Guide for Sponsors in Catholic Health Care

The CHA Guide for Sponsors in Catholic Health Care contains personal qualifications as well as a sponsor competencies matrix.

Personal Qualifications of Members of the Sponsor Body

Effective exercise of the responsibilities requires certain personal qualities and commitments of each sponsor body member. The following list is not exhaustive, but enumerates some basic qualifications that individual members of the sponsor body should exhibit:

2021 Personal Qualification
CHA Sponsorship Guide Cover Guide for Sponsors in Catholic Health Care
The sponsor competencies are completely revised and the new version, "Guide for Sponsors in Catholic Health Care: An Explanation of Purpose, Qualifications, Structures and Competencies" is now available.

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Mission - Personal Qualification

Commitment to the Mission - Commitment to the healing mission of Jesus and the mission and values of the particular sponsored ministry. 

Catholic Social Teraching - Personal Qualification
Commitment to Catholic Social Teaching – Commitment to and ability to advocate for Catholic Social Teaching, especially human dignity, justice, the common good, solidarity and a preferential option for the poor.  
Mature Spirituality - Personal Qualification
Mature Spirituality – Mature spirituality rooted in regular practice of faith and a personal prayer life (for Catholics, this means regular liturgical and sacramental life) and a commitment to the charism of the ministry. 
Spiritual Formation - Personal Qualification

Spiritual Formation – Participation in personal and communal spiritual formation for ministry appropriate to the role of sponsor. Regular formation activities are an integral part of sponsorship.

Prudence - Personal Qualification
Prudence – Prudence, that is, good judgement and ability to apply general principles to specific situations and to ask the right questions. This prudence guides both specific decisions the sponsor might be called to make as well as the ability to promote cooperative and fruitful relationships with the bishops and the Holy See, as well as with civic and political groups. 
Understand Sponsor Role - Personal Qualification
Understand the Role of the Sponsor – Ability to understand and exercise the role of the sponsor distinct from governance and management.  
Prophetic Imagination - Personal Qualification
Prophetic Imagination – Ability to exercise "prophetic imagination," by promoting the larger Gospel vision for the ministry and to take risks and speak boldly when necessary. 
Willingness to Grow - Personal Qualification
Willingness to Grow – Willingness to grow in knowledge of the various areas of expertise cited in the competency matrix. 
Willingness to Work as a Group  – Personal Qualification
Willingness to Work as a Group – Willingness to work as a group and take the time necessary for careful discernment as a sponsor body.  

Competency Matrix

In addition to the personal qualifications that each member of the sponsor body should possess, there are certain skills or areas of expertise that should be represented in the sponsor body as a whole. While not every member will possess knowledge in all these areas, the sponsor as a group should seek persons or have access to persons with expertise in each area, as appropriate. The sponsor as a whole should also exhibit as much gender, racial and cultural diversity as possible.

The sponsor body competencies include:

2021 Core Competencies
Theology - Competency Matrix


  • Advanced understanding of and ability to apply theological concepts such as Church, mission, ministry, eschatology, Christology, sacramentality, scripture and Catholic Social Teaching to the ministry of health care
  • Familiarity with canon law and Church structures, and especially the sponsor’s particular canonical structure, and bylaws
Ethics - Competency Matrix


  • Knowledge of health care ethics, both clinical and organizational
  • Knowledge and understanding of the Catholic moral tradition and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
  • Experience with ethical discernment at the system level
Ministry Formation - Competency Matrix


  • Knowledge of principles of spiritual formation, especially for adult laity 
  • Ability to contribute to a vibrant and prayerful sponsor community
  • Ability to support the spiritual growth of others through initiating, overseeing and assessing formation activities
  • Experience with the process of discernment in decision making
Clinical - Competency Matrix


  • Knowledge and ability to address clinical issues such as quality, standards of care, medical education and ethical issues
  • Extensive knowledge of the health care delivery system
Organization - Competency Matrix


  • Experience of how organizations act, decide and respond to external pressure 

  • Awareness of social, economic and political factors that impact health care in general and Catholic health care in particular
  • Ability to clearly articulate a rationale for decisions and priorities
  • Awareness of financial and operational principles as they relate to health care

In recruiting and vetting prospective sponsors, a wide variety of professional experiences is appropriate. The following kinds of experience should be considered relevant:

  • Church, business or health care leadership
  • Mission leadership in health care, higher education or social services
  • Health care ethics
  • Theological research or teaching
  • Spiritual formation of religious or laity
  • Clinical medicine
  • Public and population health
  • Senior care
  • Social justice and advocacy
  • Health care strategy
  • Organizational development