CDU Blog

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.

CDU Students Join Professor for Holy Land Pilgrimage

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 03:56 PM

marcelino and studentsCDU students joined Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in April.

Back row: Jim Brady, Lorrell Brady (student), Dr. Marcelino D’Ambrosio, Gerardo Parada (Student), Lorena Parada. Front row: Eileen Kinsall (student).


Graduate Shares New Revelations on the Shores of Galilee

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 03:48 PM


Jesus spent the majority of his ministry, established his home base, called his disciples, and performed many of the great miracles we read about in Scripture in the Galilee region.

When Father Juan Solana started construction on a guesthouse on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he stumbled across the northern town of Ancient Magdala that launched an archaeological dig.  In 2009, they discovered a First Century Synagogue where it is certain that Jesus taught.  Inside the synagogue they also found four high quality purification baths and The Magdala Stone, a discovery many archaeologists call the most significant archaeological find in the past 50 years.  Last summer, the synagogue of Rom and the Vatican museum held an exhibit of menorah's in art.  The original Magdala stone was one of the central pieces on display due to the menorah being carved on its side.

The Magdala stone is unique in the sense that it was found in the midst of the synagogue, as a central feature.  And it contains various symbols that scholars have interpreted as objects found in the Temple of Jerusalem.  This has led to the conclusion that the Magdala stone is a model of the Temple of Jerusalem, indicating the centrality of the Temple in the lives of Magdala's residents.   

jennifer Ristine photo

Jennifer Ristine (MA 2009), is a consecrated woman of the Regnum Christi Movement and CDU graduate, who serves as Director and spokesperson of the Magdalena Institute.  The institute was established for the promotion of the dignity of the human person, with an emphasis on women.  Jennifer says that she uses her education in her role.  “CDU gave me a good theological foundation and knowledge of sources that I can go back to again and again. When I have organized ecumenical events that involve persons from different faith backgrounds, I am aware of the basic fundamental principles that I want to transmit, that are universally common, yet rooted in revelation and essentially Judeo-Christian values.”

 magdala institute pic

Jennifer oversees tours of the site, integrating archaeological discoveries with history, scripture and prayerful reflections.  They organize day long women's symposiums showcasing women in the Holy Land who exhibit the "feminine genius."   The symposiums invite speakers across religions to show women's contributions to culture and often highlight one particular woman in the bible.  Other activities have included a day-long forgiveness conferences and a day-long spiritual retreats.  Magdala is now open to the public serving pilgrims who come to Galilee to visit these holy sites to deepen their faith experience and grow closer to their risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jennifer says that Magdala discoveries confirm the already commonly held belief that Mary Magdalene was a wealthy woman.  The town has several indications of the presence of a higher social class or wealth.  Scripture scholars have long agreed, from interpretations of Luke 8:2-3, that Mary was a woman of  means to support Jesus and his disciples in their ministry.  Magdala removes the image of Mary Magdalene portrayed in the popular culture: that she was a poor prostitute on the street.  This does not negate the fact that she needed liberation from Jesus, for scriptures tell us that she was "possessed by seven demons." 

Jennifer is sharing her education with others, but she stresses that “CDU isn’t a mere intellectual exercise, the courses are meant to touch our daily lives.  CDU inspires profound Christian living and evangelization of culture that's present in the values of CDU.” 

Aside from her role in the Holy Land, Jennifer is also writing a book to be published this July.  Its title is “Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.”  She requests prayers from her CDU family for this endeavor and also for her work in evangelization. Look for more about Jennifer’s book in the next newsletter.

CDU's DEAC Outstanding Student of the Year

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 03:34 PM


Michael Grasinsky worked in account management when he sensed that God was calling him to a different path. After a long period of discernment, he matriculated at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

“After a year in the seminary, I wanted to finish my BA, but it seemed impossible due to time, money, and location. CDU was a true grace, and it provided the perfect opportunity finish my undergraduate education in the area of greatest interest to me,” he says.

