By Mike Matvey | Staff writer

The Evangelist, Diocese of Albany

With the Synod of Bishops on preparation in full swing, listening—especially to people with different points of view—is more important than ever.

That is why a national virtual event presented by Ignatian Volunteer Corps is coming at exactly the right time. “The Heart of Discerning Leadership: Growing Beyond Polarization,” will be hosted by Father David McCallum, SJ, at 10 a.m. on April 9. The 90-minute program will benefit IVC Albany and Syracuse. Father McCallum is the executive director of the Discerning Leadership Program, a collaboration between Le Moyne College, the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, ESADE in Spain and Georgetown University. (ESADE is a “global institution structured as a business school, a law school and an executive-education area.”)

He is also a consultant to the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and a member of the Methodology Commission for the Synod.

Linda Zimmerman, IVC Syracuse regional director, said the workshop will be about not just managing our differences, but having “people really question their heart and their own assumptions that create differences.”

Kathleen Burgess, IVC Albany regional director, observes, “I think this is a topic that is certainly close to Father David’s heart through his work with the Discerning Leadership Program and this idea of listening and learning how to listen to the other.” She adds, “I think right now during this time of polarization, the question is really how do we as Christians grow beyond polarization. I think it is going to be a really good topic for us.”

Zimmerman also said Father McCallum will talk about the synod process as well as his work with discerning leadership. The workshop touches on themes from Pope Francis’ book “Let Us Dream: A Path to a Better Future” that all IVC regions have been reading.

“How do we manage these issues without tearing each other down? How do we build each other up? This is the vision of IVC. Who is our brother? Who is our sister?” Zimmerman said. “How do we accompany others through their journey and bring what we have been so greatly gifted. The IVC mission is not to fix or rescue. We don’t serve with the assumption that we know better, but we accompany others whether it is in their suffering or their joy.”

For more information and to register, head to

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Mike Matvey and the staff of The Evangelist for sharing this story with our readers.

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