Dr. Marie Nuar Joins Administration as Faculty Chair

In January, faculty member Dr. Marie Nuar returned from Rome to begin working at CDU full time as faculty chair, a role that combines teaching and administrative responsibilities. Dr. Nuar has spent over 11 years overseas, living in Rome for most of that time but also in Cairo and Old City Jerusalem.

She holds a doctorate in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville, an MA in Jewish Studies from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and an STL in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Nuar also has a license in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome and is proficient in Arabic.

“I am excited to be able to work on the organizing/planning side of things,” she says. Dr. Nuar will continue to teach several classes per year as well. “I really like the interaction and sharing what I have learned with students. To me, learning information without sharing it is like a lake that has an inflow but no outflow. It becomes stagnant and in the extreme, dead, like the Dead Sea.”

The first course Dr. Nuar taught for CDU was Introduction to Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam. “The more I studied Judaism and Islam,” she says, “the more I realized how much details can make a large difference. For instance, all three religions would posit that the world and humans are created by a benevolent God, that there are objective standards that he puts forth for what is right and wrong, that human beings have freedom to follow these standards or not, but that they will be judged accordingly.”

“The difference lies in Christianity’s belief in the Incarnation,” she explains. “’The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.) She adds, “In many things, especially compared with non-believers, we would agree, but in this one thing, the incarnation and God’s closeness to and divinization of mankind, we differ. And that makes all the difference.”

During her time in Rome, Dr. Nuar taught World Religions and Moral Theology of the Marketplace as an adjunct professor of theology at St. John’s University, Rome campus, and served as an adjunct professor for The Catholic University of America’s Rome campus, teaching Christian Art and Architecture of Rome. She also enjoyed working as a guide for the excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica. “One thing that shocks many Americans is that the 1st century Necropolis was specifically filled in in order to build the first basilica,” Dr. Nuar says. “Another thing is that there are two basilicas, one built by Constantine in the 4th century and a second (the first was torn down) built over a period of 120 years, mostly in the 16th century. A third is that it is a mostly pagan Necropolis. There are very few Christians (that we know of) buried there besides Peter.”

In the Summer I term Dr. Nuar will teach Vatican II: The Church and Her Liturgy. In Summer II she will teach Church History II: Renaissance to Modern Church and Introduction to Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam.

CDU Supporters Celebrate 36 Years at Annual Gala

Friends, trustees, faculty, and staff of Catholic Distance University gathered to celebrate 36 Years of serving the New Evangelization at the annual gala on Saturday, November 16th, 2019, at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington, DC. Award-winning WUSA9 newscaster Andrea Roane served as the master of ceremonies. The event was hosted by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Charles Wasaff and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, who serves as vice chairman of the Board and chancellor of the University. The theme of the gala was the dream of Pope Francis for a Church of Missionary Disciples who carry out a new evangelization along “new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”

The evening began with an Academic Convocation Mass to honor the university’s 2019 graduates, who hail from throughout the United States as well as Scotland, Singapore, and Japan. Archbishop Broglio served as the principal celebrant and homilist, and Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, served as principal concelebrant.

Degree and certificate graduates attending the Mass included students from Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia. Despite their diverse careers and professional backgrounds, all of the graduates actively lead or participate in ministries in their parishes and are committed to sharing the faith with others. They were warmly welcomed by University President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and trustee of CDU delivered the invocation. “With the divine assistance of your Son, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the help of Mary our Mother, may this university remain effective and creative in communicating the truth and joy of the Gospel and mind and heart of the Church in a digital world and help others to do the same,” he said.

In her remarks, President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount reflected on the characteristics that CDU graduates have in common. “Our graduates are the face of Christ in their varied circumstances of being on mission as disciples who fulfill the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations.”

She also reflected on the wide reach of the global university, which has offered degrees for 20 years. “Catholic Distance University exists to communicate the mind and heart of the Church, a very ancient tradition to the children of God today, who dwell in a digital world. Our mission reaches the face and heart of students in all circumstances and places, including the barren walls of a prison cell and war-torn areas of the Middle East that may be home to our Military students,” Dr. Mount said. She added that in the last 19 months, CDU’s incarcerated students in prisons across the country with access to a new digital tablet loaded with CDU’s religious education courses have completed 110,000 courses.

