Symposium Post Event Summary


All Belong Symposium for the Archdiocese of Detroit:



When:                         November 2, 2019 7:30 am – 1 pm EDT
Location:                     Madonna University
Attendees:                   131 Registered Attendees
Parishes:                     50 Parishes represented

Program Summary:

On November 2nd 2019 131 attendees representing 50 Parishes, 6 Diocese attended the first ever “All Belong Symposium” for the Archdiocese of Detroit to learn the U.S. Catholic Church’s teachings, guidelines, insights, and best practices to expand belonging for people with disabilities in the Catholic Church of Southeast Michigan.

Clergy, educators, parents, catechists, caregivers, and professionals from attended to ”Unleash the Gospel” and expand belonging for persons with disabilities throughout our Archdiocese.  The half day event featured a Special Needs Mass, nationally recognized keynote speakers and breakout sessions to creating actionable strategies to expand belonging in our church.


Keynote speakers Included:

  • Jason Shanks, a parent of a child with a disability, CEO of Our Sunday Visitor and former Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan shared why including individuals in parish life and the sacraments was fundamental and imperative to our Christianity.
  • Charleen Katra from the Archdiocese of Houston and the National Catholic Partnership on Disability Board Member spoke on strategies of faith formation, sacramental preparation and best practices to assist persons with disabilities in Parish life.

There were breakout sessions for Clergy, Catechists, and Parents:

  • Strategies for Extending the Sacraments to Individuals with Disabilities;
  • Networking and Support for creating belonging in the Parish;
  • Strategies, and Resources for Educators and Catechists.


This event received overwhelming support and sponsorship from notable national and regional organizations including: the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Knights of Columbus, Loyola Press, Madonna University, Christ our Light! Catholic Church, Divine Mercy Academy, St. John Deaf Center, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, St. Irenaeus Catholic Church, Autism Alliance of Michigan,  Right to Life of Michigan, and Alliance Catholic Credit Union. 

More Information:

Keynote replays are available on the All Belong Facebook Page.