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Catholic Distance University

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From Our President

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Mar 06, 2020 @ 09:58 AM



The start of a new year should begin with hearts full of gratitude for the many graces of the previous year that have helped build great hope for our dreams in the new year. Our dreams for 2020 began with a move January 15 to a larger campus in Charles Town to accommodate a growing staff and services to a growing student body. One of the most significant additions is a new chapel and a chaplain assigned to CDU from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Father Cody Ford, who will offer Mass for the staff and help to strengthen our identity as a Catholic university. For those of us who have worked at CDU for many years, it was a welcome sight to unveil the altar donated by Bishop Welsh from the Diocese of Allentown in 1994 and the tabernacle donated by the Vice-rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1995.

As many of our students know, the university will host evaluators in March for full programmatic accreditation in theology by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission, our regional accreditor in Chicago, for full regional accreditation in April. We have been working toward these goals for five years while continuing to maintain the accreditation standards of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, our long- time national accreditor since 1986. Students and alumni will participate in these upcoming visits to help ensure accreditors of the quality of a CDU education that meets all the standards of each accreditor and fulfills a beautiful mission that is part of the new evangelization. Our students inspire us to achieve these credentials and confirm their historic accomplishments.

These visits have a historical dimension that has been a driving force among the CDU community, especially the leadership of the Board of Trustees. CDU is the only independent, nonprofit Catholic university that was founded to do distance education exclusively in 1983 and continues that tradition through our fully online programs today.

It reminds me of a compliment by Archbishop Christophe Pierre (Papal Nuncio) who reminded us last year at the 2019 Gala that CDU has broken new ground in education by using technology exclusively for 36 years to reach the underserved with theological education and catechetical formation. As he said, we cannot continue to do things the way we have always done them.

We are praying that 2020 will be the year that CDU breaks new ground as a full regionally and programmatically accredited Catholic university serving students globally, exclusively, and fully online. Please join us with your prayers and continuing resources to help fulfill this dream for CDU and for the Church.

CDU Partners with Shepherd University

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 @ 06:01 PM

On July 23rd Catholic Distance University signed a Memorandum of Understanding and an articulation agreement with Shepherd University, a state university in West Virginia. The agreement allows students who earn CDU’s AA degree in the Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Catholic Studies to continue on at Shepherd University to earn a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree.  Shepherd University’s RBA program was designed to help students work around life’s challenges to earn a bachelor’s degree. CDU expects the program to be particularly attractive to Catholic students in West Virginia, who may choose to earn CDU’s online AA degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic
Studies to save money while living at home and to become better grounded in the faith before heading off to Shepherd University to earn a Bachelor’s degree. At just $305 per credit hour, CDU’s AA degree is an affordable option.

“We are excited about the opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, “and continuing opportunities for our faculty to work together and explore ways of expanding our curriculum. We are thrilled to be working with a state university like Shepherd University.”

Who's Counting?

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 07:05 PM

CDU’s prison ministry program has engaged more than 100,000 prisoners in the past 17 months through digital tablet courses available in 134 prisons around the country. CDU now offers 16 courses in English and 6 courses in Spanish. The most popular courses in English are Christian Prayer and The Gospel of St. Matthew and the top courses in Spanish are The Profession of Faith and Introduction to Scripture and the Gospel. Thanks to your donations, we are able to provide courses to incarcerated students without charge.

Paper-based correspondence courses are also in demand. Serving an average of 175 courses per year by mail, CDU is embarking on a major program to update all of its academic correspondence courses to serve this growing population, enabling incarcerated students to earn degrees and certificates while behind bars.

We thank The John C. Fricano Foundation for recently awarding a prison ministry program grant. Your prayers and support make a measureable impact in the lives of many of the underserved. If you are interested in supporting our prison ministry program, give us a call, tell a friend, and keep us in your prayers.

