Graduates Honored at Academic Convocation Mass

On November 3, 2018, CDU graduates from across the United States traveled to the National Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington, DC, to attend the annual Academic Convocation Mass, where graduates are honored for their academic achievements. University Chancellor Archbishop Timothy Broglio served as the principal celebrant, and trustee Bishop Emeritus Paul Loverde of Arlington con-celebrated. Read more about our outstanding graduates below.

 

 

Cierra Elizabeth Holt: BA Theology
After moving around the United States in her youth, Cierra and her family settled in Florida. Wishing to focus on the most important thing in life, relationship with God, Cierra chose to complete her undergraduate studies at CDU. Cierra uses the knowledge gained from her studies to teach others about the Faith, especially children in her parish’s faith formation program. Cierra is grateful to CDU for offering her an orthodox Catholic education, to her parents for making her studies possible, and to the Holy Trinity for blessing her continually.
Alfredo Garcia Lopez: BA Theology
Alfredo Garcia Lopez, of Fresno, CA, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and emigrated to the United States in 1987. He is married with three children and is self-employed, working in the field of taxes and insurance since 1989. “Going back to the Church in 2005, I started to participate in bible studies. I now participate in several ministries at Saint John’s Cathedral,” he says. “I was looking for a more in-depth understanding of my faith and providentially found Catholic Distance University. It has been a marvelous and awesome experience to have been introduced to the wonderful mysteries of our God. I’m deeply thankful to my teachers and all the people at CDU.”
Mary McKay: MA (Theology)
Mary McKay is Liturgy Director at St Mary of Sorrows. In a volunteer role she serves as a facilitator for some of the adult faith formation programs offered at St Mary’s, which is a passion of hers. “In both my paid and volunteer capacities, I use what I learned at CDU nearly every day,” Mary says. “I’m also particularly grateful to Fr Bramwell who, early on, pushed us to be precise in our language when speaking about theology.”
Maria Moore-Michels: BA Theology
Maria Moore-Michels of Wrightwood, CA, first heard of CDU in 2007 from a former student. “I thought it was a tantalizing dream,” she says. “My wishful thinking, written on a napkin, became reality in 2013. Today, I am here to joyfully walk for my BA first and foremost by the grace of God who filled my life with my daughter Jacqueline, whose studies inspired me to keep learning, because of Robert my late husband’s love of the word, and because my current husband Arnie and my parents Maria Luisa and Narciso lovingly encouraged me. I thank my Lord for this unbelievable achievement in his honor, for directing me to follow him as an Oblate of St. Andrew’s Abbey, for all the children I have been blessed to teach in RCIC, and for the tremendous joy of serving him as Eucharistic Minister, Reader, and Master of Ceremonies at Our Lady of the Snows in beautiful Wrightwood, CA.”
Nicholas R. Radloff: MA (Theology)
Nicholas Radloff of Dyersville, Iowa, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force and now a civilian, studied aerospace engineering at Saint Louis University. After completing undergraduate studies in 2008, he began a career as a Combat Search and Rescue Navigator with the U.S. Air Force flying the HC-130 aircraft. While on active duty, Nicholas began his studies at CDU and is grateful for the opportunity to study theology while simultaneously being deployed to many parts of the world. His courses played a role in his discernment, and he left the Air Force to pursue the priesthood. Nicholas is currently a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Dubuque studying at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.
Suzanne Reinhardt-Johnson: MA (Theology)
Suzanne Reinhardt-Johnson is married with four adult children and two grandchildren. She works part-time as a preschool teacher. After serving as a catechist for her children, Suzanne began her studies at CDU. “The convenient online classes and support of the instructors and discussion chat rooms made learning the curriculum and deepening one’s faith an unsurpassed experience,” she says. She makes use of both as a catechist in multiple ministries in her home parish.

Recent BA Grad Becomes Director of Religious Education

Katlyn Lawler, who recently earned her BA in Theology, was promoted to Director of Religious Education at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge, Virginia, where she has worked for several years and been a parishioner for most of her life. Katlyn recently married and lives with her husband Benjamin, pictured here, and puppy in Woodbridge, Virginia. She was raised in a large family of nine who have always encouraged her to obtain her dreams.

