Leading patients: Emerging paradigms of pastoral leadership in multi-faith health care facilities

Cesar Gabad Espineda, Fordham University


The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) not only introduced tremendous change to the life of the Catholic Church, but also ushered in a period of confusion and tumult in the lives of her leaders and members. The Council initiated new paradigms of leadership, structures, attitudes and directions, and gave the people of God, the laity and ordained, new ways of becoming church and doing ministry in the modern world. In becoming church and doing ministry, the leadership, structures, attitudes, and directions of the church must engage in critical dialogue and collaboration with the local and global worlds. The church must understand and adapt to the changing spiritual, pastoral, and human needs of her people. As a result, the pastoral leader is challenged once again to seek new paradigms of leadership that will address the world of the ill and suffering persons in the rapidly changing environment of the multi-faith health care facility today. This study was designed to explore the emerging paradigms of pastoral leadership in multi-faith health care facilities in the New York area. As a qualitative study, the researcher visited, interviewed, observed, described, and analyzed the leadership styles of 5 Catholic lay and ordained men and women in leading patients to a holistic view of life, healing, and recovery. This study characterized pastoral leadership as holistic, that is, imaginative, effective, transforming, and compelling. The factors that influenced the emerging paradigms of pastoral leadership are professional training such as clinical pastoral education; human attributes such as caring, respectfulness, responsible attitude, participatory leadership, willingness to share power, and self-awareness; and incarnational spirituality, that is, down-to-earth, heartfelt, or relational. The study identified 5 emerging paradigms of pastoral leadership. The pastoral leader is a builder of a community-of-persons, advocate of ethics and justice, meaning-maker person, person of incarnational spirituality, and prophet-in-dialogue with others. The pastoral leader as a prophet-in-dialogue with others must actively and openly engage in visioning, instilling hope, gathering a community, and building bridges with people of a different faith, race, gender, age, and culture.

Subject Area

Clergy|Health care|Theology

Recommended Citation

Espineda, Cesar Gabad, "Leading patients: Emerging paradigms of pastoral leadership in multi-faith health care facilities" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3021699.