CDU Blog

CDU's Largest Gala In Five Years Was An Inspiration For All!

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


Catholic Distance University’s friends, supporters, trustees, faculty members, and recent graduates gathered for the annual gala on November 4, 2017, at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, VA. Father Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD, was awarded the Founders Award, CDU’s greatest honor, “for his great heart and zeal as a scientist and for helping all of God’s children find their path to God through science.”

 In today’s increasingly secular world, Father Spitzer explained, many young people are leaving religion behind. Many cannot reconcile faith with fact-based science, which is increasingly--though wrongly--seen as contradicting religion. Father Spitzer spoke about misperceptions of the dichotomy between faith and science. “Faith and science are in no way contradictory,” he explained.

 The Bishop Thomas J. Welsh Award was awarded to two parishes for the continuing support of their pastors and the enrichment of the parish community through CDU: St James the Greater Church of Charles Town, WV, and St. Veronica’s Church of Chantilly, VA.

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 Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, Bishop Emeritus of Arlington and a member of the CDU Board of Trustees, hosted the event. Catherine Szeltner, host of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, served as Master of Ceremonies, and Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, delivered welcome remarks. The evening began with an Academic Convocation Mass recognizing CDU’s 2017 undergraduate and graduate degree recipients, a number of whom travelled from across the country to attend the event. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA, Chancellor of the university, served as principal celebrant and homilist. Bishop Paul S. Loverde served as principal concelebrant, and Rev. Msgr. Dennis Kuruppaserry, First Counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature, delivered the Invocation.

 Save November 3 on your calendar so that you do not miss CDU’s 2018 Gala!


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Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 03:02 PM

Kathy Vestermark.jpg

MA graduate Kathy Vestermark now serves as Director of Student Life and Retention at Catholic Distance University.  She is also an undergraduate Professor teaching The Four Constitutions of Vatican II and The Catechism of the Catholic Church I & II.

Cecile Kasberg.jpg

Cecile Kasberg, a recent MA graduate, is teaching Theology to freshmen and sophomores at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.  She loves sharing our Faith with teenagers. She says, “I would never have the confidence to evangelize and catechize if I hadn’t gone to CDU.” I in addition to teaching, she is a core team member for RCIA at her parish, St. Simon the Apostle.

Gayle DiNicola, who received a Bachelor's in Theology from CDU, shares her faithful knowledge with others.  She became a certified Catechist in the Archdiocese of New York and served as a sixth grade Catechist, eventually accepting the RCIA Coordinator position.  While caring for her aging parents, she transitioned to an Adult Confirmation Instructor role for the northern counties of the Archdiocese of New York.

joe wetterling.jpg

Joe Wetterling, a graduate of the Catechetical Diploma program, is in his second year as the President of the Catholic Writers Guild, an international non-profit organization that supports Catholic writers, illustrators, and editors. He created a natural Theology class for Holy Apostles College and is part of the Catholic Scholar program at the Dominican Institute.

Adele Huculak, an MA graduate, is studying for an MS in Mental Health Clinical Counseling at Divine Mercy University.

Spring Holy Land Pilgrimage Offered For Academic Credit

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 03:01 PM

The Spring Holy Land Pilgrimage will be held April 16-26, 2018.  Led by renowned faculty member Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, participants will travel to the land of the Bible and visit Jerselum, Bethlehem, The Via Dolorosa, Jericho, Cana, Galilee, and more!  To learn more about the pilgrimage and to register for the trip, email

Students who wish to participate in the pilgrimage and earn academic credit should rgister for course THEO 598 in the Winter II 2018 term.  Classes begin on March 5.  Email to enroll in the course today!

listening to the speakers at the Church of the Paster Noster, or Our Fat....jpgChurch of Pastor Noster. Our Father prayer in hundreds of languages.

There is no better place to study the four canonical gospels than where the drama of salvation took place.  The holy places in the land where the Savior walked speak so powerfully of the work of redemption that the land is rightly called “the fifth gospel.”  The learning in this course will primarily take place over ten days in the Holy Land.  Prior to and subsequent to the trip, there will be fascinating readings and online discussion that will be the basis for a term paper to be submitted at the end of the 8-week class.  The primary goal of this interdisciplinary course is to give students insight into the Bible that can only be captured by being in the land.  Secondarily, students will learn about the Fathers of the Church, including Origen, Eusebius, Justin, Jerome, and Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived and wrote in the Holy Land.  Because travel in the Holy Land will bring students face-to-face with the Crusades and Muslim-Christian relations, they will learn about Church history and interreligious dialogue.  The course will count as a theology, scripture, or church history elective, based on the topic a student selects for his or her course paper.

