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Practicing Synodality: a lively week in Rome with the DL Accompaniment Network

by | 21 March 2024 | Blog, Videos

The global community of practice within the Discerning Leadership Program has recently concluded its second international gathering in Rome. Bringing together over 50 participants, including coaches, facilitators and spiritual accompaniers from approximately 20 countries, the event took place at Casa Maria Immacolata from March 10th through March 15th, 2024. This diverse group shared a common mission: to support the ongoing Synodal transformation within the Church.

Our week-long gathering provided a unique opportunity to experience the Universality of the Church and embrace the core values of Communion, Participation, and Mission inherent in the Synodal Process. Through both formal sessions and informal interactions, members had the chance to connect, celebrate the richness of our community, and draw upon the diverse perspectives and experiences present.

While our initial focus centred on providing accompaniment for DL alumni in embodying discerning and synodal leadership practices, our community has evolved over the years. We’ve become increasingly attuned to the emerging desire to engage in spaces of listening and communal discernment to promote mutual learning and growth in service of our shared mission.

The first two days of the gathering were dedicated to reflecting on the evolution of the DL Program, exploring the network’s history, and assessing our collective impact. Through prayer, sharing, and Eucharistic celebrations, we opened ourselves to discerning the grace filled contribution that God is already bringing forth in our community and the Church

In the course of our gathering, we were also confronted with wounds and shadows that required patient attention and space for inquiry, shared understanding, healing and reconciliation. These wounds related to the way that some members have experienced the exercise of authority and concern for more inclusive participation and co-responsibility. A challenging yet creative tension emerged between what some members framed in terms of the styles of authority associated with a masculine approach to decision making, which tends to be more unilateral and a more feminine approach which tends to be more multilateral, consensus and process oriented. We understood these dynamics within the context of the wider Church, where the same pains and sensitivities are apparent, and very much at the heart of the conversion to greater synodality.

Throughout the intensity and vulnerability of our encounters, our commitment to maintaining a discerning stance and fostering integrity deepened our relationships with one another, enabling us to better serve our mission and prepare for the road ahead.

As the week progressed, encounters with DL Faculty members, Synod participants, facilitators, and alumni provided valuable insights into the broader context of the Church and the lived experiences of the leaders we accompany.  The testimonies and expressions of gratitude from alumni underscored the profound impact of our collective efforts. Their insights and needs serve as guiding lights as we navigate the evolving landscape of leadership within the Church, reaffirming our commitment to walking alongside them in solidarity and service.

Through our shared experiences and unwavering dedication to the principles of discernment and synodality, we emerge from this gathering renewed in purpose and strengthened in unity, ready to continue our collective mission of fostering authentic leadership and nurturing the seeds of transformation within the Church and beyond.

Get a sense of the spirit of gathering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn-81EWXJts

Discerning Leadership Team

Discerning Leadership Team

We're passionate about developing the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of the senior Church leaders required to lead in a synodal manner.

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