CDU Blog

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.  

CDU Alumni Committee Is Going Strong

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:36 PM

Now that we are in the midst of Fall, it seems like it’s a good time to update you on the newly forming Alumni committee. Our committee members include:

Catherine Branly, Daniel Cheely, Francis Henderson, Dr. Angelo Giardino, Clarissa Hutcheson, Dr. Araceli Carnazzo, Adrian Marcellus, Dr. Marianne Mount, Daniel Nemethy, William Smith, Virginia Taylor, Kathryn Vestermark, Joseph Wetterling, and Davin Winger.

Our mission statement:

The CDU alumni association works in partnership with the university to connect, support, and coordinate the global network of graduates to promote the mission of the university and the Church community.

Membership Criteria:

CDU Alumni Association membership is inclusive and open to all CDU graduates of continuing education, certificate and degree programs throughout the world. We also welcome you to be members of the committee and join our quarterly planning calls. We are exploring regional events in locales that have a concentration of CDU alumni, an alumni program in conjunction with the annual CDU gala and graduation ceremony, and “virtual” events that would allow broader participation just like in our courses and degree programs. We would appreciate your thoughts or suggestions about what the CDU Alumni association could offer that would be of value to your spiritual journey. Please send your comments and suggestions to

We are enthusiastic about helping you stay connected with CDU, our former classmates, and the vast mission of the Church.

At our August meeting, we turned to a prayer used by Pope Francis for inspiration and we share that with you now in hopes of offering some wonderful insights from the Holy Father using the simple imagery of one’s hand:

  • The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”
  • The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
  • The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
  • The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
  • And finally, we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

Fast Track Your Way to a MA

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:35 PM

CDU now offers qualified undergraduate students the opportunity to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in less time and at less cost than usual! Our new MA in Theology Accelerated Track allows exceptional students who are willing to challenge themselves to count up to 9 credit hours toward both degrees. Current students in our BA completion program may apply through the Admissions Office if they meet the requirements.

Click HERE for more info.

CDU’s Online Library Is a Campus Destination

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:31 PM

CDU’s library is state of the art, always open, continuously growing, and academically supportive. And, the book you need is never missing or damaged.

Immediate access to Catholic resources from anywhere in the world is a digital reality on CDU’s campus. The CDU library is booming in utility and traffic, rivaling many brick and mortar university libraries.

Student Lee Anna Dela Cruz agrees, “We have many more online library options here than did my last university.”

CDU’s library expansion is not physical and increased traffic is not wearing out any carpet; it’s growth is in resources, services and usage directly impacting student success. The CDU library serves 476 students and faculty members who visit thousands of times each year for free resource links, Catholic encyclopedias, and EBSCO e-books. The number of visits in the last 12 months has tripled. At the same time, EBSCO database usage doubled and Catholic Encyclopedia usage grew 674%.


Sister Rebecca Abel, O.S.B

CDU’s Librarian, Sister Rebecca Abel, O.S.B., is a resource in herself. Both students and alumni count on Sister’s passion and expertise to direct them to new discoveries. Sister Rebecca says “a new introduction on to how to use the library for research, accessible personal support, more awareness and partnerships to enhance ebook resources have made a big difference.” She continues, “Digital resource opportunities are exploding, and CDU is in a unique position to build a digital library that can fulfill our mission to “teach all nations.”

Student Rachel Zamarron says, “I am really excited about all of the resources in the library available to us.” Alumni are welcome to enjoy easy access to our online campus and library resources. Since the library has unlimited space and is as comfortable as your home, feel free to visit and browse. Contact Kathy ( for online campus support. CDU needs more e-books.  CDU donations contribute directly to resources used by students and alumni..  Your contribution makes an immediate educational impact.

To donate to our library fund, contact

The Holy Land Trip of a Lifetime

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:26 PM

A Holy Land Pilgrimage is a truly unique experience. It is indeed a tour, sacred pilgrimage, learning experience, and vacation all in one! A spiritual journey leading to spiritual breakthrough is fun and fascinating at the same time.

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.

The next Holy Land adventure to Israel and Palestine is April 16-26, 2018, and it really doesn’t end. Your return from there will mark a new beginning, as you will never read the Bible in the same way again. The Holy Land tour is led by Catholic Theologian, author, historian, and biblical scholar Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio. Hurry - space is limited. Get more information at

boat on sea of Galilee.jpgBoat ride to the Sea of Galilee.

