CDU Blog

Theology of the Body is a Game Changer for Youth in Belize

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Sep 14, 2021 @ 02:26 PM

Gian Parham (BA in Theology, 2021) of Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize, teaches adults and youth in two Catholic high schools and also serves as national coordinator of the Theology of the Body (TOB) teachers’ training program.

As national coordinator, Gian promotes the TOB program in all of Belize’s Catholic Schools. He has conducted workshops with all administrators and principals about the need for the TOB and conducts ongoing training sessions with school faculty and staff. TOB clubs are now being established at
Belizean high schools that will be led by trained youth leaders as well.

“Girls are learning that they are valuable and worth waiting for. They have
learned they deserve respect and true, authentic, sacrificial love because of
their God-given dignity,” he says. “The young men are realizing that the image
of manhood society is illustrating is a false one. They are learning that true
men must grow in virtue in order to die to self and protect the women around
them, first and foremost from themselves. Young men are being challenged
to grow in responsibility and to love in an authentic way.” He points out that
TOB is not just helping to reduce teenage pregnancies in Belize, but it is also helping to lower the abortion rate.

Gian has been married for 24 years and is blessed with two beautiful children. During the day, Gian teaches English Literature and TOB to seniors at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School. At night, he teaches adults Computer Science and TOB at Saint Ignatius High School Evening Division.

“For me, teaching is not a job. It is a passion, a vocation, something I am
called to do,” Gian says, adding that he is truly blessed to share his God-given
gifts with both the teens and adult students he has come to love. “The joy that
comes from interacting with the young as they search for what is true, good,
and beautiful is deeply moving."

“Many of the teenagers I work with are living destitute lives, and having
made my own journey through the fire, I am humbled that God would use
me as a witness and beacon of hope that ‘with him all things are possible.'"

“I am grateful to be, as St. Theresa of Calcutta puts it, ‘but a pencil in the
hand of God,’” Gian says.

“I am proud to be named among the alumni of CDU! Gaudium de Veritate!”
he adds.

Student & Alumni News

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Sep 14, 2021 @ 02:14 PM

Grad Publishes Guide to Christian History Rudiments of Christian History: An Outline of Persons, Events, and Teachings is a new book by Michael Petruzzelli (MA in Religious Studies, 2001), an educator who holds several degrees and taught theology at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., for 10 years. The book was published in April by Christian Publishing, Inc.
Written in the format of an informal outline, Petruzzelli’s book presents a summary of some of the major topics of the 2,000-year+ span of Christian history. He provides various interpretations of causal relationships of key events, insight regarding historical persons who significantly impacted the course of Christian history, and a concise explanation of basic Christian teachings and theologies. You can review a synopsis of the book on YouTube or purchase the book in bookstores or on Amazon.

Alumnus to Be Ordained a Deacon Recent graduate Asadur M Minasian, who earned his MA degree in Theology in July 2021, will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons by His Excellency Bishop Mikael Mouradian, Eparch of the Armenian Catholics in the U.S. and Canada. The event will take place at St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, September 12.

Let the Perpetual Light Shine upon Her After a life filled with blessings, CDU graduate May Gay Moore, 78, entered eternal life on August 11, 2021. A wife and mother, May’s greatest interest and passion was her Catholic faith. She taught CCD and in the RCIA program at the Little Creek Catholic Chapel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Theology at age 64, an accomplishment of which she was immensely proud.




“Best for Vets” Recommends CDU

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Thu, Sep 09, 2021 @ 02:50 PM

The Military Times “Best for Vets” list, the largest and most comprehensive ranking of colleges for military service members and veterans, helps them make important educational decisions. CDU made the list this year and is ranked
above The Catholic University of America and Mount St. Mary’s University in the
private, non-profit category. CDU is truly a great value!