Class discussions helped Michael learn to articulate what he knew, which was sometimes more challenging than he expected. “A true test of what one knows is how simply one can explain it,” he says. “This became a great exercise in learning how to synthesize extremely complex thoughts.”

He now clearly articulates the interplay of faith and reason. “Both faith and reason are necessary, and they in no way negate one another,” he explains.

In an increasingly secular world, theology is useful in responding to contemporary challenges. “We live in a world where man’s fundamental identity has become lost, and it is the practice of theology that can respond to this identity crisis,” Michael says. “Theology explains the deepest yearnings of man’s heart and thus is able to respond to the many challenges facing modern man. Gaudium et Spes explains this perfectly in that theology, as viewed through the lens of the Magisterium, can answer the many questions that trouble man today.”

 “I’m very grateful for my opportunity at CDU,” Michael says. “Coming from a business background, I can see the immense value a school like CDU will continue to have in a world that is quickly changing and lacking orthodox Catholic schools.”

Michael believes “We receive a vocational call from God to bring the light of Christ to others, and at the same time, this mission is a gift.”

Sign Up For A Free Webinar This Summer

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 02:58 PM

webinar art

June: Marriage Today - Register for the webinar here.
June: Do Catholics Still Need St. Thomas Aquinas?
July: Humanae Vitae at 50
August: The Enlightenment and the Catholic Church

Send a request to to be added to our email list for free webinars.

Don't Miss CDU's New Summer Seminar

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 @ 03:08 PM


Why Would a Loving God Allow Evil, Pain, and Suffering?

If God loves us so much and is so powerful, why does He allow us to suffer from the effects of evil human behavior, physical and emotional pain, and natural disasters? This three-week online apologetics seminar looks at how the greatest Christian thinkers of all time have dealt with the problem of pain and the mystery of suffering. This includes exploring why God would allow moral and natural evil, as well as exploring ways suffering can help us find the proper perspective in life.

Personal testimonies, including from the lives of several saints, show how suffering can teach us spiritual truths, build our character, and stimulate growth in sanctity and holiness. Christians are challenged to view suffering and hardship as signs of God’s love as well as opportunities for spiritual growth by focusing on Jesus who experienced pain and suffering himself and deeply cares about the sufferings we undergo. Understanding the purpose of suffering should cause one to become better instead of bitter. As such, this apologetics seminar will support participants as they undertake the Spiritual Works of Mercy to “comfort the afflicted,” “counsel the doubtful,” and “instruct the uninformed.”

 Seminar Topics:

Week One: Why does God allow moral evil (evil human behavior)?

Week Two:  Why does God allow natural evil (earthquakes, disease, etc.)?

Week Three: Does suffering have a useful purpose?

This seminar is the fifth of six seminars in the new continuing education Certificate in Apologetics.  Enroll now at  for this July 23-August 13 seminar.

Bishop Welsh's Coat of Arms

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 @ 03:06 PM


This coat of arms combines (left) the arms of the Diocese of Arlington and that of Bishop Thomas J. Welsh. The large star circled by ten smaller stars signifies Virginia’s entry as the tenth state of the Union. It also represents Mary as “Star of the Sea” and “Star of the Morning.” The horizontal band with scallops is adapted from the shield of Saint Thomas More, a patron saint of the Cathedral. The crescent at the bottom of the shield symbolizes the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, patroness of the United States. On the right, the arrowheads are adapted from the Welsh family coat of arms. The chevron with an arrowhead signifies the Bishop’s patron saint, St. Thomas the Apostle. The crowned “humilitas” is taken from the coat of arms of St. Charles Borromeo, the Philadelphia seminary where Bishop Welsh served as rector. The cross and the three-tiered, tassled green hat are symbolic of the office of Bishop. The motto, “With Mary as Model, Make All Things New,” reflects the past service given the Church by the Blessed Virgin and Saint Charles Borromeo and the present challenge for dynamic renewal.