Group Picture from Mt. of Olives.jpgGroup at Mount of Olives

Graduates, Friends and Family will Gather at the Gala to honor Father Robert Spitzer

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

You are cordially invited to the 2017 CDU Gala on November 4, 2017 at The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel. The events will start at 5:00 p.m. with the Academic Convocation Mass, followed by a 6:30 p.m. Cocktails Reception with Silent Auction and 7:30 p.m. Dinner and Awards.


The celebration will recognize 2016-2017 graduates, honor Father Robert Spitzer with the CDU Founders Award, and acknowledge St. James the Greater Catholic Church and St. Veronica’s Catholic Church as our Bishop Thomas J. Welsh Parish Award recipients.

The gala is CDU’s largest fundraising event for graduates, alumni, faculty, family and friends. Purchase your tickets today at, call 304-724-5000 X727 or email and join in the fun. It will not be the same without you.

Gala sponsors, patrons and friends include: The Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, The Archdiocese of Washington, The Diocese of Arlington, The Diocese of Brooklyn, The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Supreme Knight Carl & Mrs. Dorian Anderson, Dr.& Mrs. Joseph Braddock, Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, Mr. Daniel Curtin, EWTV Global Catholic Network, Inc.,  Dr. Angelo Giardino, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Mrs. Geraldine Hall, Mrs. Jean Halle & Mr. Glenn Davis, Mrs. Carl Hertz, Sam & Ann Hinojosa, Mr. & Mrs. Peter D. Jones, Barbara Keebler & Mr. Terrence Giroux, Korte Realty, Dr. Araceli Lardizabal-Carnazzo, Mr. & Mrs. John McCabe, Dr. Margaret B. Melady, Mrs. Helena Metzger, Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, Mrs. Barbara P. Murphy, Mr. & Mrs. Roger Naill, Dr. & Mrs. Frederick Scheuren, Mr. & Mrs. Robert J. Smith, St. Agnes Church, St. Mary Catholic Church, St. Matthew Catholic Church, St.Theresa Catholic Church, Dr. & Mrs. Charles R. Wasaff, Mr. & Mrs. Harry T. Wilkins.


A Year of Stories

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 01:18 PM

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

One of the new developments at CDU is an outreach to our graduates. In a recent survey of graduates of our MA program in Theology, we learned that over 90% of our graduates are serving the Church in some capacity as a volunteer, a professional working for the Church, or in a professional career that highlights or enhances the work of the Church.

As the Board of Trustees prepares to begin a multi-year comprehensive development campaign that includes a significant fundraising goal of at least three million dollars, we want to engage the entire CDU community. We are beginning with a deeper engagement with our graduates and students who experience firsthand the value of our mission.

One project I have begun is a Year of Stories. I am reaching out to graduates to listen to their stories of how they found CDU, why they chose an online program, why they decided to study theology at CDU, and how their program has changed them.

Our students who earn online degrees in Theology are pioneers. Most tell us that without an online program their degree in Theology would have been impossible to attain. Our graduates are not traditional students who sit in classrooms on campuses. Many tell me they are not sure why they are completing an MA in Theology online, but they sensed a call from God and are sure they will have an answer.

In the Year of Stories, I am also asking our graduates to try to quantify a CDU education through their own networks of influence including family, neighbors, parish, work, diocese, volunteer work, or professional work for the Church. Admiral William McRaven’s commencement address at the University of Texas in 2014 began with a challenge to graduates: if each graduate changed the lives of just ten people, and each one of those ten folks changed the lives of another ten people—then in five generations (125 years)—the graduates will have changed the lives of 800 million people.  

He used the example of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who daily made a decision to go left instead of right and saved the lives of their platoon members. Not only were they saved, but the yet unborn children of those platoon members, and their children’s children were saved. One decision by one person saved generations.

How has God used our graduates to share the truth and joy of the teachings of the Church with others in a way that has transformed them and in turn, future generations? The answer to that question inspires us to share a Year of Stories about our graduates and the power of online education to form leaders for the new evangelization.  Our Patron, St. Paul, reminds us in the Letter to the Romans, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom: 12:2).

CDU Students Explore and Learn in the Holy Land: The Fifth Gospel

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Jun 05, 2017 @ 05:00 PM

holy landresize.jpegDr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Christina Steele, Sue Ellen Young and Mario Lanza at the Jordan River.

