FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marsha Rivas
November 18, 2019
Washington, DC – The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), the organization that represents and advocates for 15 million U.S. Catholics with disabilities, announced today that it has selected Charleen Katra, MAPS, as its Executive Director, starting December 1, 2019. She succeeds outgoing Executive Director, Janice Benton, ofs, who is retiring this month after more than 37 years with NCPD.
Founded in 1982 by the United States 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.
In her new role as Executive Director, Katra will be responsible for leading NCPD’s dedicated staff while developing the value and visibility of the organization to its diocesan affiliates, donors, partners and other stakeholders. She will lead efforts to expand the organization’s resource materials, while strengthening its financial foundation and advocating for pro-life public policy.
Katra 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 previous position as Associate Director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, she chaired archdiocesan disability ministry conferences, provided extensive training and support to parish leadership and parishioners, partnered with the Houston Mayor’s office, MD Anderson hospital 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 podcasts. She has served as a consultant and speaker on the topic of inclusion both in Texas and across the country for the past twenty years.
“Charleen Katra is a Catholic disciple passionate about ensuring a sense of belonging in our Church for people with disabilities. Her long, distinguished career in disability ministry enables her to lead NCPD into the future as a respected resource to clergy, diocesan staff, parish leaders, and families,” said Marsha Rivas, NCPD Board Chair. “The NCPD staff, board of directors, the Catholic Disability Foundation, and our national ministry representatives are eager to welcome her to our team.”
“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,” said Katra. “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.”
The national search for Executive Director was conducted by an ad hoc committee under the guidance of non-profit search experts Vetted Solutions.
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Since 1982, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) has served the U.S. Catholic Church by providing resources, training, consultation and advocacy for the estimated 15 million U.S. Catholics who live with disability. Visit www.ncpd.org for more information on NCPD’s programs and services.