“The warmth of the beating heart of Jesus Christ crosses the threshold of CDU’s digital network whose door is always open, welcoming the curious, the searching, the hungry, and the determined believer, who seek the joy of truth in the discipline of study; at our University the human heart encounters the tender, loving, life-giving word of God by tapping an app on a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop computer,” she added.

Dr. Charles Wasaff presented the Queenship of Mary Award to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the fifth largest diocese in the nation, which has partnered with CDU for over 10 years. In attendance from the Diocese were Theodore Musco, a CDU trustee and diocesan secretary for the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, Father Joseph Gibino, academic dean of the Diaconate Program, and Janene Iocco, who earned the Certificate for Catholic Educators this year. CDU is the academic partner to the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Holy Spirit Institute for Service and Leadership, providing degree and certificate programs at the noncredit, bachelor’s, and graduate degree levels. Speaking of the flourishing partnership, Theodore Musco said, “It’s now developed into a multilevel program that involves learning not only for catechists and catechetical leaders, but also for those who want a higher education degree or a certificate in religious education or theology. We are very grateful for the opportunities that we’ve had to work with Catholic Distance University.”

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio presented the Founders Award to Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre, who graciously accepted the award. “Founded in 1983 to offer opportunities for education and faith formation to those at the peripheries, today Catholic Distance University stands as a premier institution in offering graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates in theology and scripture, as well as providing quality formation for catechists and lay leaders in the Church,” Archbishop Pierre said.

His address noted the concerns Pope Francis expressed at the Synod on Youth about the effects of living in a highly digitalized culture and its profound impact on ideas of time and space, self-understanding, understanding of others and the world, and our ability to communicate, learn, be informed, and enter into relationships with others. “So often technology, even in education, is used for political activity and economic gain,” Archbishop Pierre said. “As such, there is a temptation to educate for efficiency and productivity, without concern for formation of character.”

Yet, formation of character is essential to education and Catholic education in particular. Archbishop Pierre thanked Catholic Distance University for keeping character—and Christ—at the forefront of education. “The essential content of all the education and formation provided by Catholic Distance University is the person of Christ. He changes everything – makes all things new – for our young people, our Church, and our world. I am truly grateful to all at Catholic Distance University who work to make Christ more widely known and loved,” he said.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde, bishop emeritus of Arlington and former chairman of the Board, offered the benediction at the end of the evening.
In addition to a wonderful meal, fine wine donated by the Napa Institute, and a lively cocktail hour, attendees enjoyed the National Shrine of St. John Paul II’s multimedia exhibit on the life of the sainted late pontiff and a silent auction featuring unique items and trips to exotic locations.

Triple Graduate Returns to Teach at CDU

Deacon Frederick Bartels of Glade Park, Colorado, is a homegrown professor. He received his Catechetical Diploma (2014), BA in Theology (2016), and MA in Theology and Educational Ministry (2017) from Catholic Distance University, earning the latter two degrees Summa Cum Laude. In addition to his work as a theology professor, he serves the Diocese of Pueblo as parochial deacon assigned to St. Joseph Church in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he served earlier as director of religious education and director of liturgy.

“I’m especially blessed to teach at CDU as a professor of theology, something which is a work of joy,” he says. “The people I’ve interacted with over the years at CDU are people who, at some point in their lives, fell in love with the truth who is Christ himself. That makes all the difference.”

He describes CDU as a learning community of faith in truth. When asked what he enjoyed most about his experience as a student, he says, “Confidence in the fact that I was surrounded and supported by faithful people and confidence in the fact that I was receiving an education reaching into eternity.

“In a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to receive an authentic education in theology, CDU is an institution where people learn what is really true as they are formed by divine revelation and guided by instructors who are aware of the importance of the magisterium as its authentic interpreter,” Deacon Bartels says. “There’s no point in attempting to acquire an education in theology from a university that removes itself in some way from the perennial belief and teaching of the Church. That type of “education” isn’t a true education in theology.”