Everything Is Growing At CDU ... Except Tuition!

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 03:01 PM

According to the College Board’s most-recent trend analysis, tuition and fees at private, nonprofit four-year institutions rose by 3.6% to $34,740 on average from 2017 to 2018.  In contrast, CDU continues to freeze tuition to serve and support future leaders of the Church.  While costs continue to rise, generous supporters help make it possible to hold down tuition rates for our students.  Unlike traditional brick and mortar colleges, all donations directly impact our students’ education rather than underwriting real estate, maintenance, or campus costs.

 Perhaps CDU’s focus on delivering a faithful, convenient, comprehensive and affordable  Catholic education online, anytime, anywhere, and on any device is why enrollment continues to boom in every category.

In the 2017 academic year, graduate enrollments grew 12% and undergraduate enrollments grew 11% over the previous year.  Likewise, continuing education course enrollments were up 16%, webinar participation increased 54%, and prison course enrollments exploded 47%.   Thanks to God’s blessing and your help, CDU continues to reach more Catholics and “Teach all nations.”

New Courses Excite New Students And Meet New Needs

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 03:00 PM

HUM 328. Introduction to Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam


Like Christianity, Judaism and Islam share a common origin in the Middle East and are considered Abrahamic religions. Despite their shared beginnings, the two religions diverge in how they answer the great questions, and relations between adherents of the two religions have been tense for centuries. HUM 328 will introduce the key moral framework and concepts of Judaism and Islam and how they relate to Catholicism.  By reading foundational texts, students will come to understand these religions as they understand themselves and gain a greater appreciation of their contributions to the world in which we live.

Humanities 253. A Global Civilization


A Global Civilization, taught by esteemed faculty member Dr. Charles Rieper, is the third of three undergraduate survey courses covering the totality of Western history. The course traces the development of Western Civilization from the Enlightenment to the era of the war on terror and globalization in the 21st century. Dr. Rieper will guide students through significant periods of western history including the emergence of the Enlightenment and Age of Absolutism, the French Revolution, the birth of the United States, the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression and World Wars, the Cold War, and the modern era, which has brought momentous change.

English 110. Introduction to Literature for Theology


Introduction to Literature for Theology is an exciting new course that teaches the basics of reading, interpreting, and classifying stories and understanding what gives good literature its enduring power. The course is also designed to rekindle the lost art of literary imagination and to teach Catholics how to harness the power of stories to understand and share the Faith in meaningful and effective ways with a world that, despite its best efforts, cannot escape from suffering, doubt, and longing for meaning and beauty.  Learn to express yourself and literary ideas from a Catholic perspective.

Philosophy 315. Metaphysics
Enroll Now in this Winter II Course!

This course will introduce students to the philosophy of being by means of a thematic and historical approach. Topics include the following: the nature of metaphysical inquiry; Plato’s theory of forms; the basic categories of being; properties common to all beings; the analogy of being; substance, accident, essence, and existence; the problem of the one and the many; individuation; knowing God; and the nature of evil.

Coming Soon! Mathematics for Liberal Studies and Sacred Architecture

Reaching The Ends Of The Earth

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 03:00 PM

CDU-President_Marianne-Evans-Mount.jpgby CDU President Marianne Evans Mount, PhD

As I reflect on our beautiful mission to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world, the start of a new year is a special moment to thank God for the amazing journey of 2017 and share with you some of our plans for 2018 that give us great hope for the future.

CDU is thrilled to welcome more students. While many public and private colleges missed enrollment targets in 2017, CDU grew enrollments by 11.5%. Despite rising expenses, our Board has resisted raising tuition. Very affordable tuition rates are important to our graduates because 9 out of 10 serve the Church. Continuing adult education and webinar attendance have also grown, but our prison ministry, a gift to the incarcerated Church, has increased enrollments by 46%! I am inspired by a growing number of donors who support CDU’s education of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. The Order of Malta recently awarded a $25,000 grant to CDU to load our course content on a new tablet approved for use in prisons.

Some of our recent enhancements include Federal Financial Aid, new courses and faculty, and a growing theological library. Our staff now includes our dynamic theological librarian, Sister Rebecca, and Professor Kathy Vestermark who, in addition to teaching in the BA program, is director of student life and retention to help support students who fall behind in classes.

