On 20 April 2015, in the presence of Fr. Valdir José de Castro (Superior General SSP), Sr. Marina Beretti (Superior General AP), of a good number of members of the Pauline Family plus professors, doctoral candidates and friends, Fr Norman Peña defended his doctoral dissertation at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. The title of the dissertation was: "Tragedy and Religious Identity in Social Media: a case study of the textual narrative responses to the YouTube "September 11 2001 Video".
Inspired by the words of the Fr Alberione, "do not speak only of religion but speak of everything in a Christian way", the empirical socio-psychological research underlined the representation of literal presence and/or absence of God on the new media and the elements of religious identity in them, particularly in 2,000 YouTube comments to the 9/11 tragedy: network of self, emotion and grief, textual symbolism and ritual narrative interactions, religion and violence, and communicative memory and cultural identity. Even if it is not possible to control what people write in their comments in social media it is nonetheless possible to suggest themes to talk about (e.g. in a "Christian way"). The link between theology and social media is highlighted not in literal terms of both, but on the significance of those terms. The challenge is not to stop only at the creation and upload of contents in social media but in helping people how to interpret and apply the contents in their lives.
The members of the commission during the defense - Prof. Tadeusz Lewicki (supervisor), Profs. Emiro Cepeda and Maria Paola Piccini (co-supervisors) e Prof. Mauro Mantovanni (president) - gave full vote to the dissertation. At the end of the event, the members of the Pauline Family all sang "Scio cui credidi". Afterwards refreshments were offered by the Filipino community in Rome.