Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to Deliver Commencement Address at May Graduation

by Tom McNamara | May 04, 2016

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

The Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., archbishop of Louisville and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will deliver the commencement address during the 48th commencement exercises at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 21, on the campus mall between Dooling Hall and the McShea Student Union. (In case of rain, commencement will be held in Billera Hall.)

Click here for Commencement weekend details.

Archbishop Joseph KurtzDuring the ceremony, DeSales President Fr. Bernard O’Connor, OSFS, will confer degrees upon 453 graduating students, including traditional undergraduates, graduate, and ACCESS students. In addition, students who graduated in January 2016 are invited to walk in the May ceremony as the January ceremony was cancelled because of snow.

Kurtz (right) was appointed the fourth Archbishop and ninth bishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville on June 12, 2007, by Pope Benedict. He was installed as Archbishop of Louisville on August 15, 2007. Before coming to Louisville, Archbishop Kurtz served as Bishop of Knoxville from 1999 to 2007.

Before becoming Bishop of Knoxville, Kurtz served for 27 years in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in charge of social services, diocesan administration, and parish ministry. He was pastor of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish in Bethlehem, PA, from 1996 to 1999, and St. Mary Parish in Catasauqua, PA from 1988 to 1996, associate director and later executive director of the Catholic Social Agency and Family Life Bureau from 1976 to 1994, and diocesan coordinator for health affairs from 1991 to 1998.

He also served in formation at St. Pius X Seminary, as an instructor at Mary Immaculate Seminary, and as the assistant director and promoter of vocations for the Diocese of Allentown. Kurtz received the distinguished title of monsignor in 1986.

Kurtz has served on numerous boards, including service on the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference from 1977 to 1998, as the president of the board of directors of the Catholic Social Agency from 1988 to 1999, and in Knoxville, as a member of the Association of Christian Denominational Leaders from 2000 to 2007. He was a member of the 2002 class of Leadership Knoxville, and he served as Vice President of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013.  Kurtz served on the board of Leadership Louisville from 2008 to 2014 and on the board of St. Charles Seminary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) from 2007 to 2014.

Elected President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 12, 2013, Kurtz serves on the executive and administrative committees of that body. He also serves as a member of the Council for the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University and on the Advisory Board to the Cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification.  In February of 2014, Pope Francis appointed Kurtz to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Born on August 18, 1946, in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Kurtz earned bachelor (1968) and master of divinity (1972) degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and a master’s degree in social work from the Marywood School of Social Work in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1976. Kurtz was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Allentown on March 18, 1972.


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Tom McNamara
Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219
Tom.McNamara@desales.edu