CDU Supporters to Gather at Gala in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 07:00 PM

The Annual Gala in our 36th Year is the occasion to celebrate the leadership of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Holy Father’s personal representative to the United States, and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Archbishop Pierre reminds us frequently of the dream of Pope Francis for a missionary Church that fosters a culture of encounter— willing to put out into the deep for a great catch!

The Diocese of Brooklyn under the leadership of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is a rich and diverse ecclesial community, in the words of Pope Francis, “A People of many Faces” (EG, 115-118). Their commitment to the New Evangelization reflects a passion for missionary discipleship through sound lifelong education and formation as a partner with Catholic Distance University.

The Gala took place on Saturday, November 16th, at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. The Board of Trustees, hosts, friends, graduates, staff, and faculty all gathered to celebrate all the support and blessings of CDU’s journey.

Our Gala Chair was the Honorable Susan R. Malone. We are grateful for our hosts, Dr. Charles R. Wasaff and The Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, and the Host Committee.

Giests enjoyed the museum and beautiful mosaics, then participated in an Academic Convocation Mass at the Redemptor Hominis Church followed by a Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction with exciting Amfund Bucket-list vacations.

The gala is our largest annual event andfundraiser. For more information, visit or contact Annie Hager at

Spring Holy Land Pilgrimage

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 06:54 PM

Join graduate professor Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio for a Catholic Holy Land
pilgrimage that will take you to the land of the Bible, from where Jesus began his
earthly life in the town of Bethlehem to following in his final footsteps on the Via
Dolorosa. You will visit many places in between, including Cana, Jericho, and Galilee. Space is limited, so don’t miss this opportunity! For more information and to register, see

CDU Is Expanding

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 06:48 PM

With record-level student enrollment, and candidacy with the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools, CDU is preparing to soar. Please help us welcome our new staff members. CDU graduate Mary Kate Payne is our Student Life Coordinator, helping to support and engage students on the online campus. Also joining the team are Scott Hughes as Chief Information Officer, Robert White as Chief Operations and Administrative Officer, and Dr. Marie Nuar as Faculty Chair. Please pray for our continued growth and success in sharing joy from the truth. Big news! We are relocating our administrative office to a larger building near our current location in Charles Town at the end of November. Our new address will be 300 South George Street, Charles Town, WV, 25414.

CDU Welcomes New Advisory Board

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 06:09 PM


CDU has launched a new Advisory Board to help guide the future of online
Catholic education. The vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Most
Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, JCD, serves as chairman of the Advisory Board. The
team will advise the Board of Trustees on the fulfillment of CDU’s educational
objectives, facilitate communications with the Catholic community and other
Catholic institutions, provide guidance on operational affairs as well as special
initiatives and partnerships, and assist in securing the resources needed to
support initiatives.

CDU’s Advisory Board members include Helen Alvaré, JD, professor at the
Scalia Law School at George Mason University; Mary Pat Donoghue, executive
director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops; Franz Hartl, JD, web development manager at Yale
University; Tom Reidy, president and CEO of Avalon Consulting, LLC;
Dr. Matthew Shank, president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent
Colleges; and Reverend Robert J. Spitzer, president of the Magis Center.

Alumni Authors

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 05:49 PM

Therese Linden

Former Student Publishes Faith-based Novels

The more Theresa Linden studied the faith while taking CDU’s Catechetical Diploma courses in the early 2000s, the more she fell in love with it and wanted to share this treasure with others. Bringing various elements of the faith to life in her stories, she hopes to leave readers longing for more. Each story brings the Catholic faith to the challenges we face daily in today’s culture.

Theresa’s first supernatural thriller, Tortured Soul, was published in May. While most of her books are written for young adults, this story is geared toward adults. Set in upstate New York in modern times, it is inspired by the apparitions of souls in purgatory to modern-day mystic Eugenie von der Leyen (1867-1929, Germany). Linden says, “I wrote this story because I believe that few in our day pray for the souls in purgatory, some because they don’t believe in purgatory, others because they don’t think about it.” Theresa says that through her story, she hopes to remind people about these souls and to increase the awareness that we can help them with our prayers.

