Catholic News Service photo
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., addresses a news conference following his election as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 12 in Baltimore.
Catholic News Service photo
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., addresses a news conference following his election as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 12 in Baltimore.
BALTIMORE — The newly elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a bishop for nearly 14 years, but it's as priest, family member and social worker that he describes himself.

By way of introduction to American Catholics, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., talked about his upbringing in the coal regions of northeastern Pennsylvania, of spending most of his priesthood as a social worker, and of caring for his older brother, George, who had Down syndrome, for 12 years after their mother died, until George died in 2002.

Archbishop Kurtz was elected by his fellow bishops to serve a three-year term as president of the conference, succeeding New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in the post. He has been vice president of the USCCB for the past three years and was elected amid a slate of 10 bishops with a 125-vote win on the first ballot Nov. 12.

In an interview shortly after his election, Archbishop Kurtz spoke of seeing the example of Pope Francis as a model for outreach, listening and collegiality. "He's asking us to go beyond what we've been doing," he said. "If it was a car, I guess we're moving in to high gear."