CHA webinar series offers fundamentals and advanced instruction in sponsorship

September 1, 2020

Participants can attend select episodes or the series

CHA has launched a webinar series for potential and current sponsors — as well as for other ministry and church leaders to offer a solid foundation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of sponsorship models that increase the role of the laity in sustaining Catholic health care and other vital ministries of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Bouchard

"Sponsorship: Sustaining the Ministry" is made up of two sections: The first six webinars cover the fundamentals of sponsorship, and the second six address advanced issues in sponsorship. People can attend all installments of either or both series, or they can pick and choose which sessions to attend. Participation is free to CHA members and $100 per session for nonmembers.

To get the most benefit from the comprehensive curriculum, CHA recommends that participants attend all six webinars in the "Fundamentals of Sponsorship" series. Each session is being recorded, to serve as a resource for participants and for ministry organizations, their sponsors, board members, chief executives and others.

CHA will broadcast the webinars from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET on the second Wednesday of the month, except for December. The first episode in the fundamentals series aired Aug. 12; that series runs through Feb. 10. The second series runs March 10 through Aug. 11, 2021.

The sessions, which are conducted over the Zoom videoconferencing platform, include presentations by sponsorship experts, discussion among participants and breakouts for small-group dialogue and interaction.

CHA offers an intensive, two-year formation program to help Catholic health ministry sponsors to prepare for and acclimate to their role. Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, CHA senior director of theology and sponsorship, said this new webinar series fills a need for foundational information about the shared roles and distinct responsibilities vested in sponsors of sacred works.

From the founding of Catholic health care ministries, congregations of women and men religious served as those facilities' sponsor, overseeing how the facilities lived out their Catholic identity and how they continued the healing ministry of Christ.

As memberships in the congregations declined and out of the desire of the congregational sponsors to involve lay leaders in the sponsorship of their ministries, the ministry began to use the ministerial juridic person model of sponsorship. The model was first used in this way beginning in 1991, when the Vatican approved Catholic Health Care Federation as the ministerial juridic person of a predecessor of Catholic Health Initiatives. (That entity became the sponsor of CHI when that system was formed through merger in 1996. Catholic Health Care Federation now sponsors CommonSpirit Health, the organization formed by the merger of CHI and Dignity Health.)

Fr. Bouchard said since the ministerial juridic person sponsorship model is relatively new in the history of the Catholic health ministry, a lot of people still do not have a good understanding of what it is and how it functions. The webinar series is meant to bridge that knowledge gap.

Fr. Bouchard led the first webinar, explaining how health care is a church ministry and inviting participants to describe their personal call to ministry. In the Sept. 9 session, Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, CHA’s president and chief executive officer, will join the seminar to explain why sponsorship is important to the future of Catholic health care. In subsequent sessions, guest experts will examine different sponsorship models, explain canonical aspects of sponsorship, cover the relationship between sponsors and top executives of health systems from the executives' perspective and delve into the relationship between sponsors, local ordinaries and the Vatican.

The second series of six webinars will cover more advanced sponsorship duties including ecclesial relationships and recruitment and formation of sponsors.

People can register at any time for one or multiple sessions at As of early August, nearly 200 people had registered for the webinars.



Copyright © 2020 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.