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COVID-19 CDU Community Update

Be assured that Catholic Distance University remains fully operational, and there will be no disruption to educational services or contact with our staff or faculty. Until further notice, staff will work remotely. We encourage you to communicate with us by email to ensure a prompt response. Staff will continue to receive phone calls and voicemail, but mail will be checked only occasionally. We pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. University officials will continue to post any updates here.

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Now enrolling for the Fall I and II terms! Fall I classes begin August 30th. Fall II classes begin October 25th. View courses here.

FEATURED SPOTLIGHT

June 28, 2021

Theology of Sacred Architecture to Be Offered in Fall II Term

New faculty member Erik Bootsma, licensed architect, lecturer, and commentator, will teach HUM 260/THEO 290 and THEO 590 Theology of Sacred Architecture, which is scheduled to run in the Fall II term. Classes begin on October 25th. The 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. Mr. Bootsma holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College in California. He is a registered architect in the state of Virginia and has been in private practice since 2014 focusing on ecclesiastical architecture.  In the past he had worked for Glave & Holmes Architecture, Milton Grenfell, and Duncan Stroik. He is also the author of numerous articles on architecture, and his work has appeared in journals and media outlets including First Things, Crisis Magazine, Catholic World Report, Adoremus, and Catholic News Agency. Mr. Bootsma has also lectured on sacred architecture and classical architecture at the Catholic Art Guild, the Hillsdale College Kirby Center, and at conferences at the University of Notre Dame, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and The Catholic University of America. The cross-listed course can be used to fulfill either Humanities or Theology credits.
May 10, 2021

BA Grad Helps Others Find Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

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 coordinator of the national Theology of the Body (TOB) teachers' training program. Belizean by birth, Gian says that Belize is a very unique country. As the only English-speaking country in Central America, it is also considered a “melting pot of cultures.” Belize also has a high teen pregnancy rate. Gian has been married for 24 years and is blessed with two beautiful children. “We are also living the joys of being grandparents,” he says. His favorite pastime, when not with the family or teaching, is fishing in the Caribbean Sea, “the perfect place to unwind and contemplate the mysteries of life and God.” 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.’” The adult students are not that different from the teens, he says, except that they come with a greater sense of the human experience. “At the end of many class sessions, the reaction is always, ‘Why didn’t we hear of this before?’” he says. As national coordinator of the TOB teachers’ training program, 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. “I am grateful to be, as St. Theresa of Calcutta puts it, ‘but a pencil in the hand of God,’” Gian says. “I have always believed and am convinced that the TOB, being rooted deeply in Sacred Scripture, is the antidote for the broken world we live in. I really became passionate about the TOB because of my own daughter, who became a teen mom and was abandoned by the father of her child,” he says. This situation is not unusual for many families in Belize, he explains. He, too, was born to a teen mom in a similar situation. “I decided that there MUST be a better way, and that the cycle of broken relationships must come to an end. TOB has been the chain-breaker, the game-changer for many young girls and boys in my community,” he says. “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. The young men, on the other hand, 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. “For years, TOB was reserved for seniors only at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School, but realizing the transformative effects of the TOB, we decided to launch it at all levels, across the board,” Gian says. “The effects on students are astounding. Last year our administration proudly reported that there were zero cases of toxic relationships, young girls eloping, and teen pregnancy cases were almost nonexistent. There was also a notable decrease in major disciplinary issues. Although there are other factors that contributed to these results, I am convinced that TOB was surely one of them,” Gian says. “Many of the adults told me that the teachings of the TOB had challenged them to change their way of life. There are so many stories I could tell of how the TOB has tremendously changed the lives of both the teens and adults I am privileged to work with.” Gian decided to pursue a BA in Theology at CDU when he was required by the Ministry of Education to further his studies for professional development. He could have continued his education in Computer Science but decided that he only wanted to study a subject that would benefit his soul. “In my search, I came across CDU and was surprised at the cost of the program, which was significantly lower than most other universities,” he says. “But what really hooked me, apart from a really solid Catholic curriculum, was the faculty line up,” Gian says. “The old cliché, ‘you come for the price but stay for the service’ was exactly the case for me. The faculty was ‘unapologetically Catholic.’” The fact that many had studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville at some point in their educational journeys was a plus for Gian, who had wanted to attend Franciscan but could not afford the tuition. “I could not even afford CDU, but God is good, and with Him all things are possible,” Gian says. “There are many I wish to thank for believing in me and for finding it in their hearts to invest in my education at CDU, which has cracked open for me the rich deposit of faith that I can now share with confidence with the longing hearts of my students.” Gian enjoyed the edifying and deep discussions at CDU through which great friendships flourished. “Being able to share, not just on the weekly topic, but on my Belizean religious culture and traditions, was wonderful,” Gian says. At the start of new classes, he enjoyed reconnecting with those from previous classes. He is especially grateful to the professors for their empathy. “I am proud to be named among the alumni of CDU! Gaudium de Veritate!” he says.
April 15, 2021