“Catholic Distance University did not just prepare me for my job but gave me an opportunity to grow in my Faith with a wonderful community of classmates and professors,” Katlyn says. “I am so grateful for my time at CDU and cannot wait to share what I have learned with my family, Parish community, and all those I encounter in my lifetime.”

Katlyn began serving as a catechist aide for the church’s religious education program in middle school and continued to volunteer as an aide, catechist, and retreat leader through high school. While in college, she was offered a job as the Administrative Assistant for the Director of Religious Education for Middle School and Confirmation Prep. “Three years later,” she says, “I have graduated from CDU with a Bachelor’s in Theology and have been promoted to work as the Director of Religious Education. It has been a great journey, and I love working with the youth of the parish.”

As DRE, Katlyn is responsible for kindergarten through eighth grade religious education classes and sacramental preparation programs for Penance, Eucharist, and Confirmation.

“My degree in Theology will not only help me as the Director of Religious Education but also as a Catholic Christian living in the world,” she says. “I am able to better dialogue with my family, help others, grow in my own spiritual journey, and share my Faith more beautifully. No matter where God takes me and my husband, I will be able to use my degree in my career, in my home, and in the world.”

Katlyn attended Catholic schools her entire life, and the Faith has always been important to her. “Since middle school, I have felt called to work for Christ’s Church, and my heart was always pulled toward teaching,” she says. Before leaving high school, Katlyn thought she was being called to nursing. She entered college and began to pursue a degree in that field but found that her heart was not in nursing.

“After praying and discerning, I knew I was being called to teach, to pursue a degree in Theology,” she says. “I began looking for colleges and saw CDU advertised in my parish bulletin, and I checked it out. I was so excited to find a school that would allow me to continue working since I was paying for school myself. I was absolutely thrilled to be accepted and enroll in CDU.”

“I love CDU and would recommend it to everyone,” Katlyn says. “It has been a blessing to be a part of the school community, and the ability to work on my courses at home or during my lunch break at work was the best. I loved being able to open up about my Faith and the Catholic Church with my peers and professors,” she adds.

“My biggest takeaway from my education at CDU is the ability to dive deeper into the Catholic Church and the life of God,” Katlyn says. “We cannot just scratch the surface our entire lives; we would miss the true beauty of God. CDU challenged me to go deeper and seek God in a more intimate way. I cannot express how grateful I am to CDU and the staff who journeyed with me during this part of my spiritual and educational journey.”

ATS Grants Associate Membership to Graduate School of Theology

Catholic Distance University’s Graduate School of Theology was granted associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools at the accrediting agency’s biennial meeting in Denver, Colorado, on June 20th. Associate membership is the first step toward full accreditation by ATS.

Dr. Marianne Mount, President, and Sister Mary Brendon Zajac, Board member, attended the meeting. “CDU’s associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools is an incremental fulfillment of the University’s first strategic goal to pursue regional and programmatic accreditation,” says Dr. Mount, who has served the University in a variety of leadership positions since its founding in 1983.

“CDU’s Graduate School of Theology was welcomed as a colleague of more than 270 theological schools that includes most Catholic seminaries in the U.S. CDU is deeply grateful to our hard-working staff and committed Board of Trustees,” she adds. “This accomplishment is especially important for our graduate students and MA graduates.”

Pictured (l to r): Sister Mary Brendon Zajac, CDU Board Member; Dr. Marianne Mount, CDU President; Sister Mary McCormick, OSU Academic Dean; and Father Mark Latcovich, President-Rector, Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, Diocese of Cleveland, gather to celebrate CDU’s associate membership.

