U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President to Speak at disAbility Conference

10/24/2014

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, will be the keynote luncheon speaker at the 13th Annual U.S. Conference on disAbility hosted by The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

The daylong conference, titled “Faith, Family and Future: Rehabilitation with Results, a Conference on Employment, Transition and Independent Living,” will be held in the DeNaples Center. Archbishop Kurtz will discuss disability from a faith-based perspective beginning at 1 p.m.

Archbishop Kurtz is known as an advocate for persons with disabilities and his lifelong devotion to his brother, Georgie, who had Down syndrome. After their mother died, the then Fr. Kurtz brought Georgie to live with him in the parish rectory in Catasauqua, and then to the chancery when he was named Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee. Georgie was actively involved in the parish, diocese and community, and lived with his older brother until he died in 2002.

Several other prominent advocates of persons with disabilities will also be keynote presenters at the conference, including Janet L. LaBreck, commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education; and Kathleen West-Evans, director of business relations for the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR).

In addition, Judy McFarlane, author of “Writing with Grace: A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome,” and Grace Chen, who wrote “Cinderella-Grace Vancouver Princess,” will deliver a 4:30 p.m. public lecture, entitled “A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome,” in conjunction with the conference. McFarlane will describe how she was transformed by her experience helping Chen, a 24-year-old woman with Down syndrome, write a book. Chen will also participate in the lecture.

This year’s sponsors of the conference are Prudential Retirement, Allied Integrated Health System and the University’s Jesuit Center.

Additional information about the conference can be found at scranton.edu/disabilityconference, or by emailing the conference co-chairs Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, Ph.D., associate professor of counseling and human services, at rebecca.dalgin@scranton.edu, or Lori Bruch, Ed.D, associate professor of counseling and human services, at lori.bruch@scranton.edu.

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