Deacon Bartels, who is married and has six children, spent many years in discernment before pursuing the diaconate. “Our Lord Jesus Christ called me to the diaconate in a progressive way over time, kind of like how the people of Israel were prepared by God over the course of centuries for the coming of Christ in history, to use an analogy,” he says. “In Exodus we read about how the people Israel were thick headed, stubborn, and stuck in their old ways. I’m sure God began calling me to the diaconate long before I had even heard of deacons. It took years and years for that message to get through.”

One of the first times he thought about what it might be like to be a deacon occurred at Holy Mass. “I found myself listening to the priest and thinking about how I might present a homily on the same topic, about what I might say and what would be important to stress. Although, at first, I didn’t interpret any of that as an actual call to the diaconate, I gradually began to realize with increasing certainty that Jesus was indeed calling me to serve the Church as a permanent deacon,” he says.

He put off the idea for about three years, since entering formation would require lots of travel time and a significant financial investment. “As time went on, people began saying things like, ‘You should become a deacon.’ Eventually I got to the point where I felt I needed to say “yes,” and I’m glad I did,” he says. After interviews, psychological testing, and four years of driving to formation classes six hours away, he was ordained in August of 2013. “It’s been a wonderful blessing,” he says, “not all roses, of course, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve Christ and his Church.”

Deacon Bartels is also a contributing writer for various online publications, and he was recently featured on a radio show on the importance of truth in our lives and the dangers of relativism, which he defines as denial of certain absolute truths and moral norms that transcend the human person.

“Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is known for frequently warning against the dangers of a pervasive influence of relativism in the West, an influence that is in many ways linked to the rapid rise of what he termed a ‘Culture of Death,’” Deacon Bartels says. “In fact, he noted relativism is so widespread that it affects people on a subliminal level. In other words, people often adopt relativism in an almost subconscious way, to varying degrees, without actually being fully aware of how significant its influence is in their lives, attitudes, and behavior.”

“Relativism is dangerous because it infects the way people think about important beliefs and moral issues, introducing a kind of virus, if you will, into their moral code and society itself that attacks how people perceive the truth about the way things really are. Relativism is waging a war on truth; the human person is its casualty,” he says.

People often ask Deacon Bartels what they can do to counter relativism. “The answer is prayer, the formation of conscience, immersion in the content of the divine faith, participation in the Holy Mass, and frequent reception of the sacraments,” he says. “Learn the faith. Read scripture. Become faith literate. Study theology (which is what CDU is about!). Then, refuse to let lies persist. Speak and live by the truth.”

Deacon Bartels feels that the study of theology has changed him. “To be frank, I’m not at all the person I used to be,” he says. “My wife thinks it has something to do with space aliens. All kidding aside, people talk about ‘game-changers.’ The study of theology is on another level altogether. Theology is a divine science because it is an ordered inquiry into divine revelation.”

“Although there were many subjects I could choose to learn about—and each is important in its own way—I recognized that theology is the subject above all subjects,” he says. “Taken seriously, the study of theology is a life-shaping and life-transforming process. It’s not simply about learning skills for success in the world, it’s about learning and understanding what God has communicated to his people for the sake of salvation.”

“Theology provides answers to the most important human questions, questions that everyone, sooner or later, must answer,” he adds. “Theology is information of heavenly value that helps to point people toward their predestined end in eternal communion with the Tripersonal God.”

“Looking back, it’s clear to me that the study of theology at CDU set my life on an entirely new path,” Deacon Bartels says. “It hasn’t been easy. It’s not a path most people choose to take. In fact, there’s no shortage of people who misunderstand the whole point of it. Some even think it’s a ridiculous enterprise. However, the study of theology has, by the grace of God, opened up opportunities in my life to really make a difference in the lives of others by serving Christ.”

“If I could do a retake, I wouldn’t change a thing—except maybe listen a little more attentively and start the whole process earlier,” he says.

Liturgical Music Composer Returns to CDU to Pursue MA

Todd Christopher Mesler, Jr., (at left) earned his BA in Theology in 2017 and is now working toward his MA (Theology) degree. A published composer of liturgical music, Todd serves as the director of music and youth ministry for Immaculate Conception Parish in Monroe, Missouri.

“The study of theology has made all the difference in the world in my career,” Todd says. “As a music director, I am constantly planning and preparing music to go with the readings, interacting with the clergy and laity, and so much more. In my work as a youth minister, I am always on call to answer any and all questions I can about the faith. Both positions call for me to rooted deeply in my faith with the knowledge and understanding to ground me.”

