Xavier Centre for Theological Formation

Through our Xavier Centre, we offer theological formation opportunities for lay persons, religious and clergy across Australia.

Providing multiple points of engagement across any variety of delivery modes, these opportunities directly support pastoral leaders, associates and planners, healthcare, educational and welfare professionals, leaders of Diocesan agencies, and all who contribute to religious and parish life.

Explore available learning opportunities, or contact us to discuss how we can work with you to meet your organisation's professional development needs.

Think theologically

As Australia’s leading Catholic university, we’re committed to providing a distinctive perspective on higher education: one that will equip you and your staff with the skills and knowledge to respond to the challenges of our contemporary world.

We offer learning opportunities that furnish you with a capacity to think theologically, while directly fostering the biblical and theological literacy to:

  • support and strengthen leadership capabilities
  • affirm the nexus of school and parish community
  • develop a deep appreciation of a relationship with God as defining the unique vision and central mission of Catholic education, health and social service organisations.

We can work with you to develop the theological capacity of your staff, and to equip leaders with an understanding of how enhanced ethical standards in decision-making have a positive impact on organisational success, communities and society at large.

For senior staff in Catholic agencies and organisations, we’ve developed a full suite of flexible educational and development opportunities anchored by the concepts of leadership in Catholic identity and mission, formation, and health and social ethics. These include:

  • short courses
  • certificate and bachelor opportunities
  • award postgraduate coursework programs
  • professional doctorates and research degrees
  • international study tours
  • tailored professional learning and in-service opportunities.

We tailor each option to provide the specific knowledge and skills you require to lead the Catholic identity, mission and ethos of your organisation with integrity, authenticity and authority.

Our approach

Framed by an engagement with scripture, theology, spirituality, supervision and leadership, the Xavier Centre provides a context for individuals and communities to reflect on faith and service.

We design all of our programs to address the real-world issues facing Catholic organisations and agencies today, and underpin them with robust scholarship and demonstrated research excellence. You’ll benefit from multiple points of engagement and a selection of delivery modes, as well as a learning design that responds to emerging questions and contextual need.

We’ll guide you through a practical engagement with theologies that:

  • embrace, enhance and integrate individual experiences and perspectives
  • explore specific contextual challenges and opportunities facing the individual and the organisation as a whole.

Mission and ministry

Learn about upcoming opportunities we offer through the Xavier Centre, including future programs and events, and contact information.

Find out more about mission and ministry

Women and Leadership in the Church

The 2020 Women and leadership in the Church event, Out in Front: Leadership and Catholic Women, will facilitate a theologically informed conversation about Catholic women in leadership across a range of organisations. Profiling young alumnae from the first iteration of the Leadership for Mission program in dialogue with other women and men in leadership roles in the Church, the evening will seek to reflect upon how leadership today implies “leading from the front, from the middle and from the back.”

Learn more

Past events

This event celebrated the launch of the second Catholic Women Speak book, Visions and Vocations, our recent event, Catholic Women Speak: Leadership in the Church, brought together a range of diverse voices to explore how we support the presence and formation of women for leadership roles in the Church.

Learn more

Our centres, services and initiatives

Alongside their important research work, the ACU Centre for Liturgy and the Queensland Bioethics Centre offer consulting and professional development in their specialist areas.

Find out more about the ACU Centre for Liturgy

Find out more about the Queensland Bioethics Centre

Leadership for Mission is a two-year, part-time program designed by and for women who are inspired by the Gospel vision of justice, freedom and the dignity of the human person.

This distinctive offering brings together the leadership experiences of women in the Church, within the context of an academic and collaborative learning environment.

Find out more about Leadership for Mission

Find out more about Women and Leadership in the Church

The KU Leuven Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) project is a tool for enhancing Catholic identity in schools within an increasingly secular and pluralist global society.

We offer academic programs designed to guide leaders, teachers and staff within Catholic educational institutions towards a theologically grounded understanding of the ECSI project.

Find out more about the ECSI project

Want to know more about professional learning opportunities?

Contact us
Staff profile Meave Heaney

Maeve Louise Heaney

Director, Xavier Centre for Theological Formation

As a musician and composer, Dr Maeve Louise Heaney, interweaves the fields of theological aesthetics, spirituality and the arts. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she is a consecrated missionary of a Catholic institute for consecrated life, the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity.

Dr Heaney completed her Bachelors in Theology at the Instituto Teológico San Pablo Apóstol in Madrid and her licentiate and doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. During that time, she taught at both the Gregorian and the Rome base of the Catholic University of Dallas. She was Bannan Fellow 2011–2012 at Santa Clara University, California, teaching at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.

Research interests

  • Theological aesthetics
  • Music in Theology
  • Fundamental theology
  • Spirituality
  • Bernard J F Lonergan

Staff profile Dr-Christiaan-Jacobs-Vandegeer

Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer

Director of Stakeholder Relations

Dr Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer is the Director of Stakeholder Relations for the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and a researcher in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI) at the Melbourne Campus.

Before joining ACU in 2011, he earned his doctorate in theology from the University of St Michael’s College in Toronto.

He is a chief investigator in the major research program 'Atheism and Christianity: Moving Past Polemic'.

Research interests

  • Fundamental theology
  • Fundamental theology
  • Theology of grace
  • Interreligious dialogue
  • Bernard J F Lonergan

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Browse our theology short courses

Explore the big questions with our top theology scholars. If you’re a Catholic professional, you can also gain professional development accreditation hours.

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Annual lectures, talks and conferences

We host a range of events throughout the year, including annual public lectures, international conferences, workshops and research colloquia.

See what's on

Institutes, academies and centres

Learn about our theological research institutes, academies and centres, including the ACU Centre for Liturgy and the Queensland Bioethics Centre. 

Learn more

Take your theology studies overseas

Expand your horizons. Enhance your learning and enrich your student experience by studying theology overseas on an international study tour or at our ACU Rome Campus. 

Find out how

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