Theresa has 10 published novels available at


CDU Graduate Publishes Thesis

Graduate Dr. Araceli Carnazzo’s MA thesis, "The Mystery of Human Suffering as Revealed to Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, OLM," has been accepted for serial publication in The Angels Magazine, which has an international audience. A book based on her thesis is also in publication.


New Board Members Are Welcomed

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 04:30 PM

CDU is blessed with great leadership, and our Board of Trustees is instrumental to our success. We are grateful to welcome the following new trustees.



Hugh M Dempsey, D.Ed, KMOb, a resident of Washington, DC has spent decades in the not-for-profit arena building and sustaining programs nationally and internationally in fields as varied as biomedical research, Catholic academia, arts preservation and restoration and economic development and humanitarian aid in the Middle East. He currently serves on the boards of the Dominican House of Studies, St. Luke Institute, the USCCB Task Force on the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults and is the Vice Regent of the Order of Malta’s Subpriory of Our Lady of Lourdes.


alan holmer
Mr. Alan F. Holmer, a resident of McLean, Virginia, is Chairman of Corbus Pharmaceuticals based in Norwood, Massachusetts. Previously he served as CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Deputy U.S. Trade Representative with rank of Ambassador; and the Treasury Department’s Special Envoy for China and the Strategic Economic Dialogue. Alan is Treasurer and Board Member of Catholic Charities; President of the St. Luke Parish Council; Director of Food for the Hungry; and Co-Chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Celebrity Tennis Gala. He is an honors graduate of Princeton University and received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.


Dr. Clarion E. Johnson is a resident of Chevy Chase Maryland. He is a Cardiologist and graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine. He served as the medical director for the Global ExxonMobile Corporation and is renowned for his published research. Among his many medical board and society positions, he served on the Board of the National Library of Medicine, Advisory Board of the Yale University School of Public Health, and was appointed Chairman of the Joint Commission Resources and Joint Commission International. He is a Diplomat for the Board of Internal Medicine and held the rank of Major in the U.S. Military.


Mrs. Mary Noel Page graduated from Hackensack Hospital School of Nursing and practiced Medical-Surgical Nursing in New Jersey and Virginia. She married William J. Page of Washington, D.C., and raised a family with four married children and nine grandchildren. Invested into the Sovereign Military and Hospitable Order of Malta as a Dame of Magistral Grace, she served many years as a Malade Coordinator for the annual Order of Malta Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Mary Noel brings a compassionate heart and leadership experience serving on
Boards of Trustees for Providence Hospital Foundation, Washington, D.C., Chestnut Hill College, Mount Saint Mary’s University, RENEW International, and Saint Luke Institute.

Please help us welcome these distinguished executives to our Board and pray for their leadership in service to our mission.

Dr. Joseph Braddock, Dr. Angelo Giardino, Dr. Margaret Melady, and Mrs. Barbara Murphy have retired from the Board of Trustees. We are especially thankful that they remain active in the CDU community and will continue to serve us with their knowledge and skills.

Are You Equipped to Explain and Share the Faith?

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 @ 03:44 PM

The need to strengthen the faith of Catholics and equip the faithful to better explain and share the Faith has never been greater.

Don't miss these three new apologetics seminars offered in 2020 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.

Proclaiming the Reality of God: Compelling
Evidence of God’s Existence (Jan. 13 – Feb. 3)

Making the Case for Christ (July 6 – 27)

Why Would a Loving God Allow Evil, Pain,
and Suffering? (Oct. 12 – Nov. 2)

All three apologetics seminars are being offered to you at a special package price of only $299 total. A $495 value for just $299! Be sure to take advantage of this now before January 13!

These 3-week-long online seminars are accessible from anywhere in the world and will strengthen your faith and equip you to better explain and share with family and friends why Catholics believe what we do about Jesus, salvation, and the Church. Visit and sign up today.