“CDU offers a learning experience unlike any other,” Todd says. “The university, while global, still offers a feel of closeness and connectedness to all of the students, faculty, and staff. I leave each class with a good relationship with the teachers and my fellow classmates. The material is amazing, and the learning platform is very user friendly! Every teacher has been extremely helpful, kind, and truly Christ-like. I feel very blessed to be a part of the CDU community and to study here.”

“Immaculate Conception Parish is a faith-filled community fervent in prayer and devotion to Our Mother,” Todd says. His typical work day can include playing music and singing at Mass, preparing music for the liturgies, running rehearsals, planning events and meetings, and interacting with a multitude of people involved in the ministry. As youth minister, Todd leads teens in faith formation through Mass, Life Nights, Edge Nights, and service and social activities that are organized by a group of dedicated and faithful adults. “The theology that I’ve learned from CDU so far has made an immense difference,” he says.

Todd, who has been composing liturgical music for 12 years, got his start after beginning to play music at Mass. “I began to feel the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write music for the Church and began writing music for psalm settings to be used at daily Mass, and it grew from there,” he says. Todd found that writing music became part of a special relationship and prayer. “It continually called me to reach beyond myself and deeply study and pray on the words,” he adds.

When asked what led him to study theology, Todd says, “I’ve always had a desire to learn about our faith, however it wasn’t until after I read Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, that I decided to follow and pursue that calling. St. Therese’s little way truly taught me the importance of giving myself fully to God in all that I do, especially through my music, relationships, schooling, and work.”

CDU Partners with Shepherd University

On July 23rd Catholic Distance University signed a Memorandum of Understanding and an articulation agreement with Shepherd University, a state university in West Virginia. The agreement allows students who earn CDU’s AA degree in the Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Catholic Studies to continue on at Shepherd University to earn a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree. The documents were signed by CDU President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount and Shepherd University Provost Dr. Scott Beard. Also in attendance from Shepherd University were Dr. Virginia Hicks, assistant provost for academic community outreach, and Beth Thomas, RBA program coordinator.

Shepherd University’s RBA program was designed to help students work around life’s challenges to earn a bachelor’s degree. CDU expects the program to be particularly attractive to Catholic students in West Virginia, who may choose to earn CDU’s online AA degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic Studies to save money while living at home and to become better grounded in the faith before heading off to Shepherd University to earn a Bachelor’s degree. At just $305 per credit hour, CDU’s AA degree is an affordable option.

“We are excited about the opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, “and continuing opportunities for our faculty to work together and explore ways of expanding our curriculum. We are thrilled to be working with a state university like Shepherd University.”

Dr. Scott Beard said, “We are really appreciative of this opportunity to collaborate with Catholic Distance University and to really have some clear degree pathways for a new population of students. We look forward to future collaborations with Catholic Distance University.”

Pictured, left to right: Dr. Virginia Hicks, assistant provost for academic community outreach; Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, CDU president; Dr. Scott Beard, Shepherd University provost; and Beth Thomas, Shepherd University RBA program coordinator

MA Grad Accepted into PhD Program

Doug Spriggs, a dedicated English teacher and high school football coach who is also involved in local parish ministry, has been accepted into a PhD program at the United States Sports Academy for Sports Management.

Through his sports career, Doug became a campus minister at the University of Arkansas and a leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His education in the MA (Theology) program has benefited his professional life. In public schools, Doug strives to ensure that the English curriculum eliminates bias against Christian denominations, literature, and the Catholic Church, and his theological education allows him to refute many philosophical ideologies used to defend unethical behaviors and unfair treatment of student populations.

“The fidelity of my studies within the Catholic Faith guides all of my decisions as I advance my career outside of the Church,” Doug says. “My rigorous study at CDU prepared me to succeed on a higher level. I am now seeking employment at the collegiate level as an athletic director.” Doug’s education in the PhD program at the United States Sports Academy for Sports Management will help prepare him for the career transition.

Doug sees the impact his MA degree has in the secular world and is eager to effect a profound change within the growing world of collegiate sports. His graduate experience at CDU helps guide his life in a manner that is grounded in faith. He hopes that this combination of studies will inspire the next generation of Catholics to expand their notions of “vocation” and fulfill God’s calling in their lives.