THEO 503: The Catholic Theological Tradition

Offered in both the Fall I and II terms, THEO 503 is the first course taken in the MA (Theology) program. Perfect for students new to the study of theology, the course is taught by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, a world-renowned commentator on Catholic issues known for his ability to make profound subjects understandable and relevant to everyday life. Explore the history of Christian theology from the perspective of faith seeking deeper understanding and trace its development from the end of the New Testament times to the Second Vatican Council. Critical moments in the history of theology and key issues debated in each epoch will be discussed, and students will be introduced to some of history’s most notable theologians and their varied ways of thinking about the things of God.

Dr. D’Ambrosio, also known as “Dr. Italy,” is a New York Times list best-selling author who frequently appears on a variety of TV and radio shows, including the “O’Reilly Factor” and “Geraldo Rivera at Large.”

To enroll in THEO 503, click here. Then, click the “New Student” button and fill out the information. Select “Undecided” for the major. If you have further questions, contact Admissions at admissions@cdu.edu or 1-888-254-4CDU ext. 700 to enroll today!

Diocese of Brooklyn Expands Partnership with CDU

From left: Dr. Peter Brown, academic dean, and Theodore Musco, secretary of the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The Diocese of Brooklyn serves 1.5 million Catholics in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Founded in 1853 to meet the needs of millions of recent Irish immigrants, today the diocese is home to a burgeoning, multicultural immigrant community that is largely Hispanic. To hand on the Faith, seven-thousand catechists serve young people in the Diocese’s 186 parishes and 84 Catholic academies/parish schools each week.

“Many of the catechists here in Brooklyn and Queens desire an opportunity to be further formed in the Faith,” says Theodore Musco, Secretary of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese. Yet, the Diocese faces a number of challenges in preparing adults to teach the Faith: time and energy, multiple commitments, lack of knowledge about programs offered to assist in passing on the Faith, lack of knowledge about financial assistance available, and language issues.

In June 2017, the Diocese established the Holy Spirit Institute for Service and Leadership to provide formation and education to those called to serve as missionary disciples. Catholic Distance University is one of the six institutes and universities approved as an educational provider. The Diocese has partnered with CDU since 2010 to provide Continuing Education to its catechists, catechetical leaders, and parish volunteers, so extending the relationship seemed to be a natural fit. “The great successes of the past gave me the confidence to move forward as we created the new Holy Spirit Institute for Service and Leadership,” Theodore says.

“CDU is authentically Catholic and has a mission of Catechetics and Evangelization. It also clearly understands the challenges of a large, urban, multicultural diocese,” Theodore says. “We are making headway in all these areas, thanks to collaborators like CDU,” he adds.

Through the Holy Spirit Institute, CDU offers a non-credit Diocesan Lay Leadership Certificate as well as an undergraduate-level Catechetical Coordinator’s Certificate to prepare lay leaders to serve the diocese. “The [undergraduate] certificate serves those who are already in catechetical leader positions but may not have the proper academic credentials,” Theodore explains. “Our goal is that all 200+ catechetical leaders be properly trained.”

CDU also works with the diocesan permanent deacons. Bishop DiMarzio is encouraging deacons to pursue degrees in theology at CDU.

To better serve the Diocese’s large Spanish-speaking population, its staff is working to convert six foundational courses into Spanish for the non-credit certificate. “We hope to have this finished by the end of 2018,” Ted says. “They can then be used by anyone at any time.”

Sister Mary Margaret Ann Schlather, CDU’s dean of Continuing Education, was instrumental in arranging the partnership in 2010. “Ted Musco brought such energy to our first meeting, that a partnership with Brooklyn was going to be a win-win situation for Brooklyn’s catechists and CDU’s Continuing Education Program. Starting with a dynamic three-week seminar, our partnership has developed into offering academic level-certificate and degree opportunities for those who want to ‘put out into the deep’ of the Catholic Faith to better serve others,” she says.

The Diocese of Brooklyn is shepherded by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, a champion of immigrants’ rights.
Masses are regularly held in 33 different languages across the Diocese, which has 26 ethnic ministries that promote cultural events and provide an opportunity for immigrants to belong to the larger community while preserving and sharing their uniqueness and traditions.

