CDU Blog

MA Thesis Reflects on Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 03:23 PM

In July 2018, the Church reached a remarkable milestone: the 50th anniversary of Pope Blessed (soon to be Saint) Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, “On Human Life,” that reaffirmed the Church’s perennial prohibition against contraception and gave a brief but powerful restatement of the Christian vision for marriage.

Looking back five decades, it is possible to see that Pope Paul was both sound in his decision to issue the encyclical and prophetic in what would happen should the world embrace a contraceptive culture.

Recent MA graduate Anne Marie Posella has taken on in her thesis, “Contemplating the Spousal Mystery through the Lens of the Fertile Window,” the challenge of reflecting on the anniversary of Humanae Vitae. She pays particular attention to another of the often overlooked aspects of Humanae Vitae: Pope Paul’s support of Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Her thesis is a timely and useful reminder of the fundamental reality of marriage as procreative and unitive. In her presentation, Anne Marie positively affirms Humanae Vitae and gives all of us one more dimension to consider when confronting the contraceptive culture.

Anne Marie works in collaboration with the local pregnancy resource centre and with Family Foundations Institute, a grassroots Catholic initiative in southwestern Ontario. Her concentration in philosophy at CDU, and in particular her study of personalism, continues to inform her practice on a daily basis.

Read the summer 2018 issue of Digital Continent on the Alumni page of our website at


Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 03:16 PM


Congratulations to CDU Trustee Rev. Paul F. deLadurantaye, who has been appointed to the Vatican Secretariat of State. His gifts in Italian, French, Spanish and Latin will serve him well as he moves to his new office in the Apostolic Palace to start his five-year term on September 1.

brian r corbin

CDU welcomes Brian R. Corbin to the Board of Trustees. Brian is the executive vice president of Member Services of Catholic Charities USA and will join the board in October. With his extensive leadership experience in Catholic social doctrine and helping people and institutions live out the corporal works of mercy, he shares CDU’s passion for serving those who serve and those who are underserved. Brian served as diocesan director of Catholic Charities and Health Services for over 27 years in Youngstown, Ohio, and continues to teach in the Business School of Walsh University in Canton, Ohio. A graduate of the Pontifical School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America, Brian also holds a Certification in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He is currently completing his PhD at MIT.

deacon anthony

MA graduate Deacon Gerard-Marie Anthony was ordained in 2017. He ministers to couples preparing for marriage; performs weddings, baptisms, and funerals; and blesses homes in St. Timothy parish in the Diocese of Arlington. Deacon Anthony is now pursuing a counseling degree.


MA graduate Rev. Leo Blasi was ordained in the Diocese of Salina. He is parochial vicar at The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hays, Kansas. Father Blasi was selected to give the invocation at the groundbreaking of The Eisenhower National Memorial on the National Mall last November.

Grants Support CDU's Mission to Serve the Underserved

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 03:02 PM

In the past year, Catholic Distance University has been the humble recipient of grants that support our mission to share joy from the truth in a digital world with more of the underserved Church.

CDU is thankful to The Our Sunday Visitor Institute, which supported the university’s initiative to update the website and make it truly mobile friendly. CDU is also grateful to The Koch Foundation for a grant to help support our mission diocese scholarship program that offers students serving mission dioceses a graduate education to share with others.

CDU has enrolled more than 1,350 incarcerated Catholics in Catholic continuing education since Easter. This success is due to the Holy Spirit and the incredible support of organizations that share our mission. Grants from the Order of Malta enabled CDU to explore and develop independent faith education courses on a digital platform to reach prisoners. Since the launch of our digital prison ministry, incarcerated enrollment has skyrocketed. With continued focus on our digital prison ministry, in addition to our correspondence prison course program, we estimate that CDU will reach more incarcerated Catholics in the next year than in all of our 35 years of prison service. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston awarded CDU a substantial grant to support service to prisoners and expand our digital platform. The Andreas Foundation and The John C. Fricano Foundation have also contributed funds for new digital course development on prison tablets. Thanks to their generosity, we will also develop digital prison courses in Spanish. We are grateful to these organizations for helping CDU to educate our brothers and sisters behind bars.

We are humbled and blessed to share our online education expertise and resources with the underserved Church. We are especially grateful because we could not fulfill our mission to serve without grant support, donations, and prayers from our friends.

CDU Gala To Celebrate 35 Years of Serving the New Evangelization

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:47 PM

CDU’s gala and graduation convocation mass will be held Saturday, November 3, 2018.

The event will be celebrated at The John Paul II National Shrine at 3900 Harewood Road., NE, Washington, DC. CDU answered the call of St. John Paul II to make the internet a new forum for proclaiming the Gospel, so the Shrine is a perfect location for celebrating our milestone. Guests will enjoy the spectacular John Paul II exhibit. Plus, there is plenty of free parking and valet service available.

