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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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FEATURED SPOTLIGHT

March 1, 2021

Professor Bonagura Publishes Second Book

Undergraduate Theology professor David Bonagura, Jr., has published a new book: Staying with the Catholic Church: Trusting God's Plan of Salvation, which explains the mystery of the Church and why we need her to encounter Christ in light of contemporary challenges. The book can be ordered on Amazon. Professor Bonagura, who also teaches Theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., was inspired to write the book in 2018, after the revelation of a new wave of scandals within the Church hierarchy. “So many Catholics were angry, confused, and questioning how such things could happen in God's Church,” he says. “These reactions are understandable--I shared them. But, if the Church is what we know in faith that she is--the Body of Christ, the temporal extension of the Incarnation--then there has to be more to her than the sins of her members.” “I set out to explain what the Church is, why Christ founded her, and what her mission is in the hope that Catholics would understand that the Church is a great mystery, a collection of sinners ministering divine healing to sinners, that is worthy not only of our continued support, but our faithful love," Professor Bonagura says. People are turning away from the Church in increasing numbers today. “Cascading waves of secularism and radical individualism have caused people to move away from organized religions. Added to this are the Church scandals and lack of understanding the essential truths of our faith,” Professor Bonagura says. “The way to return Catholics to the Church is the same way in which people have been brought into her for centuries, all across the globe: bold proclamation that Christ and His Church are necessary for our salvation, coupled with a tireless witness of Christ-inspired charity toward other people. Scandal draws people away from the Church. Holiness attracts them. The degree to which we live out our baptismal call to holiness will predict how successful we are in bringing people back into the Church." Professor Bonagura published the highly rated Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism in 2019, which is also available on Amazon.  
February 18, 2021

MA Grad’s Love of Reading Led to His Conversion

Daniel Kelly (MA, Theology, ‘20) lives in rural Mora County, New Mexico, on a small farm where he raises livestock and chickens, goats, and peacocks. Married to a second grade teacher, he has a beautiful and intelligent stepdaughter, and he and his wife are expecting a son in March. A professor at Luna Community College, Daniel is using his theological education to teach a course on The History of Christian Thought. He also teaches a continuing faith formation class at his parish and along with his wife has been placed in charge of the local Newman Center. “Pray for us!!,” he says. “It is so weird with the COVID restrictions.” Raised in a household that believed in a philosophically sophisticated form of Hinduism, Daniel was attracted to Catholicism in his late teens by Catholic acquaintances and religious. At first, it seemed to him then that Jesus fit in perfectly with the Hindu schema of thought that he had been taught but that Catholicism was intellectually unsophisticated. However, that changed through his love of reading. “Then, as now, I am completely unable to resist reading any book near me,” Daniel says. An avid reader, delving deeply into the Fantasy genre works of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and J.R.R. Tolkien moved him toward the Catholic Faith.  He particularly remembers receiving a copy of In Defense of Sanity, the collection of G.K. Chesterton's essays. “Chesterton completely demolished my preconceptions that Catholicism was unsophisticated and laid the groundwork for all my Catholic thinking,” he says. “Chesterton was obviously superior to any of the other writers I had read, and his explanations of Catholic thought were clear and thought provoking. He led me to purposely seek out and read other Catholic writers, and I soon came to see that the Catholic thought system really is in a league of its own.” G.K. Chesterton--and his grandmother, who had been raised a Seventh day Adventist—led him to read C.S. Lewis' works on Christianity. “It was refreshing to see that he had met Hindu philosophy on the way to Christianity, and it had almost detained him as well. So C.S. Lewis and Chesterton really built my understanding of Christianity,” Daniel says. “Tolkien soon came to my aid as well. I was prepared to completely cut off contact with my roots of fantasy reading, which had had an enormous impact on the formation of my world view, but I read Tolkien's Tree and Leaf at this time, and I saw that I didn't have to discard the good of the literature I had consumed. Indeed, novels can and should be a positive good for Catholic minds.” As a convert, Daniel pursued an MA degree in Theology because he wanted to deepen his knowledge of the faith and teach. With CDU, he was able to continue to work for his archdiocese while earning his degree. Daniel has served as director of religious education and parish secretary of St. Gertrude the Great, his home parish, and continues to serve in a variety of ministries there and in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. “I came to CDU because I loved--and love--academia and growing academically, but I was tired of the abrasive effects of pagans and heretics in the academic world I had been in,” he says, adding, “although I loved, and still love, many of them dearly.” “CDU certainly allowed me to grow in this regard. I especially liked my Philosophy (and English) classes with Fr. Bramwell and Dr. Urbanczyk. Never have I been pushed harder to clarify my thoughts, and never has my brain grown more--not even in stats class.” “CDU has benefited me in so many ways, it is impossible to count them all,” Daniel says. “I have grown in my faith, in my knowledge, and in my intelligence.” “I know for myself that much of the good of my upbringing came from voraciously reading fiction--and maybe all of the bad,” Daniel says. “If we want to capture the hearts and minds of the youth, it needs to be the way Chesterton and Tolkien did, through the popular culture.” Daniel’s MA thesis, “My Very Self You Know: A Personalist Examination of Vocation,” was published in the Easter 2020 issue of Digital Continent.
February 1, 2021

Faculty Member Publishes Book on Catholic Priesthood

Professor Rev. Bevil Bramwell, OMI, has published a new graduate textbook on the philosophical and theological aspects of the priesthood. The bishops and their assistants, the priests, participate to different degrees in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. This book focuses more on the priest, exploring the rich and profound theological background of the priesthood as well as the shattering distraction of scandal. The liturgy, spirituality, the intellectual life, and even the life of Saint John Vianney, the Patron of Pastors, are also covered. The Catholic Priesthood: A 360 Degree View can be purchased on Amazon.com.
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