By her own admission, Christina Semmens’ path has been composed of many winding roads.  But those winding roads took her to CDU and to the work she does today.  Christina’s journey started at Marquette for undergraduate degrees in both Theology and History. Then she entered active duty as a U.S. Army officer and served overseas, including a combat tour during the first Gulf War. Following active duty, she completed a Masters in history, taught social studies to middle and high school students, and found herself involved in youth ministry.  She wanted to ensure that her theology was deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition and was therefore exploring catechetical certification when she found CDU.

Christina jumped in and quickly became part of the first class to receive their entire Master’s degree online.  She deeply appreciates that it is CDU that gave her a holistic understanding of the faith.  It was not just the pieces, such as scripture or liturgy or social justice, it provided a fullness of faith that she cherishes to this day.

Meanwhile, as a mother, wife, and security officer in support of her husband’s defense contracting business, she found herself moving again, and again.  Fortunately, because CDU was completely online, she did not lose a step in her study of the Faith.  She recalls that while she had pieces of faith before, her faith was not truly complete.  She earned her original degree in the 1990s, before the new Catechism was released.  By reflecting on Pope John Paul II, his transformative Theology of the Body, and the various CDU classes she took, all of these insights merged to help create a profound deepening of faith for Christina.

Currently serving as a Coordinator for Parish Ministries, she views her role as formative, helping staff get on board with the true mission of the parish.  She recounts that often people look at parishes in a very narrow way; it is there for sacraments, etc., and they don’t realize that a parish is really there to help people be intentional about encountering God. In reality, God puts people into a parish in a particular way as He has something He wants each of them to do together.

Intentionality is at the core of Christina.  She has served as a spiritual mentor, guiding people to continued formation.  She remembers most clearly when Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples came out, and its message simply broke her heart. It put facts to something that she instinctively knew, that of those coming to church, 46% do not realize that God loves them and wants a personal relationship with them.  With this knowledge, Christina went down the path of discovering how to change that.

All of these pieces came together as Christina started the apostolate “Say Yes to Holiness.” Christina knows that we are all called to holiness in our lives, that we say yes, but then we are unsure of what to do. Her apostolate focuses on helping people pursue a life of holiness and do things in union with the mind and heart of the Church.

Christina was sick with COVID in 2020 when her book, Say Yes: Discovering Purpose, Peace and Abundance in Daily Life, was released. The book focuses on answering the questions of why and how we should live a life in which we put God first. She recognized that people need a plan for their life that is “flavorful” for them. She sees so many people leaving “gifts on the table,” as if they have forgotten to invite the saints and angels into their life or they don’t appreciate that their spiritual life needs to be integrated with the rest of their life.  Christina’s book quickly morphed into a full-blown apostolate, now vibrant with videos, podcasts, coaching accompaniment, mentorship, etc.  Christina’s passion is to help people discern what they are to do.  Her apostolate “provides them tools to be able to flourish.”

As Christina reflects on her journey, she could not have expected that she would have been led to this place.  She shared that she got here through “winding roads, not usually traveled, that God made straight in the end.”  Christina is grateful for her CDU experience, sharing, “only afterwards do you realize the gift you were given, and that CDU is that gift.” The gift of CDU to Christina keeps giving and giving, because through her foundation in theology from CDU, her “Say Yes to Holiness” apostolate continues to help bring more people to God so they can pursue holiness and the life that God wants for them.

Say Yes to Holiness website:

Say Yes to Holiness podcast:

Say Yes to Holiness YouTube Channel:

The Catholic Leadership Puzzle on Substack: