Archdiocese hosts NCPD conference in November

September 24, 2013

HOUSTON — The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will host the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) conference Nov. 1 to 3 at the Houston Marriott Westchase Hotel, located at 2900 Briarpark. 

The conference, themed “The Partnership 2013: Where Faith and Disability Meet,” will feature keynote addresses by John Foppe, Dr. Arturo Chávez, María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso and Peter Murphy. Twenty-seven learning sessions will be offered by national and local presenters, including many in Spanish. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will present a keynote address at the Saturday banquet. 

Cardinal DiNardo said the convention is important because it highlights a major pro-life issue.

“Respect for persons with disabilities and including them equally in the life of the Church is crucial for our understanding of the human person,” he said.

Charleen Katra, associate director with the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, said the purpose of the conference is, “To gather a national audience of individuals together to exchange ideas, information and resources that honor and support the lives of so many Catholics who experience ‘where faith and disability meet’ every day.” 

She said all persons with a heart for justice and evangelization are encouraged to participate in this exciting event.

“Everyone, from priests to parishioners, who believe that individuals with disabilities, and their families, are vital members of our faith communities, will benefit from attendance at this national conference,” Katra said.

Some sessions of special interest are the pre-conference gatherings being offered on Friday — one will focus on autism and the other on mental illness. 

“Both of these topics are of great interest to so many people, as diagnosis statistics continue to increase in the world, therefore also in the Church,” she said. “Conference keynotes and learning sessions will address a variety of other topics, such as catechesis and sacramental preparation, caring for the caregiver, family support, deaf ministry, supporting inclusion in Catholic schools, end of life issues and a forum for clergy, to name a few. All sessions will flow from the dignity of the person.” 

NCPD was established in 1982 to implement in parishes and dioceses throughout the United States the 1978 Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities. Its mission is rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, working to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.

Katra said that there are always more blessings than challenges in store for those who seek knowledge and resources to successfully include individuals with disabilities in the full life of the Church. 

“Often times, the challenges lie in not being able to provide training and resources fast enough to families, catechists, educators and Church leadership,” she said. “What may seem intimidating becomes easier when helpful information and strategies are acquired. There is a growing need for more individuals to be trained in this ministry and this conference is the ideal opportunity for members of our Archdiocese to join hundreds of others in learning together.”

Registration costs and full conference information can be found at