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.”  CDU offers a course with Holy Land travel lead by CDU Professor and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy).  Faith and cultural lessons are shared on location for ten days in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Carmel, Cana, and Galilee. While in Isreal, students gain insight into the Bible that can only be captured by being in the land and learn about the Fathers of the Church, including Origen, Eusebius, Justin, Jerome, and Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived and wrote in the Holy Land.  Students also come face-to-face with the Crusades and Muslim-Christian relations as they learn about Church history and interreligious dialogue. CDU students who joined Dr. D’Ambrosio April 24- May 4 share some of their experiences and trip highlights.

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.

“This trip is a sacred pilgrimage, learning experience, and vacation all wrapped into one!  A spiritual journey leading to a spiritual breakthrough can also be fun and fascinating at the same time,”  explains Dr. D’Ambrosio.  CDU student Sue Ellen Young agrees, “It was an amazing adventure that continues to bear good fruit!”  The trip to the Holy Land includes experiences like sailing on the Sea of Galilee, climbing Mt. Tabor and walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

boat on sea of Galilee.jpgBoat ride to the Sea of Galilee.

“The trip was so much more than I imagined,” said CDU student Christina Steele.  “Dr. D’Ambrosio did an amazing job intertwining the Scriptural stories and insights with the local guide, Bader, who was able to bring the historical and cultural background to life.”

“I learned so much about biblical events and parables, it really has made reading the New Testament come to life!” exclaimed Christina, who made the trip into a family adventure with her mother, Joyce Bishop.  “It was great to experience the Holy Land together. Even my mom is now spiritually motivated to read the Bible more often and able to see ways she can improve her life as a disciple as well.”

2017-05-03 12.46.32-3.jpgChristina and her mother, Joyce Bishop, on Mt. Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean.

Christina shared her biggest surprise, “It was so much more spiritual than I expected!”  She continued, “Dr. D’Ambrosio really brings home the point that Jesus is still alive today in the people we encounter and people in need.  We witnessed this visiting an orphanage in Bethlehem and a store owned by Palestinian Christians. We traced His path, carried our crosses, and offered them to Jesus at the tomb.  We learned, asked a lot of questions and got answers on the spot, we sang, went to Mass, prayed for each other and above all, reflected on our lives.  It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Expanding on her trip experiences, Christina explains that each site offered the opportunity to renew one’s Sacraments; Baptism and Confirmation at the Jordan River, Marriage in Cana, Anointing of the Sick at the site of the Transfiguration, and Confession.  We arrived as strangers with 39 people and felt we were brothers and sisters with everyone on the trip.  “It was truly a mountaintop experience – a way to reignite the holy spirit in my life and assess my role as a disciple,” she adds.

renewing wedding vows.jpgRenewing vows

The next Holy Land adventure course to Israel and Palestine begins on December 27, 2017, and concludes on January 6, 2018, but it really doesn’t end.  Your return will mark a new beginning — you will never read the Bible or participate in the Eucharist in the same way ever again.


Students may take the trip to the Holy Land as part of a course at CDU. Prior to and subsequent to the trip, there will be some fascinating reading and online discussion, which will be the basis for a term paper to be submitted at the end of the 8-week class.

Group Picture from Mt. of Olives.jpgGroup at Mount of Olives

Learn more about future CDU course trips to the Holy Land HERE.

Learn more about future CDU course trips to Italy HERE.

Future Holy Land Pilgrimages by Dr. Italy:

Dates & info on Dec 2017/Jan 2016 HERE.

Dates & info on Spring 2018 Pilgrimage HERE.

DSC_0009.jpgDr. D’Ambrosio on the Mt. of the Beatitudes answering questions.

CDU Student Gets Creative to Earn a Catholic Art Education.

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Jun 05, 2017 @ 04:41 PM

Jacqueline Renee Del Curto’s higher education involved three schools and four countries.

She began her education in Liberal Arts at Holy Cross College and at Thomas More College in New Hampshire before adding a semester abroad in Rome.  Jacqueline had always desired a Catholic education for her mind, and a technical artistic education for her hands. Eying the art scene in Florence, she transferred to CDU’s BA in Theology completion program so she could enroll in the Russian Academy of Art Program in Florence.  Jacqueline studied drawing and painting, earning a program certificate before apprenticing for 6 months with a Catholic artist, James Gillick in England.   CDU gave Jacqueline academic opportunity to earn a Catholic degree while tecnically studying art around the globe.  She completed her studies in 2015 and is now teaching art and taking on commissions.  Jacqueline shares her vision on a recent commissioned painting for a mission parish in French Camp, California.  It is called “My Good Shepherd.”


