social communications of the Order of Preachers; Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine; Jesuit Father Jacquineau Azétsop, dean of the faculty of social sciences at the Pontifical Gregorian University; Paolo Peverini, professor of semiotics at Luiss Guido Carli University; Fernando Giménez Barriocanal, president and managing director of Radio Popular-Cadena COPE; Graham Ellis, vice director of BBC Radio; Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, chief ICT auditor at the United Nations; and Michael Paul Unland, executive director of the Catholic Media Council.

Also contributing to this report was Catholic Communications staff in Springfield, Mass.