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 all 2018 graduates were honored for their academic achievements. More than 60 students from throughout the United States as well as Japan, Scotland, Austria, and Canada earned academic degrees and certificates this year. University Chancellor Archbishop Timothy Broglio served as the principal celebrant, and trustee Bishop Emeritus Paul Loverde of Arlington con-celebrated.
Given the many reasons why students choose to study online, including cost, schedules, family responsibilities, work, and health, we are always delighted to meet those who are able to travel to the Washington, DC, area to participate in the Academic Convocation Mass. They represent their fellow graduates and and enjoy the opportunity to meet each other, the faculty, and staff members who attend. Read more about the outstanding graduates who attended the Mass below.
|Irma Juanita Alvarez: MA (Theology)
Irma Juanita Alvarez enrolled in 2011 immediately after retiring as a teacher and administrator at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, CA. She had seen Dr. Robert Royal and other CDU representatives on EWTN promoting CDUs graduate programs in theology and felt the Lord’s call to deepen her understanding of the Catholic Church and its theological roots so she could teach and evangelize others. “The fact that the CDU program was taught by an outstanding faculty and that it was taught online caught my interest,” she says. “The CDU program has been both challenging and inspiring for me. I am very grateful for the education I have received from such distinguished professors, and I thank God for having allowed me this opportunity.”
|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.