Our strategic vision reflects a commitment to regional and programmatic accreditation, in addition to maintaining our current accreditation with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Fulfilling CDU’s Strategic Plan will enhance the value of a CDU credential for our graduates and demonstrate the effectiveness of our educational model through enhanced accreditation and the “joy from the truth” that comes from the encounter with the living word of God through our fidelity to the Church.

A new and inviting website ( was a perfect start to the new year! The new website is optimized for mobile devices and offers fresh and streamlined content with easy navigation. We welcome the world through this beautiful gateway into the intellectual richness and warmth of the CDU community.

You will hear a great deal in 2018 about the launch of a Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign to ensure that “joy from the truth” reaches the ends of the Earth through CDU, whose educational model fulfills Christ’s command to “Teach all nations,” especially the underserved. This beautiful path forward inspires all of us as the new year begins.

A Letter To Alumni

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 02:59 PM


Let me be the first to welcome all graduates of Catholic Distance University’s academic and continuing education certificate programs to our Alumni Association.  As a graduate, CDU considers you family.  We want to stay connected to encourage you and walk side-by-side with you on your journey.  The newly formed Alumni Association is dedicated to strengthening and working in partnership with the University to connect, support, and coordinate the global network of graduates in promoting the mission of the University and the Church Community for the glory of God.

The Alumni Association Committee plans to provide educational and spiritual support to alumni through CDU resources; foster a global communication network among the alumni to spread the good news of CDU to the Church and the world; encourage participation in programs to enhance your overall welfare; create camaraderie, sisterhood, and fraternal relationships among its members to promote full support and cooperation with CDU’s programs; develop goal-directed and structured activities that foster personal, social, and spiritual transformation as Christian-Catholics within the University, the Church, and the Community; promote awareness, concern, and commitment for Church Community issues as well as coordinate with the University administration to support and provide assistance to the University and the Church Community as projects are defined and agreed upon by the general membership.

 We hope that you will take advantage of immediate CDU resources like the new mobile-friendly website to serve more Catholics across the globe.  The Alumni page is growing and ever-changing as we listen to you and respond to your needs.  Enjoy continued access privileges to our online campus, library resources and faculty, network support, community boards and graduate thesis research through Digital Continent.  You may also take advantage of free webinars, discounted seminars and alumni courses or conferences that will be offered.  Contact Annie Hager at for more information.

We invite you to join us in our timely mission.  CDU, the world’s first fully online Catholic university, is embarking on a bold plan to fulfill God’s command to “Teach all nations.”  

Unlike most traditional universities, CDU will not be asking you to beautify our campus, to build a new stadium, or even promote a mascot.   We are asking for your testimonials, ideas, prayers, support, and community to strengthen CDU and pave the way for others to learn the Truth of our Faith.  We are hoping that you cheer us on, pray boldly, refer your friends and local church to CDU resources, share your triumphs, help each other live as an example of your faithful education, and support the University so that CDU can remain affordable and expand its reach.  Our vision is to bring you value while directly influencing the growth and effectiveness of the University for others in need. 

We are proud of our alumni and hope to connect with you soon.


Free CDU Webinars For 2018

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 02:58 PM


Free CDU webinars are hot. Webinar participation grew 54% in 2017, and interest continues to escalate. CDU is honored to offer the free opportunity to learn more about the Faith and interact with university experts on topics of interest to the faithful. If you wish to participate, join our email list by contacting If you missed a previous webinar, you can find them posted on our new mobile website.

Several thousand people listen to the webinars on our website or on You Tube. The two most popu­lar are What Luther Got Right and Wrong In the Reformation and The Church’s Best Kept Secret: Catholic Social Teaching. If you have a long commute or an hour of quiet time, listen in!

Look for Webinars on Thomas Aquinas and The Passion in March at

 New Summer Seminar
“Why Would a Loving God Allow Evil, Pain and Suffering?”
July 23 – August 13
Watch for details at

Upcoming Webinars

March: Do Catholics Still Need Thomas Aquinas?

Lent: Understanding the Passion Narratives

April: Decisions of Life and Death, with Steve Bozza, Alyssa Thorell, and Michael Schiavo

May: Marriage Today or Marian Devotions, with Chris Padgett

June: Ugly as Sin? A Conversation about Church Art and Architecture, with Kalinda Gathinji

July: The 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae

August: The Enlightenment and the Catholic Church

September: Apologetics, with Steve Hemler

October: The Call to Vocation: Understanding the Synod

November: Catholics and Politics, with Robert Royal

Advent:  Did Christmas Actually Happen?