October Seminar Focuses on the Art of Evangelization

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Thu, Sep 09, 2021 @ 02:32 PM


Allan F. Wright, an author, professor and international speaker, has a passion for scripture and the Catholic faith. A popular guest on Relevant Radio and host of a show on Radio Maria, he will instruct a three-week online seminar, The Art of Evangelization through Apologetics, October 4-25. Gain the confidence to share the Gospel in an engaging and natural way and appreciate why being a credible believer is the most effective apologetic tool. Sign up today!

From Our President

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Thu, Sep 09, 2021 @ 02:25 PM



August 2021 has been noteworthy at CDU not only because of our 38th Anniversary on August 22nd, but in particular because of the press release issued by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education on August 3rd: Vatican Releases Rules for Online Learning for Ecclesiastical Universities.

We at CDU knew that the Congregation for Catholic Education was preparing recommendations for Pope Francis regarding the use of distance education in ecclesiastical universities. During a brief visit to Rome in late November 2017, I met with Archbishop Zani and his staff to share our expertise in online teaching pedagogies and student support. I am sure that the continuing developments in distance learning at the Vatican reflect the positive contributions of CDU.

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Constitution Veritatus Gaudium (December 8, 2017), reflects his commitment to educating the peripheries including prisoners, migrants, the homeless, monks and contemplative nuns, and even busy bishops. This echoes CDU’s mission to serve the underserved and to educate the hearts of those who serve them. Those of us privileged to work at CDU for many years have marveled at our inclusive learning community and the students who find their way to us. The first graduate degree awarded by CDU, around the Jubilee Year 2000, went to a French woman in Paris who uses a wheelchair for mobility and has since earned her doctorate. CDU has awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees to prison inmates through our correspondence curriculum and educated a number of contemplative nuns, brothers, and priests through our online MA degree program in Theology. Today we have a growing pastoral MA degree program for Catholic educators and directors of religious education that is offered completely online and in service to dioceses, especially the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Holy Spirit Institute.

In the words of Archbishop Zani, “There are many professionals who would like to acquire some theological, philosophical, or anthropological formation, and they are knocking on the doors of our institutions; we can’t ask them to attend like young students who are just beginning their academic journey.”

CDU is at home in the digital world. We congratulate our students and graduates who accepted the invitation to be pioneers with us in Catholic higher education. They reflect the power of CDU’s theological education that educates the human person with rigor and holistic formation, yet offers the freedom and flexibility that is essential today.

New Theology Courses for Fall!

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:43 PM

THEO 419-619 Theology of Aquinas

This new Theology of Aquinas course, instructed by Father Bevil Bramwell OMI, PhD, is a basic introduction to the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas. By looking at the backgrounds of some of the concepts that he uses along with selected articles from the Summa Theologica, his most well-known work, the student will be able to glimpse how Aquinas developed the explanations and arguments in his thought. The course includes biographical material as well as the historical material that will help make the early medieval period more comprehensible.

HUM 260 THEO 290-590 - Theology of Sacred Architecture

CDU’s new Theology of Sacred Architecture course is an introduction to the history, theology, and symbolism of Catholic sacred architecture that focuses on how the development of Catholic sacred architecture and theology has affected the shape, configuration, and use of the Catholic church throughout various architectural styles and eras. It will follow this development from Pagan and Old Testament ideas of sacred architecture throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Counter-Reformation, and Vatican II. The course will give an overview of the various declarations of the Church regarding the construction and symbolism of the church edifice. Undergraduates will be able to apply it towards either their humanities requirements or theology electives. Graduates will be able to apply the course towards their theology electives.

The course is taught by Erik Bootsma, who was trained in the classical liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College’s great books program. He became interested in the philosophy of architecture and aesthetics. This philosophy was the foundation upon which he completed his architectural education with a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Summer Apologetics Seminar Answers Crucial Questions

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:41 PM

Why does the Church still matter today? Why are the sacraments important? Why go to Mass? Many people today consider themselves to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” Surveys show that over half of American adults do not regularly attend church, and only 20% of Catholics born after 1970 attend Mass. Surprisingly, about two-thirds of those who do not attend church believe that God exists and consider themselves to be Christian, yet they see little value in attending Mass. This likely includes some of your own family and friends. Therefore, the need to equip Catholics to credibly, convincingly, and compellingly explain and share why we need the Church, the sacraments, and the Mass has never been greater.