In addition to celebrating our graduates and our 35th Anniversary, the Basilica of St. Mary of Alexandria will be acknowledged with the Bishop Welsh Parish Award.

Helen Alvaré will join us for the evening as our emcee.

Join in the excitement of the cocktail reception, dinner and the silent auction. This year, we will feature trips from our non-profit partner AmFund. Celebrate your next special occasion with one of these lifetime adventures:

  • An Alaskan Cruise
  • Champagne and Chateaux in France
  • A Tropical Escape to Costa Rica
  • Greece and The Greek Islands
  • Castles of Ireland
  • James Bond’s Secret European Hideaways
  • San Francisco and the Wine Country
  • Italy’s Amalfi Coast
  • Family Fun in Florida
  • The Pleasures and Treasures of Tuscany

For more information or to RSVP, visit or contact Annie at 304-724-5000 ext. 727 or

CDU Goes the Distance for 35 Years

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:33 PM


This story represents excerpts from the National Catholic Register’s article by Stephen Beale. To read the full article please visit Reprinted with permission from the National Catholic Register © 2018 EWTN News, Inc.

Catholic Distance University, the country’s first and — perhaps still only — exclusively online Catholic university is marking its 35th anniversary this year. This is a testament to the role it continues to play in the landscape of Catholic higher education. Marianne Mount, the president of Catholic Distance University (CDU), said the anniversary has focused the school’s attention on its distinctive mission and identity. “Now, in the words of Pope Francis, CDU is able to reach the peripheries,” Mount said.

Catholic Distance University was founded in 1983 by Bishop Thomas Welsh of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, who recognized a need for the formation of the laity after Vatican II’s teachings on the universal call to holiness and witnessing to Christ in the world.

Today, the school boasts 900 students, four degree programs between the undergraduate and graduate levels, continuing education, certificate programs and a little more than 30 faculty members. Everything comes together on an innovative virtual campus, complete with a digital cafe, where students can meet, and an online chapel, where they can post prayer intentions.

While clergy and lay leaders are well represented in the online campus, the majority of students are business executives, doctors and other professionals who want a better understanding of their faith — contrary to the stereotype of long-distance schools as being only for those whose educations are incomplete. On fire and inspired, 9 out of 10 of CDU’s MA grads use their knowledge to serve the Church.

One current graduate student, Lan Nguyen, is hoping to use her degree to teach the love of God to children in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. She says the courses are both solidly faithful to Church teachings and convenient.

“I was excited to find that CDU has developed a very convenient and flexible online program with a great support system. Each course has introduced to me a different piece of the Church’s doctrine and God’s word, where I then find the truth and authentic love,” Nguyen said. “The thing I love most is having access to my coursework anytime and anywhere, and the staff is wonderful.”

Professors, like students, are busy professionals in roles from Catholic TV commentators and editors to major Catholic organization managers. They are spread out not only all over the country, but across the world. One is a guide at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Another is the founder of a biblical and catechetical institute in the Archdiocese of Hobart in Australia.

“I find CDU has a vibrant learning community that genuinely reflects the universality of the Church,” Nguyen said.

CDU’s faith-filled mission continues unabated. Dr. Peter Brown, the academic dean and a professor in Scripture and biblical languages says: “The 35th anniversary represents not a look back, but a look forward. We’ve grown from a small apostolate that mailed paper courses to curious Catholics to a cutting-edge online university.”

Join the Winter Holy Land Pilgrimage

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:26 PM





Register now for the Winter Holy Land Pilgrimage, being held from December 27 through January 6th. Led by renowned faculty member Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, participants will travel to the land of the Bible and visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, The Via Dolorosa, Jericho, Cana, Galilee, and more! To learn more about the pilgrimage and to register for the trip, email Registration forms and deposits for the trip are due September 24th.

Proclaim the Existence of God

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:22 PM



The reality of God

Join CDU this Fall for our Continuing Education seminar, Proclaiming the Reality of God: Compelling Evidence of God’s Existence, which begins on October 22nd. You will enjoy this three-week online seminar with Instructor Steven R. Hemler, president of the Catholic Apologetics Institute of North America (CAINA) and author of The Reality of God: The Layman’s Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator.

In today’s world, the need to equip Catholics to credibly, convincingly, and compellingly explain and share why we believe in God has never been greater. This apologetics seminar presents compelling scientific evidence, philosophical reasons, and insights drawn from human nature demonstrating God’s existence. Discussion covers the origin, governing laws and properties of the cosmos, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the moral law case of C.S. Lewis. Those who complete this seminar will be able to explain objective reasons for belief in God using evidence from cosmology, physics, biology, human consciousness and conscience, as well as from philosophy and the Genesis creation story.

