Definition and Description

Ministry formation creates experiences that invite those who serve in Catholic health care to discover connections between personal meaning and organizational purpose. These connections inspire and enable participants to articulate, integrate, and implement the distinctive elements of Catholic health ministry so that it flourishes now and into the future.

Ministry formation is always invitational and inclusive, meeting each person where they are in their life journey. It is a dynamic, life-long, self-reflective process. Building upon the lived experience of the participants, we support their ongoing growth as persons and leaders in Catholic ministry. Ministry formation inspires participants to consider their calling in a contemplative way, find deeper meaning in their work and realize their gifts as they grow in service to the community and one another. In the process, participants adopt and cultivate behaviors and practices that deepen their personal identity as well as the Catholic identity of the organization.

Today, through leadership formation, that same call to provide health and hope is being answered by the laity in unique and creative ways, including addressing social determinants of health and providing essential community benefit.

Catholic social teaching insists that the human person is intrinsically social and recognizes that the delivery of health care is a collegial effort. For this reason, formation takes place in community, where participants may gain a sense of belonging to and participating in the Catholic ministry. As associates grasp what is distinctive to Catholic ministry and become comfortable, they find ways personally and professionally to articulate and integrate the dynamics of Vocation, Tradition, Spirituality, Ethics, Catholic Social Teaching and Discernment. Through this process, people grow in their abilities to live out the mission of the organization in a manner that gives witness to Gospel values.


“The Road to Emmaus” artwork is a paradigmatic image for the formational process — the oftentimes confused information we have to deal with (head), the gradual and even dramatic change that can take place when we “see” and allow the Spirit into our being (heart), and how this can become a transformational process whereby we want to share, and be of love and service to all others, and in the world (feet, or hands).
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