The CDU Grapevine

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:39 PM

What have CDU graduates been up to? 

Davin Winger.jpgDavin Winger

Davin Winger is the new Dean of Business and Technology at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.  Previously serving as a professor at the university, he was instrumental in the development of traditional and online courses. Winger will academically lead his departments and coordinate initiatives such as distance learning and grant development.

Winger says, “CDU is where I first learned about online learning as a student. CDU gave me the opportunity to grow and engage with other online learners and teachers. I gained confidence in myself as a student and later as a teacher because of CDU.” He continues, “God opened the door for me to attend CDU. The education and experience I gained at CDU opened a door for me not only in the Catholic Church but in the secular world as well. I am thankful for CDU.”

ordenacion-sacerdotal-de-theodore-trinko1.jpgFather Ted Trinko, IVE

Father Ted Trinko, IVE, uses his CDU education. He was ordained by His Excellency Thomas Daly at Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara on May 8th.  He celebrated his first mass on May 9. Father Trinko humbly asks for our prayers that he might help us through his ministry.



vestermark.jpgKathy Vestermark

Kathy Vestermark is an undergraduate professor at CDU and was promoted to Director of Student Life & Retention at CDU.



magdala-stone1.jpgJennifer Ristine

Bible History Daily has published an important article by CDU graduate Jennifer Ristine from the Magdalena Institute at Magdala, on the interpretation of the famous “Magdala Stone”—”The Magdala Stone: The Jerusalem Temple Embodied.”  

Working for the new historical site in the holy land, Jennifer has written many articles and blogs about important research being conducted there. 

DSC07104.jpgPater Joachim Wernersbac

On July 9th, 2017, Pater Joachim Wernersbach was ordained to the priesthood in the monastic church of the Benedictine Abbey at Tholey, Germany, by Archbishop Jean Claude Périsset, retired Nuntius of the Vatican to Germany.

Prior to joining the monastery, Father Joachim studied theology at CDU of which he say,: "Studying at CDU changed my life.  Finding CDU was instrumental in becoming fully reconciled with the new course my life was taking. The joy of faith that CDU is using as a base for all teaching made me more and more confident that the right decision had been made.”

Father Joachim, aside from his duties as a Benedicinte monk, is now engaged in pastoral services for the monastery as well as the surrounding communities.

Patsy R. Acree

Patsy R. Acree has a ministry that provides baby clothes, teddy bears and dolls during the Christmas season to an anti-abortion organization in Ocala, Florida.  Her CDU degree and studies provided the opportunity to be the Spiritual Director for Christ Renews His  Parish retreats. Now she is in Formation to the Lay Dominican Order.  Patsy says “The most valuable gift I received was my deepening relationship with the Father.  God  encouraged me to deepen my feelings for those in need and to share what He gave me through my CDU education.”


New Certification Program in Catholic Healthcare Ethics

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:38 PM

Is it ever appropriate to cease life support? What should a Catholic consider when writing a living will?  What is the Catholic position on new reproductive technologies, genetics, and stem cell procedures? Stephen Bozza, author and instructor of CDU’s new Catholic Healthcare Ethics seminar, will answer these questions and more.

Learn how to practice, counsel and live in a way that is more respectful of the life, dignity and nature of the human person.  Participants will be equipped with the knowledge to help families and individuals make serious healthcare decisions that are consistent with Catholic moral teaching.    

This 16-hour, four-week, fully-online, certification course is offered with a focus on diaconal formation and continuing medical education for physicians.

Steve_Bozza_150.jpgSteven Bozza, MA, PhD cand. (STD) is the Director of the Office of Life and Family for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Moral Theology. and the media contact for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Department of Pro Life Activities for issues related to Artificial Reproductive Technologies.

“This course is one of the few authentic, values-based, online continuing education seminars offered on faithful healthcare ethics,” says Bozza. 

Each week there are readings, videos, questions for discussion and written assignments that apply lessons to real life situations.  Instruction includes the language to articulate the Church’s moral teaching as expressed in the Ethical and Religious Directives. 

“Understanding and advancing the culture of life in accordance with the Faith is especially important in a time of social misinformation,” says Bozza.

By the end of the course, participants will be equipped to provide ethical information to those in need of expertise and guidance. Register for the November course now by clicking here!

Catholic Healthcare Ethics is approved for CMDA and ACCME credit.