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.