Agreement between St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Bon Secours Health System for the provision of ongoing learning for staff

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Posted 16th November

Agreement between St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Bon Secours Health System for the provision of ongoing learning for staff.

Thursday, 16th November 2023: In response to challenges in the provision of Pastoral Care, Bon Secours Health System has made available a bursary to develop a continuous education initiative which will support the ongoing professional development of pastoral care workers in areas of work in diocese, parish, healthcare, education, prison and military.

Bon Secours Health System (BSHS) identified St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth (SPPU) as a partner in the provision of such professional development, especially for those in Catholic pastoral care roles and to assist with the continuous education and training of people working in Pastoral Care or Chaplaincy roles.

The President of St Patricks Pontifical University, Rev Prof Michael Mullaney and Chief Sponsorship and Mission Officer at Bon Secours Health System, Andrew McCarthy have formally signed the agreement for provision of these educational services between both organisations.

SPPU will develop and provide Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes, micro credentials and short courses aligned to the National Qualifications Framework. These will be made accessible on its online learning platform and are being designed to accumulate toward recognised certification and can scale to Master’s level. SPPU will develop three Level 9 courses in the field of Ethics, Pastoral Care and Values based leadership. Academic content will be developed and delivered by SPPU.Utilising the online learning platform means the programmes are accessible at times suitable to those in employment. The programmes will rollout in 2024.

Commenting on the agreement to develop and deliver these programmes, President of St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, said: ‘I am very encouraged to see this agreement come to fruition between both organisations. At SPPU we see our role as being at the forefront of Pastoral and Ministry education and ensuring professionals in the field have adequate skills to make a real difference in the lives of those they serve. Partnering with such a strong group as Bon Secours Health System to assist them deliver their Pastoral care and Chaplaincy mission is a perfect fit for us. I welcome the team at Bon Secours to the SPPU learning community and look forward to celebrating their achievements at future graduations’.

Andrew McCarthy, Chief Sponsorship and Mission Officer at Bon Secours Health System, added: ‘Our mission in Bon Secours Health System is deeply rooted in providing compassionate and exceptional medical care to those in need. We believe in the important role pastoral care plays in healthcare and related fields. This partnership signifies a significant step forward in advancing the education and training of pastoral care professionals, ultimately benefiting the communities they serve.’

The development of these pastoral and outreach programmes is a real demonstration of SPPU delivering on its mission of drawing on its Catholic tradition, committing to the highest levels of teaching, learning, research, and publication to promote the intellectual, human and professional development of its students. The programmes for Bon Secours Health System will be delivered by the team at the University’s recently launched Centre for Mission and Ministries.

Commenting on the agreement, Dr Jessie Rogers, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at SPPU remarked:This agreement is an exciting development for us here at SPPU. It is a tangible representation of how our Mission and Ministries programmes aim to equip people for effective ministry in both church and society. The roll out of programmes through our online platform responds to the needs of today’s professional learner who needs to juggle professional development with busy careers and family life. Our online platform puts the learner more in control of when and how to engage with their individual learning needs’.



Pictured at the signing of an agreement between St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Bon Secours Health System for the provision of Professional development programmes by the university to BSHS is Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, President of SPPU and Andrew McCarthy, Chief Sponsorship and Mission Officer, BSHS.


Information on key academic delivering these programmes

Prof. David Smith

David Smith is Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics in RCSI and Director of the MSc in Health Care Ethics and Law in RCSI. He lectures on health care ethics in Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He is the Ethics Consultant to the Bon Secours Health System and the Ethics Committee of the Daughters of Charity Family Services. He was a member of the Irish Council for Bioethics and the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee on Bioethics Ethics, the Medicinal Cannabis Expert Reference Group, the Domestic Violence Service Team, UNESCO Committee – Ireland, the ISCP Professional Procedures/Ethics Standing Committee, the National Committee for the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes, the Living Donor Ethics Committee of Beaumont University Hospital, the Ethics Working Group of the Irish Association of Palliative Care Consultants, and the Advisory Committee on Research Ethics Committees in Ireland established by HIQA. The Ethics Working Party of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice, the European Network for Research Ethics Committees (EUREC) and ethical advisor to Atomium Culture. He is on the Scientific and Ethics Advisory Committee for a number of FP7 and H2020 projects. He is also a member of a number of Research Ethics Committees in Ireland.

Professor Tobias Winright

Professor Tobias Winright is a Roman Catholic moral theologian with a wide range of teaching and research interests. Formerly a law enforcement officer (initially corrections, then policing, and as a police academy ethics instructor) and a lay ecclesial minister (in campus, parish, and youth ministry), he wrote his dissertation on “The Challenge of Policing: An Analysis in Christian Social Ethics” and received his PhD in Moral Theology/Christian Ethics from the University of Notre Dame in 2002. He is currently working on his STL at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. His MDiv is from Duke University Divinity School, his BA in Political Science is from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, and his AA in Liberal Arts is from St. Petersburg College.

He has received several awards for his publications and his teaching. His prior academic appointments include: Saint Louis University (2005-2022), where from 2014 to 2019 he held the Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair in Health Care Ethics at the Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics; Walsh University (2003-2005); and Simpson College (1998-2003). Currently, he is also an Associate Member of the Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. He is Book Review Editor for Health Care Ethics USA. He was Co-editor of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics from 2012 to 2017. From 2010 to 2015 he also was Book Review Editor for the journal Political Theology. Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Catholic Social Thought.

He has authored, coauthored, edited, and coedited 7 books, with the most recent being the T&T Clark Handbook of Christian Ethics, published in 2021 by Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, and Serve and Protect: Selected Essays on Just Policing, published in 2020 by Cascade Books. His coauthored book After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice, originally published by Orbis Books in 2011, was republished in 2022, with a new preface, by Wipf & Stock Publishers. He has authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, 65 book reviews, and another 50 popular articles in periodicals and magazines such as The Tablet, the Irish Catholic Newspaper, America, Commonweal, Sojourners, Christian Century, National Catholic Reporter, US Catholic, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, and Taekwondo Times.

He was Vice President of the College Theology Society from 2019 to 2021. He has served on the boards of the Society of Christian Ethics and the College Theology Society.

Nathaniel Blanton Hibner, Ph.D.

Nathaniel Blanton Hibner, Ph.D., is director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the United States. In this role, he provides research and suggested implementation of the church's moral tradition for CHA member organizations in areas of clinical and organizations ethics. Together with CHA's senior director of theology and ethics, Nathaniel creates educational and formational programming on moral theology and its relationship to current topics for the Catholic health ministry. Prior to joining CHA in 2017, Nathaniel earned his Ph.D. from the Albert Gnaegi Centre for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, where he researched organizational ethics, bioethics and Catholic health care ethics. He also taught an undergraduate course on Foundations in Health Care Ethics. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and theology and a master's degree in theological studies from Boston College. He also has a master's degree in health care ethics from Saint Louis University.