  1. Coat of Arms, Vatican City 
  2. Immaculate Heart of Mary: family devotion of patron.
  3. Official seal of San Joaquin County
  4. Madonna lilies (Lilium candidum): symbol of purity and innocence. The Madonna lily is most likely the inspiration behind the fleur-de-lis symbol, and traditionally represents the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
  5. Beaver: tribute to historic French Camp. Affiliated with the California Fur Rush, French Camp was also referred to as “castoria,” deriving from the Latin word “castor,” meaning “beaver.” 
  6. Peacock: symbol of immortality and the Resurrection. The ancient Greeks believed the flesh of the peacock did not decay after death, ultimately making the bird a Christian symbol of hope in eternal life. 
  7. California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
  8. Hand Gesture: sign of blessing. Originally derived from a gesture used in ancient Rome to indicate speaking (adlocutio), the gesture containing two raised fingers gained popularity as a Christian symbol in art after Constantine's issue of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. 
  9. Palm Branch: symbol of victory. Awarded to ancient Greek athletes and used in ancient Rome as an attribute of Victory personified, the palm branch evolved into a symbol of victory over the bondage of sin.
  10. Coat of Arms, Florence, Italy: tribute to where artist Jacqueline R. Del Curto studied drawing and painting. The Florentine fleur-de-lis contains stamens interposed between its petals, in contrast to French fleur-de-lis, which contain only petals. 
  11. Sacred Heart of Jesus: family devotion of patron. 
  12. Official seal of the Diocese of Stockton
  13. Pomegranate (Punica granatum): symbol of prosperity and fertility across different cultures since antiquity because of its bountiful seeds and affiliation with the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.

New Courses in Faith, Spirituality, Ethics and Salvation Expand Minds of the Church.

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Jun 05, 2017 @ 04:36 PM

DAmbrosio-1.jpgThe Catholic Theological Tradition | Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

Ignite your passion, curiosity and appetite to learn more about the Catholic Faith with a survey of Christian theology as it developed historically from the end of New Testament times to Vatican II.  Examine several debated key issues in each epoch, meet some of history's most famous [and infamous!] theologians, and come to understand their sometimes contradictory, sometimes complementary, ways of thinking about God.  Master the chronological framework that gives coherence to all theological history and knowledge, while learning about critical moments in Church history.

This new course includes 58 compelling videos, interactive student Q&As, an interactive timeline, selected readings, class discussions, and assignments, researched and lead by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio.  (To sample a video lecture, click here.  A comprehensive overview of the Catholic Faith, this new course is a pre-requisite for a graduate-level education and should be essential knowledge for all Catholics.  Explore courses for Summer II and enroll before July 3.

aaron.jpgEthics Philosophy Course | Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk

Students will explore moral philosophy and the concepts of good as applied to human action in the new undergraduate course Ethics (Phil 311). What does it mean for humans to live a moral life? Questions like this one will be considered as students read the primary texts of certain philosophical masters of ethics, including Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Kant.

cbrown.jpgApplied Catholic Spirituality | Dr. Carole Brown

 Learn to apply the practical skills needed to enrich your spiritual life! Applied Catholic Spirituality will begin with the teachings of Christ recorded in the Gospels and explore the three stages of spiritual life, St. John Paul II’s teachings on personal conversion, as well as the rich variety of Christian practices illustrated in the lives and teachings of the saints. This course is offered at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Explore courses for Fall.


Dr. Peter Brown.jpgScripture and Salvation History | Dr. Peter Brown

Journey through the Bible to understand critical interpretive issues.  Wrestle with disputed questions as you learn to view the Bible as a unified and coherent story with profound implications for today. Scripture and Salvation History covers the story of creation and the fall, through God’s promise to Abraham, the covenant with Israel at Sinai and Deuteronomy and the eventual collapse of the Davidic Kingdom under the Deuteronomic covenant. The course crescendos with the solution to the problems of the law in the Old Testament and the eventual fulfillment of God’s promises through the person and work of Jesus Christ and his Church.