BA Grad Sees Hand of God in His Path

Francis Cabildo (BA in Theology, ’21) works as an assistant director of campus ministry for Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and is also a singer-songwriter. He and his wife Nicole are raising five young boys. “I was one of those students who took a long break in completing my degree,” Francis says.  “First, I was not sure what I wanted to study.  My career choice is not one that you hear about in mainstream college career choices. Looking back, I can see the hand of God guiding me each step of the way.” “My education from CDU gave me confidence as well as valuable knowledge that has helped me in my professional life.  I have also gained critical thinking skills, organizational skills, and increased my ability to look at things through a worldview centered on Jesus and his Church,” Francis says. As assistant campus minister, Francis plans, prepares, and facilitates retreats for students and trains volunteers and student leaders in how to run small groups, present talks, and work as a team. He also plans and leads music at Masses and other liturgies. Francis enjoys working with students, especially those who are furthest away from the Lord.  “I love to see them realize the love of God and for them to begin a relationship with Jesus and the Church,” he says.  He also enjoys helping volunteers and student leaders discover a love for ministry and leading others to Christ and working with students' parents--especially when they encounter Jesus in real ways through their students returning from retreat. One of the biggest struggles Francis finds in working with students is the lack of evangelization.  Though students may know how to answer a test question about God or the Church, they may not have not had a real encounter with God or know Jesus, he explains. Francis has been in music ministry for close to 28 years.  He started as a volunteer singing at his local parish.  “I quickly discovered that I have a calling to help others pray through music,” he says. “I am passionate about helping the people of God find their voice, and it gives me great joy knowing that the gifts God has given me are helping to build the kingdom and give glory to God.” His youth minister in high school played guitar and inspired him to learn. Francis bought his first guitar when he was 18 years old after saving up tips from busing tables and taught himself to play. He served on National Evangelization Team Ministries from 1994 to 1995, which challenges young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church. Every August, 175 young Catholics aged 18-28 travel across the U.S. for nine months to share the Gospel with young people and their families. “That is when I really heard the calling to be a worship leader/musician,” he says. After NET, he served at his local parish, Sacred Heart in Rancho Cucamonga, California, as a youth leader and a liturgical musician and helped with Masses, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and retreats. Francis’ family is an integral part of all that he does, and they help him to connect with God in many ways.  “Being a husband reminds me that I have to die to myself daily and that I am first to serve and to die for my bride just as Christ died for his bride,” he says.  “My children are gifts and blessings.  They help me to grow in love and patience, and they help me practice forgiveness and mercy.” “I chose CDU because it gave me flexibility and options,” he says.  “I am raising a young family, and with my work in ministry, my schedule did not allow me to take courses with a normal schedule.  CDU gave me the opportunity to complete my degree and still be present to my family and those that I serve in ministry at the high school.”
WHAT OUR GRADUATES ARE SAYING ABOUT CDU
Would recommend
CDU
Achieved their
learning goals
Are satisfied with
their studies
As reported in CDU’s 2020 DEAC Annual Report, based on program exit survey data.

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