FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 15, 2017
Janice L. Benton, 202-529-2933;301-641-7195
Anne Masters, 973-579-4155;973-714-4432
The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) will participate in Living Fully 2016: “Disability, Culture and Faith – A Celebration,” an international academic symposium and conference, from June 23- 26, 2016, in Rome. Patrons for the conference are the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, Jean Vanier, and The Kairos Forum.
"This conference provides a valuable opportunity to broaden our understanding and experience of disability in concert with attendees from throughout the world" said Janice Benton, Executive Director of NCPD in Washington DC.
The ecumenical event will gather persons and families living with disabilities, theologians, service providers, clergy and laity involved in pastoral practice from all over the world, including four U.S. Catholic Dioceses, to share experiences, explore possibilities and pray about the experiences of disability across cultures, within parish life.
Attendees from the United States will include NCPD representatives Janice Benton; Sr. Kathleen Schipani, IHM, Director of the Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Chair of the NCPD Board; Martin Benton, retired lawyer, advocate, and project volunteer; Margaret M. Rousseau, M.Ed., Director, Disabilities Ministry Archdiocese of Atlanta, and member, NCPD Council on Intellectual and Development Disabilities (CIDD); Anne Masters, MA, Director, Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities Archdiocese of Newark, and member, CIDD; Mary O'Meara, Executive Director of the Department of Special Needs Ministries for the Archdiocese of Washington; and Theologians Dr. Mary Beth Walsh, Ph.D., Peer Counselor with MOM2MOM, New Jersey, and former co-chair, NCPD Autism Task Force; and Dr. Miguel Romero, professor of theology at Salve Regina University, and former Scholar in Residence, Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame.
Ms. Masters and Dr. Walsh coordinated and promoted the conference throughout the U.S. Both will speak at the events, as will Dr. Romero. Ms. Masters will present a paper at the symposium entitled “Don’t Worry: He’s in a Perpetual State of Grace – An Opportunity for Charity? A Catholic Tradition in Understanding Disability and its Impact on Ministry.” On the second day of the conference she will facilitate reflection and discussion of the morning’s presentations within scriptural context, which is an important element of both events, to reflect on life with disability and within the Church within the context of Jesus’ life. Dr. Walsh will present the paper, “Autism, Culture, Church: From Disruption to Hope” in the symposium and “Taking Ben to Church: Lessons Learned” in the conference. Dr. Romero’s paper for the conference is “Why is Disability Theology important at this point in Christian History: Leading the Church.”
Sr. Schipani and Martin and Janice Benton will offer Poster Presentations on the following topics:
The Transformation of Disability Ministry in the United States: Getting Beyond “Coulds” and “Shoulds”
Experiencing Belonging in a Welcoming Congregation: A Personal Journey
Welcomed and Valued: The Spiritual Dimension of Building Community with People with Mental Illness
"As the mother of a teenager with autism who has thrived in our local parish, I look forward to the Living Fully 2016 Conference with great hope and anticipation,” stated Dr. Walsh.
NCPD is proud to sponsor the Conference and a presentation by Dr. Romero. Special thanks are offered to additional U.S. sponsors: Our Sunday Visitor, Loyola Press, Friendship Ministries, Jack Del Rio Foundation, Redemptorist Publications, Archdiocese of Newark Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, and the University of Notre Dame Institute for Church Life.
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 14 million U.S. Catholics who live with disability. NCPD collaborates with the USCCB on matters dealing with access to faith for persons with disabilities. NCPD’s goal: Full inclusion of persons with disabilities -in the Church and in Society. Visit http://www.ncpd.org for more information on NCPD’s programs and services.