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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.

Don't Put Your Education on Hold. Make This the Year to Grow in Your Faith. Apply to an Academic Program Today!

Registration for the Fall II term is underway. Courses begin on October 19th. View courses here.


September 23, 2020

Online Certificates for Catechist Formation Developed in Partnership with CFT

Since 1983, CDU has educated thousands of students worldwide who wish to deepen their faith. Now, in partnership with Catholic Faith Technologies, CDU has developed two affordable online certificate programs--the Basic Certificate in Catechetics and the Diocesan Certificate in Lay Leadership--to meet the needs of catechists, parents, dioceses, and parishes in response to Pope Francis’ call in the New Directory of Catechesis, which lays the guidelines for catechesis and presents universal norms to guide pastors and catechists in evangelization. Serving the Needs of Dioceses and Parishes Dioceses and parishes in need of a solution for sound, faithful training for catechists, directors of religious education, youth ministers, and diocesan and parish staff will appreciate the online convenience of CDU’s new certificate programs. According to Theodore Musco, Former Secretary for Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Brooklyn, “Catholic Distance University’s certificate programs provide dioceses and individuals with a pre-planned and well-developed program for education and formation in the Catholic Faith.  The work of planning and creating courses, as well as keeping track of CEUs or clock hours, is already done for you. I urge you not to miss out on this tremendous gift to you and the Church.” In Partnership with Catholic Faith Technologies The certificate programs are offered on Catholic Faith Technology’s user-friendly platform. CFT’s automated transcript system makes it easy for dioceses to track courses taken by staff, teachers, and volunteers who are required to earn CEUs. In addition to partnering with CDU, CFT partners with the National Catholic Education Association and a number of dioceses throughout the United States. The certificate programs are a convenient way for Catholic school teachers throughout the USA to earn required CEUs. Low Cost Tuition is $45 per course and $250 per certificate program. Contact Megan Davis at or 888-254-4238 (Ext. 731) for a group discount for 20 or more. In Tune with the New Directory of Catechesis The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization issued the New Directory of Catechesis to guide the proclamation of the Gospel by the Christian faithful to people of all ages and in all seasons of life. The Directory points out that to be credible witnesses of the Faith, catechists have to be “catechized before being catechists.” Since 1983, CDU has been at the forefront of educating the faithful for the growth of faith, ecclesial service, and leadership for the New Evangelization. CDU is committed to fostering a strong, vibrant learning community that reflects the ecclesial communion of the Church. The Basic Certificate in Catechetics provides catechists with a general overview of key elements of our Catholic Faith and meets many diocesan, parish, and Catholic school requirements. Courses are each worth 1 CEU or 10 clock hours.
  • Profession of Faith
  • Celebration of the Christian Mystery
  • Foundations: Life in Christ
  • Foundations: Prayer and Spirituality
  • Introduction to Scripture and the Gospel Message
  • Forming Missionary Disciples: The Basic Tasks of Catechesis
The Diocesan Certificate in Lay Leadership provides a strong foundation grounded in the documents of Vatican II and is designed for dioceses to use for certification of catechists and lay leaders. Courses are each worth 1 CEU or 10 clock hours:
  • Profession of Faith
  • Celebration of the Christian Mystery
  • Foundations: Life in Christ
  • Foundations: Prayer and Spirituality
  • Introduction to Scripture and the Gospel Message
  • Constitution on the Church
Visit to learn more and register. Online Convenience In the midst of a global pandemic that has caused many educational institutions to cancel classes and close with sudden notice, CDU’s courses continue to be offered fully online without interruption, making the new certificate programs a reliable option for the educational needs of dioceses, parishes, and individuals.
July 13, 2020