IT Professional Graduates Summa Cum Laude

Daniel Colón earned his BA degree summa cum laude this year. He is an information technology professional and also serves as a coordinator of religious education at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Palmyra, PA. Daniel attended two other institutions and switched his field of study several times before settling on theology at CDU.

“In 1986 I began attending Sacred Heart University in Santurce, Puerto Rico. I was majoring in telecommunication (radio and TV), however after two years I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I changed my major to psychology because I always felt drawn to help to others in some way, so psychology seemed like a good bet,” he says. “Unfortunately, due to life’s circumstances, I had to drop out with a year and a half left to complete the BA.” Some years later, Daniel attended a computer technical school. After obtaining a certificate and various IT certifications, he began his career in the IT field.

“About 6 years ago, I ran across CDU’s BA completion program and thought, ‘what a great way to learn more about my faith and complete my degree,’” he says. “I have always been driven to help, teach, and mentor others. A degree in theology sounded like a great way to be more helpful and effective when talking to others about my faith.” Daniel found the asynchronous online classes very convenient. “They also allow for more meaningful conversations as students have the chance to develop a thought through and then share with the class,” he adds.

Though Daniel was raised Catholic, he left the Church for a time. “In my late teens I got involved with a Pentecostal church, and I had an encounter with Christ,” he says. People from the church were very welcoming, and they helped Daniel to get involved in youth ministry, music ministry, and increase his knowledge of Scripture. Looking back, Daniel says, he was drawn away from the [Catholic] Church by the lure of novelty and the rush of excitement from more charismatic religious practices.

“I guess you can say I didn’t leave the [Catholic] Church all at once but rather slowly trickled away,” he says. “I know now that the reason I walked away is because I did not understand nor appreciate the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I thought I had found Jesus, yet he was there in the tabernacle at my parish the whole time. This is why as a religious educator, I try to focus on the Eucharist to help students understand that they will not find the Eucharist anywhere else but in the Catholic Church.”

He advises young people who may be thinking of leaving the Church to get involved in their parish and find ways to participate in youth ministry, altar serving, or volunteering. “This is especially true for Confirmation students,” he says. “I always remind them that confirmation is not graduation and that it is a beginning rather that an end. Teens considering leaving the Church should remember that God loves them, and He will never tire of reaching out in love to draw them back.”

After many years the Holy Spirit moved Daniel to return to the Church, and that is when he discovered CDU. “I responded to this call with an intense feeling that God was preparing me for something,” he says. “I had an insatiable desire to study Church history, theology, and teaching, and the more I studied, the more I wanted. So I took the next natural step, which was to pursue a theology degree.”

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio was Daniel’s favorite professor. “I took 2 classes with him, and he is wonderful. THEO 503 The Catholic Theological Tradition was a fantastic course. His method of teaching and delivery is very conducive to great board discussions, and he is extremely knowledgeable,” he says.

Daniel developed a good rapport with a few of his fellow classmates, sharing notes and having great discussions. “In general, I found students at CDU a very cordial and smart. It was great reading their stories and comments,” he says.

As coordinator of religious education, Daniel helps prepare children to receive the sacraments, assists with the RCIA process, teaches classes, helps to coordinate adult Bible studies, and serves as a premarital marriage mentor along with his wife, to whom he has been married for 29 years. They have two daughters and two sons.

Though being a coordinator of religious education is very rewarding, there are many challenges, one of which is avoiding discouragement, he explains. “It breaks my heart when a 14-year-old receives Confirmation and then we never see them again,” Daniel says. “This has been a source of frustration and pain. However, I remind myself that God is in control, and I must trust the Holy Spirit. It is not about me but about what God is doing in the life of that young person. If we have done a good job laying a solid foundation, I trust that they will come back.”

Another challenge is getting parents and families involved in the religious formation of their children. “Far too often, I notice parents dropping off their kids in the parking lot without setting a foot in the church or going to Mass. I think parents are missing the boat when they do that,” he says.

