The Discerning Leadership Program: supporting Pope Francis’ vision

By Pablo Bernal

Pope Francis calls the Church to discern a path forward as a community of faith, to become a synodal Church that reaches out to the world, especially to those who are outcast or rejected, a Church that joyfully proclaims the infinite, unconditional, and universal love of God.

Recognizing that this vision of reform and renewal requires the ongoing conversion of the Church to live ever more faithfully the Spirit of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Gospels, the Society of Jesus designed the Program for Discerning Leadership. This project wants to help develop the capacities and competencies needed for this transformation. To do so, the Program offers different services and formation opportunities: courses, ongoing education, coaching for leaders, consultation for group/organizational processes, and spiritual accompaniment.

Two weeks ago we led the 2nd module of the Discerning Leadership 2021 Program with our Spanish cohort and we were very pleased with the results. The participants were very engaged, sharing their diverse experiences of leadership and case studies from their own organizations with the other members; the faculty presented and facilitated outstandingly and the atmosphere of spiritual conversation, learning and community was excellent.


This week, we are very excited to host the English cohort for the 2nd module of the Program. They are 26 participants (14 women and 12 men) from 15 different countries, and similar to the Spanish speaking cohort, they serve as leaders in different Vatican Curia Dicasteries and Congregations, Religious Orders, and other Church organizations.

Annually, we offer two courses in Rome, one in English and one in Spanish, for 30 Church Leaders, men and women, religious and lay. And we will soon offer the Program in other continents, starting in Bangalore, India, this December 2021.

For the courses in Rome, we bring world-class faculty from Georgetown University, ESADE and the Gregorian University to form Church Leaders in leadership and management skills, integrated with the principles, values, and practices of Christian faith and spirituality.

Some of the key competencies developed in the Program are:
• Personal and Spiritual Formation for Discerning Leadership
• Leading and Managing Teams
• Communication and Conflict Resolution
• Organizational Culture and Development
• Leading Change
• Strategy and Apostolic Planning


The testimonies of the participants have been rich: many recognized that the Program was a transformative and “Synodal experience” for them. They felt that people from different vocations and organizations can journey together as a community, learning how to discern the call of God in their lives and their missions, and how we, as a broad Christian community, can respond together to this call, blending each person’s diverse talents and gifts.

This year, the Program hosted Card. Mario Grech, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, and Mgr. Luis Marín de San Martín from the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. They shared with the participants the proposal of the Church in regards to Synodality, and the process that the Secretariat of the Synod is leading for a more Synodal Church. These inputs, are very important to frame the whole Program, so that all of the sessions, that focus on leadership and discernment, are understood as means for leading in a synodal (and discerned) manner.

Discerning Leadership

We invite you to know more about our Program, and access our large resources on Leadership, Discernment, and Synodality through our website.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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