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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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December 7, 2023

CDU Celebrates 40 years, honors the past, and looks to the future

Catholic Distance University celebrated 40 years of its mission to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world. The annual CDU gala was held at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. A symbolic way to celebrate 40 years, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington is the founding diocese of CDU. It was a night to remember when Dr. Michael P. Warsaw, the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network, was honored with the Founders Award, the university’s highest distinction. In addition, President Emeritus Marianne Evans Mount, Ph.D., was presented with the Vatican's Dame of St. Gregory Cross by Papal Nuncio, His Eminence Cardinal Christophe Pierre, and the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, President of the USCCB. This distinction is highly deserved. Dr. Mount has a storied history of supporting Catholic education and evangelization. Since the establishment of the Order of St. Gregory the Great on September 1, 1831, only 25 people have been awarded the Grand Cross. The honor is bestowed upon individuals in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and the Catholic Church, their extraordinary labors, and the examples they set in their communities and their countries. The gala drew guests from all across the world to join the Convocation Mass, including graduates, faculty, staff, supporters, friends, and family.  

Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre named CDU’s next president

After announcing her retirement last year, Dr. Marianne Evans Mount passed the reins of the Office of the President to someone new. Dr. Mount was involved in CDU leadership in many capacities before becoming president in 2008. Her passion to see the university succeed has influenced her to remain involved in the university, including by becoming a trustee of the Board. Following a wide search full of talented candidates at the top of their field, Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre was selected as the new president of CDU in June 2023. A dynamic, leading-edge addition to the university, Dr. Aguirre is a visionary who is equipped and ready to carry the university into the future.  

The premier Catholic online university of the future

Dr. Aguirre’s remarks at the gala called to mind the opportunity that higher education has at this moment in time. She announced that program offerings will expand and diversify in the next five years to include disciplines in Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, education, economics, and big data – all taught through a theologically sound lens. The university will also begin to offer more programs in Spanish and its first program in Italian in its efforts to grow in both Latin America and Italy. “There is a great need to prepare people capable of engaging in new technologies while being firmly rooted in a sound Christian anthropology and a solid intellectual and spiritual formation. Scientists who are working in these fields see the need for a university such as ours to fill this void, and they are excited about collaborating with us. The new degrees will help our students widen their impact by preparing them to take leadership roles in fields that are in great need of recuperating the meaning of the human person, of social life, and culture,” Aguirre said. In addition to the new programs, the university is planning to create a new center for research dissemination. “We will seek to reach a wider audience, thematically and geographically, with our unique online model,” Aguirre said. “We will expand so as to meet a demand in high-growing markets that thirst for what CDU has to offer. If we don’t seize the moment now, it will be gone.”  

Catholic Distance University renamed Catholic International University to align with the evolution of the institution

It was also announced that the university’s name will be changed to Catholic International University to more closely align with the future evolution of the mission of the college. “We are person-centered, we want every interaction to be a point of encounter because we see the “I” and the “you” in everything we do.”-commented Aguirre.  

High achievement for the university

This year, CDU was ranked fourth among the top online theology programs by Forbes, CDU being the top Catholic online theology program. The Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree was ranked 17th out of 3,000 online programs by, a trusted resource for higher education program rankings and planning. The gala highlighted all of these achievements and more, all while celebrating the class of 2023 graduates.
November 26, 2023

