Beginning in fall 2015, CHA will offer a four-session, in-depth "Sponsor Formation Program for Catholic Health Care" to prepare people for a sponsorship role in the Catholic health ministry and to advance the capabilities of sitting sponsors.
Participants will gather in person four weekends during an 18-month period to hear speaker presentations, take part in small and large group interactions, pray and reflect on the sponsors' call to serve, their role in the Catholic Church, their responsibilities as sponsors and the future of sponsorship.
The sponsor formation program will be open to current and prospective members of a sponsoring body in the ministry. Sponsors are charged with ensuring the organization is maintaining its Catholic identity and carrying out its Catholic health mission. Catholic facility board members and trustees and executive leaders who interact frequently with sponsors also will be eligible for the formation program. Only people connected with CHA member organizations will be able to take part. Participation will be by invitation of CHA member systems involved in the program, and enrollment will be limited.
The sponsor formation program builds upon — and will replace — two formation programs that had been created and operated by groups of Catholic health care providers. The Collaborative Formation Program for Public Juridic Persons has been offered since 2003 and will wrap up in March 2015. It served seven Catholic health care systems with a public juridic person model of sponsorship. The Collaborative Sponsor Formation Program had been offered since 2008 and completed its final session this spring. It served a dozen organizations including Catholic health care systems with various sponsorship models. According to Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, CHA senior director of sponsor services, both programs had a similar curriculum, focused on forming ministry leaders — mostly laypeople —to take on or to continue in a sponsor role in Catholic health ministry. The participating systems operated and funded these programs.
Sr. Haddad noted that the systems involved with the legacy formation programs created those offerings at a time when, in accordance with Vatican II, increasing numbers of ministry systems were seeking greater lay involvement in sponsorship. Many of these health systems were transitioning to the public juridic model of sponsorship that allows, with Vatican approval, for laity to serve in such roles. Lay involvement is continuing to increase in the ministry, Sr. Haddad said, noting that CHA's leadership will ensure a strong foundation for formation now and in the future.
The sponsor formation program will convene at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, Ill. The new program will draw elements from the curricula of both legacy programs, according to Sr. Haddad. Past instructors have included Fr. Bryan Hehir, professor of religion and public life at Harvard University; Fr. Thomas Kopfensteiner, STD, executive vice president of mission for Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives; and Sr. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM, vice chair of Partners in Catholic Health Ministries of Cincinnati. Some faculty members from the legacy programs may teach in the CHA-sponsored program.
Information on the program is available from Sr. Haddad.
Steering committee for sponsor formation program
Sr. Mary Noel Brown, CSA, executive leader of sponsorship for the Congregation of St. Agnes Sponsorship Ministry of Fond du Lac, Wis.
Sr. Kathy Ann Green, RSM, senior vice president of mission and values integration, Mercy Health, Cincinnati, formerly Catholic Health Partners
Thomas H. Morris, senior vice president, sponsorship and theology, Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Md.
Sr. Catherine O'Connor, CSB, vice president, mission and sponsorship, Covenant Health Systems, Tewksbury, Mass.
Diarmuid Rooney, executive director, formation and communication technology, Ministry Leadership Center, Portland, Ore.
Sr. Mary M. Haddad, RSM, CHA senior director, sponsor services
Lori Ashmore-Ruppel, CHA mission program and research associate
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