All Catholics will appreciate this seminar as an opportunity to strengthen their faith and to develop objective and persuasive reasons for belief that are valuable for sharing with those who may doubt the existence of God. This seminar will help attendees better perform the spiritual works of mercy to “counsel the doubtful” and “educate the uniformed.” Sign up today at

ATS Grants Associate Membership to Graduate School

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:17 PM

Catholic Distance University’s Graduate School of Theology was granted associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools at the accrediting agency’s biennial meeting in Denver, Colorado, on June 20th. Associate membership is the first step toward full accreditation by ATS.

Dr. Marianne Mount, President, and Sister Mary Brendon Zajac, board member, attended the meeting. “CDU’s associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools is an incremental fulfillment of the University’s first strategic goal to pursue regional and programmatic accreditation,” says Dr. Mount, who has served the University in a variety of leadership positions since its founding in 1983.

“CDU’s Graduate School of Theology was welcomed as a colleague of more than 270 theological schools that includes most Catholic seminaries in the U.S. CDU is deeply grateful to our hard-working staff and committed Board of Trustees,” she adds. “This accomplishment is especially important for our graduate students and MA graduates.”

Your Prayers Lift Us Up

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 02:10 PM



The official start to our 35th Anniversary began with prayer to Our Lady, who has interceded in so many ways during our history. A Novena to Mary, Teacher of the Apostles, commenced on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, August 22, 2018, exactly 35 years after we opened our doors to the world as a Catholic institute dedicated to teaching the richness and beauty of the Catholic Faith. Our novena, which is posted on the CDU Facebook page, will conclude on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, September 8, 2018. The inspiring novena prayer was composed for CDU by the late Father Frederick M. Jelly, OP, a noted mariological scholar and a distinguished member of our faculty. Our mission is fueled by prayer, so your spiritual support is greatly appreciated.

We invite all who are connected to our beautiful mission to join us in thanking God for accompanying us along this journey of serving the Church’s mission of the New Evangelization. We include our distinguished students and graduates. We greatly appreciate the sacrifices they have made to obtain a CDU education and their extraordinary service of giving back in thanksgiving for their own encounter with the love of Jesus Christ at CDU.

In June I traveled to Denver to participate in the biennial centennial celebration of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), a meeting of the membership of ATS that includes more than 270 schools educating nearly 75,000 students and employing 7,200 faculty and administrators. I witnessed the nomination and unanimous election of CDU’s Graduate School of Theology as an Associate Member of ATS, the first step in earning accreditation, and was confirmed for my second and final term as a member of the Board of Commissioners. We will host ATS’ Dr. Tom Tanner on October 16 for our candidacy visit, the next step in our journey toward full accreditation.

Thank you for your very special novena prayers as we entrust so many important projects for our future to Our Lady, Queen of CDU.

CDU's 35th Anniversary

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 15, 2018 @ 02:47 PM


Marianne Evans Mount, Ph.D.

The recent Feasts of the Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost help us to contemplate the new evangelization and CDU’s mission to serve the Church in fulfilling Christ’s command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you…” (Mt. 28:19-20).

As I reflect today on our upcoming 35th anniversary I am struck by God’s providence in CDU’s history.  As an institution established by a diocesan bishop in 1983 to serve the universal call to holiness of the Second Vatican Council through education and formation worldwide, CDU’s unique instrument was distance education to accompany lay people especially, as well as religious sisters, brothers, and clergy, along their demanding paths of vocation and service. The remarkable stories of our graduates have demonstrated the power of the transformative encounter with God’s word, using technology to connect teachers and learners rather than classrooms and campuses. We had no idea then that distance education would soon discover the internet, mobile technology, and digital networks as instruments for the new evangelization.

While CDU’s method was viewed by many with suspicion, our talented students continued to enroll because they knew CDU was the only option that would enable them to serve the Church. Today, not surprisingly, there are very few colleges and universities that have not jumped into the competitive world of online education. They have discovered what CDU has known all along: that in the world of adult learning, the online student experience has distinct advantages, especially in the field of theological education and faith formation. 

CDU remains the only Catholic university whose singular focus and expertise for 35 years has been to serve students at a distance who graduate with hearts to serve and a desire to give back.  In the words of Pope Francis, “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life” (#49, The Joy of the Gospel).

Thank you for making 35 years a gift of grace for thousands and thousands of brothers and sisters throughout the world who continue to be touched by our graduates who have been transformed in the love and truth of Jesus Christ at a University “new in ardor, new in expression, and new in methods,” the vision of St. John Paul II for the new evangelization in 1983.