Galveston-Houston’s Charleen Katra tapped to lead NCPD as executive director

December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), the organization that represents and advocates for 15 million U.S. Catholics with disabilities, selected Charleen Katra, MAPS, as its executive director, effective Dec. 1. She succeeds outgoing executive director, Janice Benton, ofs, who is retiring this month after more than 37 years with NCPD.

Katra was an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for 20 years. During that time, she chaired Archdiocesan disability ministry conferences, provided extensive training and support to parish leadership and parishioners, partnered with the Houston Mayor’s office, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Catholic chaplains at various hospitals to raise awareness and better serve the community. Katra has served on NCPD’s board of directors for the past two years. In the past year, she has hosted a weekly radio program, “In God’s Image,” which is available on podcast. She has served as a consultant and speaker on the topic of inclusion both in Texas and across the country for the past 20 years.

Katra also brings extensive experience in catechesis and special education, and has authored two books, “The Adaptive Teacher” and “How to Talk to Children about People with Disabilities.”

In her new role, Katra leads NCPD’s staff while developing the value and visibility of the organization to its diocesan affiliates, donors, partners and other stakeholders. She also leads efforts to expand the organization’s resource materials while strengthening its financial foundation and advocating for pro-life public policy.

“I am both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve NCPD, a vital resource for the Catholic Church in the United States, as incoming executive director,” Katra said. “I look forward to enthusiastically building on NCPD’s long history and solid foundation to further raise awareness and increase partnerships that support the disability community and, in turn, bless the entire Body of Christ.”

Founded in 1982 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, NCPD’s mission is rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person and works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society. NCPD serves bishops, pastors, parish staff and families throughout the nearly 200 (arch)dioceses and (arch)eparchies in the U.S.

“Charleen Katra is a Catholic disciple passionate about ensuring a sense of belonging in our Church for people with disabilities,” said Marsha Rivas, NCPD board chair. She said Katra will “lead NCPD into the future as a respected resource to clergy, diocesan staff, parish leaders.”