March 5, 2020

Amber Roseboom
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archdiocese of Washington, to Lead 2020 Peace and Justice Conference to Address Sin of Racism

Annual Conference Outlines Diocesan Response to Racism, Through Understanding, Conversion and Action  

ARLINGTON, Va. - On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archdiocese of Washington, will tackle the topic of racism at the annual Peace and Justice Conference. Archbishop Gregory will be the keynote speaker. This year's conference is named after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2018 pastoral letter responding to racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.” The conference will delve into the pastoral letter's call to confront the sin of racism within ourselves and the broader society with a call to greater understanding, conversion and action. 

“More than 50 years after the civil rights movement began in this country, the sin of racism continues to afflict our communities and our nation. As followers of Christ, we are called to confront and eliminate all forms of prejudice and bigotry,” said Bishop Burbidge. “The question we must ask ourselves and answer is: 'What am I willing to do?' As members of God's holy family, we have a responsibility and sacred duty to do our part in eradicating racism and replacing hatred with love, so we can live in harmony as brothers and sisters united in Christ.” 

Conference Details


2020 Peace and Justice Conference - 
Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love 

When: Saturday, March 14, 2020
5 p.m. Mass
Celebrant and Homilist: Archbishop Gregory; Concelebrant: Bishop Burbidge
6:15 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Keynote by Archbishop Gregory
7:45 p.m. Panel and Q&A with Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Burbidge, and the diocesan parishioners responding

Nativity Catholic Church
6400 Nativity Lane
Burke, VA 22015

Panelists include:

Emelda August, parishioner of Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City who works with the parish's Black History & Heritage Outreach Ministry to promote Black Catholic saints and saints-to-be. Emelda was one of the selected speakers at the Diocese of Arlington's Listening Session on Racism in May 2019. She is active in the Diocese of Arlington's Black Catholic Ministry and is a recipient of the Father Augustus Tolton & Mother Lange Catholic Award.

Alexandra Luevano, Program Director, Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic. Alexandra is a member of the Diocese of Arlington's Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and was one of the organizers for the Diocesan Listening Session on Racism in May 2019.

Jose Aguto, Associate Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant in DC, and has worked for the National Congress of American Indians as the Senior Policy Advisor for tribal climate, energy and environmental issues, as Senior Policy Advisor with USEPA's American Indian Environmental Office, and Policy and Development Associate for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  

This event is hosted by the diocesan Peace and Justice Commission, which consists of members appointed by the Bishop. It evangelizes, educates and encourages the faithful, collaborating with Bishop Burbidge, to foster resolute dedication to the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human person, in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching.

To register for the conference, please provide your first and last name in an email to  Deadline for registration is March 9, 2020.

For information on the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, visit

For additional information, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

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The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students.

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.