“God has a plan for everyone,” Daniel says. “If you had told me 5 years ago that I would have a degree in theology and be coordinator of religious education for a church I would have laughed. You never know where God is going to take you, and He usually takes you in directions that are neither comfortable nor easy but are filled with blessings and rewards. We must listen to the voice of God and prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to complete his work in us; only then can we be truly fulfilled and happy.”

Recently, Daniel was asked to speak to a group about Lent. “Five years ago no one really cared what I had to say about anything, and now I get invited to speak. God is good!” Daniel says. “In only a couple of years, I have gone from a life of little to no involvement in church and community to a life of service to others and sharer of the good news of Christ. I am truly blessed. To God be all the glory!”

Professor Hood Earns a PhD in Semitics

Professor Joshua Hood, who teaches graduate and undergraduate Latin courses, recently earned his PhD in Semitics from The Catholic University of America. His dissertation was titled, “Songs of Supplication and Penitence: ʿOnyātā from the Warda Collection in Mingana Syr 214.”

Onyātā are a type of stanzaic hymn used in the liturgies of the East Syriac tradition,” Dr. Hood explains, which is represented today by the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, and some of the churches of India. Gīwargīs Wardā, who wrote most likely in the 13th century, authored many of these hymns as well as a liturgical book. “My dissertation examines those ʿonyātā appointed for the “Rogation of the Ninevites,” a three-day fast that occurs a few weeks before Lent,” Dr. Hood says. “In addition to a Syriac edition of the hymns and an English translation, I have tried to point out Wardā’s creative use of biblical narrative and the apocryphal and traditional stories that inform his retelling of biblical episodes. There are significant points of contact with Jewish and Islamic tradition as well,” he explains.

Professor Hood has studied many ancient and contemporary languages. “I was drawn to medieval Latin Catholicism as a teenager, and studying Latin in college was a natural first step in studying this,” he says. “I soon began studying Greek as well, and when I began graduate school at The Catholic University of America, my interests increasingly shifted ‘eastward’ as I moved from Biblical Studies to Semitics, concentrating in Syriac, but also studying Coptic, Arabic, and Hebrew.”

Subjects that particularly interest Dr. Hood include Eastern Christianity, Christian-Jewish-Islamic encounters throughout history, Christian apocrypha, and Syriac and Byzantine liturgy.

Faculty Gather at Mandatum Ceremony

CDU faculty members gathered on April 9th to take the Oath of Fidelity to the Catholic Church and make the Profession of Faith at the Chancery of the Diocese of Arlington. CDU Trustee Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, DD, PhD, conducted the ceremony as the local ordinary. In keeping with Canon law, the mandatum ceremony is held to ensure that faculty teach in full communion with the Church and reflects CDU’s commitment to remain faithful to the Magisterium.

Pictured, from left to right: Dr. James Kruggel, Dr. Peter Brown, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Father Bevil Bramwell, and Dr. Matthew Bunson. Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and Dr. Marie Nuar attended remotely.

Attorney in Singapore Earns an MA in Theology

Raymond Clement of Jalan Novena Utara, Singapore, works as an in-house counsel for a bank. In late 2018 he earned his MA degree in Theology.

“I decided to study theology after experiencing a nagging feeling for a number of years that I was not plumbing the inexhaustible richness of the Catholic Faith,” Raymond says. “I also felt a keen awareness that in order to engage intelligently in the culture wars that are shaping the times we live in, I needed to be equipped with the right tools.”

He chose CDU primarily due to its completely online teaching format. “Other universities I came across uniformly had a residency requirement that I would have found difficult to fulfill,” he says. “CDU’s faithfulness to the Magisterium and the quality of its faculty were also important considerations.”

Despite working in banking—a field seemingly unrelated to theology–Raymond finds his degree useful in his work. “My knowledge of theology has helped me to see my work in a different light and shown me more opportunities to practice my faith in the workplace,” he says.

Raymond took a break from volunteering at church while studying at CDU but intends to begin again now that he has completed his degree program. In the past he has led a church choir and advised churches on legal matters.

“Church attendance in Singapore is high, and there is a deep hunger for God’s Word,” he says. “I hope to help in a small way to fulfil this need after having completed my studies at CDU.”

What Raymond enjoyed most about his experience at CDU was the sense of belonging to a Catholic community and the passion he developed for sharing the Faith with others.

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