Bishop DiMarzio often uses the phrase “Put out into the deep.” “This is not merely a byword or an interesting phrase. Rather, this truly reminds us that if we are to make Christ for the world in this new millennium, we must truly go out of our way. We must try harder. We must experience our own conversion, so that we can be faithful to the Lord’s demand to put out into the deep,” he recently said at the Diocese’s Evangelization Congress in late April. CDU President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount and Sr. Schlather attended the event, which drew thousands. Its theme was The Joy of Encountering Christ – The Family’s Hope.

“We’ve come a long way in the last few years thanks to CDU,” Theodore reflects.

THEO 313. God, Man and the Universe

Offered in the Summer II Term, this 8-week course introduces the key ideas of Fundamental Theology. Join prolific author and speaker Christopher Padgett for an exploration of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church as contained in the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed — God the Creator, original sin, and the fall of man. Topics to be covered through a theological lens include Revelation, the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, the theory of the development of doctrine, the Trinity, Divine Providence, the Angels, Satan, forms of atheism, the origin and fall of man, and the dignity of the human person. What sets Catholic thought apart from other worldviews?

Enroll today to find out! Course begins on June 4th.

Fast Track Your Way to an MA

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 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 several requirements. Click here to see if you qualify!

Michael Ryan Grasinski

Following a year of study in the BA completion program, Michael Ryan Grasinski has earned his degree. “CDU exposed me to the treasure contained within the Tradition of the Church, and I can honestly say I learned more about my faith in the past year than at any point prior,” he says. “It really seemed to be the answer to my prayer. I never thought I’d be able to finish my BA, but by the grace of God I was able to do that.”

Michael worked in sales and account management when he began to sense that God was calling him to a different path. After a long period of discernment, he matriculated at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. “My year in the seminary was pivotal in my continued education and my overall formation; it laid the foundation for my life,” he says.

“After I spent a year in the seminary, I knew I wanted to finish my BA, but it seemed impossible due to practical reasons, mainly time, money, and location. Stumbling upon CDU was a true grace, and it provided the perfect opportunity to not only finish my undergraduate education, but to do so in the area of greatest interest to me,” he says. As Michael transitioned from Mount St. Mary’s to CDU, there was a continuity of intellectual formation that he says was invaluable in his spiritual growth.

“The value of an education is realized by the effort you put in to it, and for me personally, it was CDU that provided the framework and instruction necessary to make that effort fruitful,” he says.

Class discussions helped Michael learn to articulate what he knew, which was sometimes more challenging than he expected. “A true test of what one knows is how simply one can explain it,” he says. “This became a great exercise in learning how to synthesize extremely complex thoughts.”

“To study theology through the lens of the Church is to put on the mind of Christ,” Michael says. Like many other students, he finds that theology informs his thinking on a range of subjects, especially Christian vocation.

“Christian vocation is both a gift and a mission,” he explains. “We receive a vocational call from God to bring the light of Christ to others, and at the same time, this mission is a gift. As we read in the Gospel, we are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth; this means being transformed in the spirit of our mind and following Christ every day.”

He also clearly articulates the interplay of faith and reason. “Both faith and reason are necessary, and they in no way negate one another,” he explains. “By the grace of God, I have faith, and I now seek understanding. Faith is not merely blind acceptance; rather, through our God-given intellect, we plunge into the mysteries of God through the life of the intellect, thus further informing our faith.”

In an increasingly secular world, theology is also useful in responding to contemporary challenges. “We live in a world where man’s fundamental identity has become lost, and it is the practice of theology that can respond to this identity crisis,” Michael says. “Theology explains the deepest yearnings of man’s heart and thus is able to respond to the many challenges facing modern man. Gaudium et Spes explains this perfectly in that theology, as viewed through the lens of the Magisterium, can answer the many questions that trouble man today.”

In his free time, Michael enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife contemplating the beauty of God’s creation, immersing himself in the intellectual tradition of the Church, doing DIY projects, and learning how to be a better cook.

“I’m very grateful for my opportunity at CDU,” Michael says. “Coming from a business background, I can see the immense value a school like CDU will continue to have in a world that is quickly changing and lacking orthodox Catholic schools.”

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