In a recent article for the Catholic Health Association journal Health Progress, Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascension, unpacks the meaning and impact that the Ascension Sponsor, a ministerial public juridic person, continues to have in Catholic healthcare.
The Ascension Sponsor, a 10-member group that works to steward Ascension’s Catholic identity and Mission, assures that the ministry will be sustained and strengthened over time. It is the formal link between Ascension and the Catholic Church – a role that in the past was filled by the religious congregations that founded Ascension’s health ministries.
The Spirit's contemporary involvement in the Catholic healing ministry is evidenced by creation of the ministerial public juridic person (MPJP), which builds on the heritage and traditions of our founders — all while opening the door to lay leadership within an increasingly complex healthcare landscape,” Tony says. “We do not view this changing face of sponsorship as a loss; rather, we envision it as the next chapter in an unfolding narrative, only made possible by a flourishing partnership between our local health ministries, the Ascension sponsor, local ordinaries and the Holy See.”
Tony urges MPJPs to work together to strengthen Catholic healthcare. “I ponder how strong our voice could be as an assembly of MPJPs all working on behalf of our collective calling,” he says. “Consider that of all the existing ministerial juridic persons in the world, 15 of them are located in the United States. As a coalition of analogous organizations, we have enormous potential to collaborate on creative, courageous ways to bring about the reign of God through Catholic healthcare.”
Tony also shares a timeline of sponsorship as well as a depiction of the Ascension Sponsor’s organizational structure.
Zeni Fox, PhD, a member of the Ascension Sponsor and Professor Emerita of Pastoral Theology, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University, has an article about sponsorship in the same Health Progress issue.
“Today, members of a sponsor often are laypeople whose spiritual paths may have developed idiosyncratically, as well as having been influenced by one or more of the great traditions,” Zeni says. “This calls for a new honoring of diversity in the spirituality of sponsorship, as different spiritual gifts, different charisms, are present because of the shaping forces of the individual circumstances.”
Click here to read the articles.