CDU Blog

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.


CDU Gala 2018

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 04:53 PM

gala 2018

        The 2018 Gala is November 3, 2018 at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.


Parish Awardee

Basilica of St. Mary, Alexandria, Virginia


Helen Alvaré



Graduate Denise Spivey’s Research on Pope Francis' Message is Fascinating and Informative

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 04:42 PM


Denise Spivey

The new issue of Digital Continent is now available at!  Read the Master of Arts (Theology) thesis of Denise Spivey, Pope Francis' Key to a Life of Witness to Obedience Is Mercy. Readers will learn how individuals and experiences in Pope Francis' formative years shaped his mission and message of God's love and mercy. This fascinating thesis is just one example of the theological research conducted by students in CDU’s MA in Theology program. Digital Continent is a web-based magazine dedicated to CDU's MA students and their outstanding efforts at amateur theological scholarship. The theses published are the culmination of years of careful study of the Word of God and the sources of Sacred Tradition. 


CDU Alumni Update

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 04:35 PM

Fidel grad alumni certificateWe must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly … but encourage one another.”  Hebrew 10:24-25

We continue to build enthusiasm in our alumni community and encourage one another on our faithful journeys. We hope all of our graduates have received their lifetime membership certificates, which were mailed in March.

Your ideas and feedback are essential to the Alumni Association Committee. We want to understand your needs and plan  resources and activities accordingly.  We are grateful for the valuable information received from the spring email survey and are eager to hear from more of you.  We hope you will share your thoughts with us.

If you are a graduate who has not received an alumni association certificate or survey, please contact to be added to our alumni communications email list.

We have the opportunity to gather together at the annual gala on November 3, 2018, where an academic convocation Mass will be held for recent graduates.  The event will be held in Washington, DC, at the St. John Paul II National Shrine.  Save the date. We hope to see you there!

As a faith-centered alumni community, we are stronger together.  Reconnect with CDU today.

A Sample of Summer Reads by CDU Faculty

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 04:30 PM


The Word of the Lord: 7 Essential Principles for Catholic Scripture

Catholic Bible Study by Steven C. Smith, PhD

little book fo big frontiers

 The Little Book of Big Frontiers: Rediscovering the Lost Realms of Christianity 

by Father John E. Worgul, PhD 

Most Christians are unaware that there is such a thing as a biblical cosmology. That is, we do not have a clear idea of the whole of creation, both visible and invisible, its parts and realms, and how they fit together. The Little Book of Big Frontiers intends to make the complex issue of cosmology understandable.


sacraments - bramwell

The World of the Sacraments: The Catholic Theology of the Sacraments

by Father Bevil Bramwell, OMI, PhD

The World of the Sacraments is an undergraduate level textbook designed to offer both the basic philosophical and theological principles to explain the sacraments as well as an extensive historical survey of the writings about each sacrament and its rites.

 The relaity of God

The Reality of God: The Layman's Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator 

by Steven R. Hemler

In simple, accessible language―and well-supported by scientific experts―author Steven Hemler guides the reader through compelling evidence for the existence of God.


Faith, Science, and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge

by Christopher T. Baglow, PhD

Christopher Baglow takes a different approach--the inclusion of science in a theology textbook for the purpose of rediscovering faith on the frontiers of science. The result is a stunning reconsideration of the relationship that delivers new insights into the Christian Faith while preserving the integrity, and the astounding heritage, of modern science.


 you made us for yourself

You Made Us for Yourself: Creation in St. Augustine's Confessions

by Jared Oritz, PhD

Creation, for Augustine, is an epiphany, a light that reveals who God is and who human beings are. It is not merely one doctrine or theme among others, but is the foundational context which illumines all doctrines and all themes. The Confessions itself can be understood as Augustine's prayer of praise in thanksgiving for the unmerited gift of creation (and re-creation). It is his self gift back to God - a kind of Eucharistic offering intended to take up and bring about the same in his readers.

 a deeper Vision

A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century

by Robert Royal, PhD

Royal presents in a single volume a sweeping but readable account of how Catholic thinking developed in philosophy, theology, Scripture studies, culture, literature, and much more in the twentieth century. This involves numerous great figures, recognized as such both inside and outside the Church.


light on The darkness

The Light Shines on in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)

by Father Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD

Fr. Spitzer not only addresses the perplexing questions associated with suffering but teaches us how to suffer well. He points out some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to interpret God's motives for allowing or alleviating suffering. He demonstrates why suffering – in combination with love – is one of the most powerful motivating agents for personal, cultural, and societal development.



Jacob: His Family and Yours Kindle Edition 

by John Worgul

Jacob; His Family and Yours: Family Dynamics and Spiritual Formation is a work that integrates a literary and exegetical study of the life of Jacob in the Book of Genesis with family systems theory, as well as insights from the great spiritual masters of 2000 years of Church history. The book is meant to show how we grow spiritually in the context of our families, both biological and ecclesial, even “dysfunctional” ones.


Matthew Bunson Saints

Encyclopedia of Saints, Second Edition 

By Matthew Bunson, PhD

Completely indexed and cross-referenced for easy searching, Encyclopedia of Saints is also a fun book to simply browse through and find new saints and blessed you want to get to know!


Holy Spirit - Padgett

Why We Need the Holy Spirit Kindle Edition

by Chris Padgett, PhD

This book explores the the work of the Spirit in the early Church and shows you how this applies to your life today. You will be inspired!


When the Church was Young

When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio Ph.D.

D’Ambrosio dusts off the dry theology and brings you the exciting stories and
great heroes such as Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and
Jerome. This page-turner will inspire and challenge you with the lives and
insights of these seminal teachers from when the Church was young.


Blueprint for personal transofmation steven smith

Living Your Best: A Powerful Blueprint for Personal Transformation

by Steven Smith, Ph.D.