Why Do We Need the Church?, offered July 19th to Aug. 9th, 2021, will help us respond to this growing trend by exploring key reasons why active involvement in the life of the Church, especially the Mass, is Christ’s will for his followers. Register today. 

New Chairman Elected to Head Board of Trustees

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:33 PM


Stephen D. Pryor was elected to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees effective March 15, 2021. He succeeds Dr. Charles R. Wasaff, the Board’s first lay chairman.

A highly accomplished business executive with a long history of service to the Church and Catholic organizations, Mr. Pryor brings a wealth of experience and visionary leadership to the role of chairman. He retired as president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company in 2015 after more than 43 years of ExxonMobil service.

Mr. Pryor is a trustee emeritus of Lafayette College and former vice chair of the board. He is a director and retiring board chair of The Immokalee Foundation and a director of the Foundation for Government Accountability. He earned a BA in Biology from Lafayette College and an MBA from Harvard University.

Systematic Theologian Joins Faculty

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:30 PM


We are excited to welcome Martin X. Moleski, S.J., Ph.D., to the faculty. Dr. Moleski, a Jesuit priest, educator, and author, holds a Ph.D. in Theology from The Catholic University of America. He taught for 30 years at Le Moyne College in Syracuse and Canisius College, winning tenure and promotion to full professor. He currently works as an assistant to the editors of Biblica and Orientalia at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

He has authored three books: Personal Catholicism, Michael Polanyi (with William T. Scott), and Judging Religion Justly. He was a weekly host of “Calling All Catholics,” a one-hour broadcast on affiliates of The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio, for seven years.

Dr. Moleski specializes in Catholic Systematic Theology and World Religions. In addition to the Ph.D., his extensive education includes a B.A. in English from Boston College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), an MA in Philosophy from Fordham University, and an M.Div. and S.T.B. from Regis College, University of Toronto. He recently taught PHIL 340 See for Yourself: An Introduction to Epistemology.

Paul Schott Stevens Appointed to Board of Trustees

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:28 PM


Join us in welcoming Paul Schott Stevens, who was appointed to the Board of Trustees in March. He brings many years of strategic leadership, financial expertise, and commitment to our Faith to our esteemed Board of Trustees and will be an asset as CDU embarks on its new strategic plan. He retired in 2020 after more than 16 years as president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute (ICI), the global association of regulated funds whose members manage some $35 trillion on behalf of more than 100 million shareholders. During this time, he also served as a director of ICI Mutual Insurance Co. and of the ICI Education Foundation. From 2014-2017, he was chairman of the International Investment Funds Association. Stevens was general counsel of ICI from 1993-1997.

Outside of ICI, Stevens has had a varied career in private law practice as corporate counsel and in government service. He was a leader in the financial services practice of Dechert LLP, an international law firm, and senior vice president and chief counsel for mutual funds and international enterprise at Charles Schwab & Co. He was Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Ronald Reagan, who appointed him as the first Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) and subsequently as head of the NSC’s policy and support staff. At the conclusion of his government service, Stevens received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, DoD’s highest civilian decoration.

Over the course of his career, Stevens has been committed to a wide range of professional, church, cultural, and community activities. He chaired the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He was resident in Japan in 1990 as a US-Japan Leadership Fellow. He has served on the boards of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and of the community foundation ACT for Alexandria. He is a long-time member of the Life Guard Society of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. For 11 years he was a member of the Finance Council of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and served as chair of the Council’s investment committee. Currently he is a trustee of Catholic Investment Services; a member of the Finance & Investment Committee of the Federal Association of the Order of Malta; a director of the Eisenhower Foundation; and a member of the national advisory board of his alma mater, Jesuit High School of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Stevens received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. Stevens and his wife Joyce have been married for more than 40 years. They have four sons and live in Alexandria, Virginia.