Online Teaching Course Offered Worldwide

Catholic Distance University and the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) are partnering to offer IFCU faculty members worldwide a course titled Teaching in a Digital World. CDU’s faculty members are eager to share their knowledge with colleagues whose classes have suddenly moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDU, the only exclusively online Catholic university, has been accredited to offer distance education since 1986 and has delivered online programs for 20 years. Faculty members are well versed in best practices in online teaching and have many years of successful teaching experience in the online environment. The 4-week, 10-hour course features Dr. Marie Nuar, Dr. Peter Brown, Alissa Thorell, and Kathy Vestermark presenting various elements of online teaching. President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount teaches the theory, research, pedagogy, and theology of distance education. Other topics covered include practical techniques of best practices for successful teaching online, course design, use of media, interaction, and student support. During the course, participants can develop a course of their own design on the Canvas learning platform and have many opportunities to dialogue with CDU faculty. The first course was offered in June and included faculty from the following countries and territories: Spain, Philippines, Belgium, Chile, Sierra Leone, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Congo DR, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, India, and Mexico. The course will be offered to IFCU members again in July, September, and October and will then be offered to anyone who wishes to enroll. Many faculty members accustomed to classroom teaching find the online environment a challenge both for themselves and for their students. In some cases, students have internet connectivity issues, and both teachers and students have a learning curve with the adaptation to a learning management system. There is a great interest in learning how to humanize and foster a sense of community especially in a Catholic university environment. Some faculty have expressed concerns about a lack of student engagement, the effects of social isolation on students, cultural differences, and potential learning loss. Teaching in a Digital World is designed to give faculty members the expertise and knowledge they need to teach online with confidence while fostering interaction, engagement, and strong learning outcomes for students.
July 6, 2020

MA Grad to Teach Computer Science

Fausto Franco, a graduate of the MA (Theology) program (Graduate School of Theology, 2019), will teach COSCI 101 Computer Essentials in the Fall II term. In addition to teaching for CDU, Fausto works in Information Technology with a focus on Cyber Security as a business information security officer for state government. He currently resides in Albany, New York, and is a parishioner at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas. After earning his M.Eng. in Computer Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Fausto felt an interior tug to educate himself in theology as he had prepared for his secular career. “I was in a place at that time where being in a traditional school setting was not ideal for me, and I started researching programs I could attend,” he says. “I do not like going to school at night, which is what I did for my first master’s degree, but was willing to do so if the Lord was placing this desire in my heart. One evening while at home, a Google ad for CDU popped up, and without realizing it, I clicked on the ad and was on the CDU page. Upon reading, I came to realize that the Lord had responded to what I had ‘demanded,’ and now it was on me to do my part. I applied, and the rest is history.” He thoroughly enjoyed the MA (Theology) program. “It was a challenging program, but each course happened at the ‘right’ time for me in my own personal faith journey,” he says. “It turns out that I was applying the material right away in my daily life. At times in ministry, questions or talks on topics would be presented to me that were specifically on the topic that I was currently engaged in. That served for me as a reminder of God's action in my life in responding to that interior tug, and these were moments of consolation on the journey. Those moments helped me to stay in the program,” he says. “In the journey of faith, obstacles are part of the package.” Fausto’s degree has been very helpful in his evangelization work, which has led to travel throughout the United States and internationally. “As I started the program, I was called to be the coordinator of the youth/young adult ministry for the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the Archdiocese of New York. It also was during this time that I served as the national coordinator of the US/Canada for youth/young adults in the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal,” he says. The MA program helped Fausto grow in his understanding of the faith and share it with others in the ministry and those who participated in retreats and events. “In the workplace, as co-workers found out that I was pursuing this degree, it led to many interesting conversations around faith. It allowed me to go deeper and gain more understanding to build my own relationship with God and, in turn, the desire to want to share that with others. It has allowed me to be part of the CDU faculty as well, teaching and allowing students to realize that even in the world of Mathematics and Computing, God is revealing Himself to us there and what the Church teaches us regarding these subjects,” he says. The oldest of four children born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, Fausto was raised in the Bronx, New York. He has been involved in youth and young adult ministry for many years and is active on the Diocesan Service Committee for the Archdiocese of New York. He was published in the summer 2018 edition of Pentecost Today magazine and spoke at the Golden Jubilee 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 2017. Fausto also participated in the V Encuentro of Latino/Hispanic Ministry representing ecclesial movements and is a member of the Locos por Jesus ministry that travels to the Dominican Republic and throughout the United States to evangelize. In his free time, Fausto plays baseball in the Albany Twilight League, one of the oldest amateur baseball leagues in the country, usually as second baseman or shortstop. He played baseball for Siena College as an undergraduate.  
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As reported in CDU’s 2019 DEAC Annual Report, based on program exit survey data.

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For the Growth of Faith.

The mission of Catholic Distance University is to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world. Using distance education, the university educates teachers and learners worldwide in Catholic theology, the liberal arts, and faith development for the growth of faith, ecclesial service, and leadership for the New Evangelization.

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