Theology Faculty Member David Bonagura, Jr., Publishes New Book

David Bonagura, Jr., recently published Jerome’s Tears: Letters to Friends in Mourning, making these poignant letters of consolation to friends mourning the loss of spouses, children, relatives, and friends available for the first time in English. Pope Benedict considered St. Jerome the Church’s greatest doctor.  He translated the Bible from Greek to Latin around 400 AD, while taking care to correct the Old Testament using the Hebrew original. Mr. Bonagura first read St. Jerome’s letters while working on a thesis for his graduate degree. “I thought Christian readers of all kinds could really benefit spiritually from Jerome’s approach to grief,” he says. Consolatory letters were a literary genre developed by the ancient Greeks, and in his letters, St. Jerome builds upon that framework, bringing the Christian worldview and the hope offered in Christ’s resurrection to the forefront. The letters follow a format. “St. Jerome first urges unwavering confidence in Christ’s resurrection that has conquered death. Second, he says that mourners should not focus on the loss of the deceased, but on the gift that they had in that person. Third, he urges the bereaved to overcome their grief by pursuing a new path in Christ,” Mr. Bonagura says. “Jerome does not hesitate to deal out ‘tough love’ to these recipients in their grief,” Bonagura says. “In every letter, he exhorts the recipient to let go of his or her grief and seize a new opportunity to serve the Lord more devoutly now that the deceased has passed on.” What strikes him most about the letters is that they balance narrative, imagery, elegance, and precision. “He brilliantly wields Scripture in every letter, offering persons, images, stories, and wise sayings from both the Old and New Testaments to help comfort the bereaved,” Mr. Bonagura says. In addition to teaching for CDU, Mr. Bonagura is also an adjunct professor of classical languages at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., and a Latin teacher at Regis High School in New York City. He was named a Eucharistic Fellow by The Cardinal Newman Society in September. Jerome’s Tears: Letters to Friends in Mourning was published by Sophia Institute Press and can be purchased on Amazon or from Target.
October 25, 2023

Catholic School Teacher Reflects on the Fruits of a CDU Education

Melissa Reyes, a Catholic middle school teacher in California, recently earned her MA degree in Theology and Educational Ministry. She says that CDU helped her to grow into the theologian she has always dreamt of becoming. “I’m so thankful to God for CDU and all the faculty and staff who helped me achieve my degree,” Melissa says. “What I most enjoyed was being able to encounter the genius of each of my professors,” she says. “Each one offered something so unique to my theological inquiries and taught with such insight and depth of each branch of theology.” Melissa says that God, and the youth of today, inspired her to become a Catholic middle school teacher. She wanted to accompany her students in their education and help them through the difficulties of life by teaching them good study skills and providing them with ample opportunities to grow in their faith through fervent prayer to God and theological reflection in a Catholic-Christian community. “My journey from theological studies at CDU to my work as a Catholic middle school teacher at a Dominican elementary school was the fruit of my prayers, those who supported me, and the countless holy men and women I encountered throughout my lifetime,” she says. “Being raised in a Catholic household helped me to remain faithful to my faith and family, and my Catholic education truly made a difference in my life as a teacher and lifelong learner.” “I most enjoy teaching students and praying with them,” Melissa says. “Seeing their faith grow throughout the school years is such a humbling experience. They teach me about virtue by their example of humble submission to the Will of God and holy trust in God’s divine providence.” Like any teacher, Melissa faces the challenges of disobedience and lack of respect from students in the classroom. She takes these challenges into prayer at daily Mass and throughout the day. “I find that God answers me clearly in the same students who are either misbehaving or are rumored to be prone to misbehavior, and this is a blessed grace,” Melissa says. “I also find a holy reassurance in God’s abiding presence among us in people going through the same circumstances as my students or myself,” she adds. Melissa says that her education taught her Truth in God, and that she is the messenger of Jesus, who is the Teacher. “I am able to pass on to my students the study habits and truths of our Catholic faith in a safe academic environment, where God is first, and where education is key to attaining truth, beauty, and goodness.” She says, “Studying at CDU allowed me to develop a greater love for God by becoming a better informed Catholic-Christian who is able to witness to Christ’s love for us in the world, and a more faithful student of Jesus, who is my divine and primary Teacher.” “Thank you for helping make my dreams as a Catholic school teacher a beautiful, good, and true reality,” Melissa says. “I always remind my students that God lives in our hearts and will never leave us. As long as we breathe, we breathe God’s life; as long as we learn, we learn God’s truth; and as long as we pray, we pray and earnestly ask God to allow our life with Him on Earth to become an ever-living reality with Him forever in heaven.”
Would recommend
Achieved their
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their studies
As reported in CDU’s 2020 DEAC Annual Report, based on program exit survey data.

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