New initiative will assist in formation of Catholic health, aged care leaders

Following the endorsement of a new strategy to assist Catholic health and aged care services in the formation of trustees, board directors and senior executives, Catholic Health Australia has today launched Pathways – an initiative that will help services maintain their identity and fidelity to their mission.

"At our 'Stewards of the Mission' conference earlier this year, representatives from all the major Catholic health and aged care providers were in agreement that there was huge benefit to be gained from working together in the area of leader formation," Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said.

"Catholic health and aged care services – as well as a range of other ministries – are going through a period of significant change as the governance and leadership of many of those ministries moves from religious orders to lay people and new canonical structures. We recognise that the collective wisdom around the CHA network is an invaluable resource, so we are drawing upon that through Pathways."

Mr Laverty said that predominantly through the presence of religious sisters and brothers, there was an assumption that those in leadership roles had undergone significant preparation and formation, often including theological training. Today's leaders have not necessarily had the same opportunity to be exposed to and shaped by the fundamentals of the Catholic vision.

"We are looking at this transition from religious to lay leadership as a great opportunity, but we also understand there are challenges. By bringing together leaders from a range of our services – large and small, hospitals and aged care, trustees, board and executive level – our Leader Formation Taskforce is able to help shape the future on behalf of the CHA family during this period," Mr Laverty said.

In the coming weeks, the Leader Formation Taskforce will release a "priorities matrix" for consultation among the CHA membership. It outlines the initial work that the Taskforce believes should be undertaken as part of a strategy that will be rolled out over the coming years.

"This is a responsibility that will continue well into the future," Mr Laverty said. "We recognise that there are some aspects of this work that need to be implemented immediately, but this will be a long-term process and we're grateful for the willingness of many of our members to commit to this work."

Mr Laverty said that formation activities that are currently being carried out by member organisations won't be affected by the Pathways initiatives, but practices that have been successful in the formation of leaders of member organisations might be incorporated into Pathways. New resources will also be developed to strengthen the formation activities of CHA members.

"There is such a vast repository of knowledge that we can draw upon from past and current leaders of health and aged care. We would be wise to look at that work first and share that wisdom," he said.

"While our services have a range of different founding stories, the commitment to the healing ministry of Jesus is shared. Pathways provides a great opportunity to collaborate more closely and further strengthen that ministry of service."

Today's launch of Pathways coincides with the launch of the Pathways website. Visit www.pathwaysformission.com for more information on the initiative and to hear from Leader Formation Taskforce members about the work they are undertaking.

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