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Half-Day Conference
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022
8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Bishop O'Connell High School
6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington, VA

Join us for the Arlington Diocese Inclusion to Belonging half-day conference on Saturday, Nov. 5. Come learn about how to increase meaningful inclusive experiences for individuals with disabilities in the life of the church and connect with others interested in doing the same.  If you are clergy, catechist, youth minister, volunteer, teacher, parent, student or self-advocate: This conference is for you! We will feature an inspiring keynote conversation, informative break-out sessions, and an exhibit and networking area to enhance connections in our Diocese.  This conference will include:

Keynote Conversation
Rev. Bob Cilinski (Pastor, Nativity Catholic Church)
Joyce Kelly (Transition Specialist)

Breakout Sessions

Youth Ministry as a Place of Belonging For All
Kevin Bohli (Executive Director, Office of Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Arlington)

Opening Doors to Catholic Education
Mary Desmarais (Catholic Inclusion Services, LLC)

Sacramental Preparation for Children with Disabilities
Nancy Emanuel (Coordinator for Special Needs Ministry, Diocese of Arlington)

The Diocesan Strategic Plan in Action
Ward Jones (COO, Diocese of Arlington)

You Are Not Alone: Resources for Your Parish Ministries
Charleen Katra (Executive Director, National Catholic Partnership on Disability)

Sensory Mass
Celebrated by Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington


February 2022 - Virtual Mini-Conference

The in-person From Inclusion to Belonging mini-conference was postponed due to COVID concerns, and instead we invited teachers, clergy, parents, administrators to join us in a webinar format. This virtual conference hosted by the Diocese of Arlington included opening remarks by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, followed by a keynote address by Beth Foraker, Executive Director of the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion. Beth inspires her listeners to take small steps toward greater inclusion for individuals with disabilities in the daily life of the Church. Organizers and panelists included Diane Elliott (Asst. Superintendent of Catholic Schools for Student Services and Federal Programs), Dr. Nancy Emmanuel (Coordinator for Special Needs Ministries), Larry Rzepka (Porto Charities), Carmen Chiapetta (teacher and parent), and Susan Rinaldi (Director of Expanded Services at Bishop O'Connell High School).

Read more about the program in the Arlington Catholic Herald.

View a recording of the event below:


What's Next?

We hope you will join us for an in-person mini conference on November 5, 2022 at Bishop O'Connell High School to continue learning together.  If you have any questions, please contact Susan Rinaldi at