NCPD was founded 40 years ago to implement the resolutions of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ 1978 Pastoral Statement on Persons with Disabilities. Before our founding, disability efforts and advocacy in the Church were often patchwork affairs, created with good intentions

but typically lacking the resources, education, and training needed to give Catholics with disabilities full and dignified access to life in the Church. A centralized resource for advising on disability issues and furthering the Catholic conversation on disability was needed for progress and consistency to be made in Catholic communities across the nation. It was through this need that NCPD was born.

Decades Since

In the decades since, NCPD has worked with dioceses and parishes throughout the United States to incorporate this and subsequent ecclesial directives into ministerial and diocesan policies. Over forty years after the founding  of the bishops’ pastoral statement, its spirit is still a driving motivator in our work today. As the USCCB declared in 1978:

“We must undertake forms of evangelization that speak to the particular needs of persons with disabilities, make those liturgical adaptations that promote their active participation, and provide help and services that reflect our loving concern… Further, realizing the unique gifts individuals with disabilities have to offer the Church, we wish to address the need for their integration into the Christian community and their fuller participation in its life.”

Our response to this call from the bishops is continually evolving: every day NCPD staff listen to and learn from conversations occurring in the broader disability community, social and political advocacy efforts, and persons with disabilities within the Church itself. But these essential directives of the bishops— to uphold the dignity of Catholics with disabilities not just through education and advocacy, but through removing the real barriers that obstruct them from sharing their gifts with the Church— remain firmly at the heart of our mission.

In particular, NCPD played a key role in the revision of the USCCB Sacramental Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments of Persons with Disabilities.

It is currently involved in advocating for and supporting as it can, a fresh statement akin to the Pastoral Statement on Persons with Disabilities. This item is currently in the process of consideration by the USCCB, and NCPD is ready to be of any support as it moves along the process.



Governance Board

NCPD is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, which includes bishops, clergy, and lay professionals with disabilities, family members, and diocesan personnel. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington Virginia, Chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), serves as the NCPD Episcopal Moderator. The Board is chaired by Micahel Boyle, former superintendent, and Director of Content and Partnership Development for Inclusion Solutions, LLC,.

Catholic Disability Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Catholic Disability Foundation (CDF) was established in 2005 to assist in raising funds for NCPD (see current list enclosed). Members of the CDF Board, including business professionals, administrators, attorneys, and Catholics with disabilities and family members, all volunteer their time and expertise to provide valuable guidance and support to NCPD. The CDF Board is currently chaired by Mr. Patrick Romzek, retired executive from Cisco Systems.

NCPD Councils and Committees

Within its structure NCPD has councils and committess which work to further its mission. They include, a Council on Mental Illness and Wellness, a Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disability, an Education Committee, and an Ethics and Public Policy Committee, and a Marketing Committee in the process of being formed.

The NCPD Council on Mental Illness (CMI) focuses on suicide prevention and building awareness about mental illness and mental health. It participates in webinars and educational courses, Also, NCPD serves as a member of the USCCB National Catholic Mental Health Coalition.

The NCPD Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) likewise works to build awareness and increase opportunities for Catholics with intellectual and development disabilities within parish communities.