Ministry Leadership Program

A formation program for executive leaders of Catholic ministries.

The future of Catholic ministries depends on the quality and effectiveness of its leadership in responding to the business, clinical and social environments of the organisations they lead.

Leadership formation deepens the leader’s understanding of the mission and values of the organisation and the spiritual purpose of Catholic ministries, to build up the community and carry on the tradition.

The Ministry Leadership Program (MLP) enables the Catholic tradition to continue to find expression, practical relevance and be an instrument for hope in the world through its ministries of service, so the mission of the Gospel is handed on to future generations. It offers executive leaders of Catholic ministries a deep, comprehensive and fully integrated learning experience grounded in the wisdom of the Catholic tradition. 

Participants bring together a rich diversity of experience from across Catholic healthcare, aged care, and social services to collaborate and cultivate a mission-driven culture.

Session one: Vocation

Leaders in Catholic ministries are understood as called to this work. The Catholic Social Tradition affirms that the essential dignity of people is experienced as a call to use and develop their interests and talents, both for their own development and the good of others. We will reflect on how we strive to respond to this call in both ourselves and those we lead.

Session two: Heritage

Our work is understood to be situated within a heritage that ultimately takes its inspiration and direction from the “healing and restorative mission of Jesus”. We will reflect on this primary heritage as well as the heritage received from the founders of our organisations, that we are called to carry forward into the future. This primary and secondary heritage serves as our inspiration and guide as we strive to maintain our identity while adapting to contemporary concerns and challenges.

Session three: Spirituality

Leadership of a Catholic ministry invites commitment personally and professionally to a spiritually grounded leadership. We will examine our own faith and/or spirituality, as well as ways to encourage the faith and/or spirituality of all we lead, and of those we serve, in the light of the high value placed on spiritual perspectives and practices in the Catholic tradition.

Session four: Responding to Suffering

Catholic ministries are concerned to respond in the most compassionate ways to the inevitable and universal character of human suffering. We will reflect on how we can work to alleviate, accompany and transform the suffering of clients, patients and families as well as the suffering of ourselves and all who work within our organisations.

Session five: Ethics

Leaders are required to develop and ensure accountability for ethical policies, practices and behaviours in our organisational relationships, and in our clinical and service settings. We will focus on our responsibility to articulate and address the ethical issues of organisational decisions, policies, processes and practices, and mission situations by being both faithful to the Catholic tradition and sensitive to contemporary pluralist society.

Session six: Catholic Social Teaching

The principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) are central to the organisational life and mission of a Catholic organisation. We will examine how to model what an organisation and mission informed by this teaching looks like. We will address our special mission to prioritise services to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

Session seven: Values Integration, Discernment and Decision Making

The heritage of the founding traditions points us to the link between discernment and strategic decision-making. We will learn how discernment draws on the spiritual dimension and is both a disposition and a practice, enabling us to respond to the reality of the spirit in our situations. We will examine how to integrate foundational values into organisational structures, policies and behaviours, recognising the close relationship between mission, foundational values and institutional identity.

Session eight: Whole Person Care

Respect for and attention to the whole person of clients, patients, clinicians, staff and volunteers is central to the Catholic Tradition. We will examine the physical, mental, social and spiritual dynamics of our lives and those we lead, and as the ground and support of our care for the whole person. We will examine how to bring this holistic perspective into organisational dynamics and the care we provide for those we serve.

Collaboration with Church

Each session includes an evening conversation exploring various dimensions of our context as ministries of the Catholic Church. In this program component we examine our relationship to the Catholic Church and how we can work in collaboration with Church authorities and other Catholic agencies. We will reflect on our understanding of and commitment to nurturing these relationships, considering the responsibilities, opportunities and challenges that these relationships bring.

The program team is made up of expert presenters and a formation facilitation team.

Expert presenters deliver carefully selected components that deepen participants’ understanding of the foundational concerns of the Catholic tradition and how they are relevant to leading Catholic health, aged care and social service organisations today. The presenters are drawn from Australia’s leading experts in fields such as ethics, Catholic theology, Catholic social teaching, and organisational leadership.

The formation facilitation team has expertise in group facilitation of leaders as well as on-the-ground knowledge of what it is like to lead others in the complex health, social services and aged care environments. This is supported by the team’s strong theological experience and understanding.

The program consists of eight sessions delivered face-to-face, with one session delivered in online mode.

Each session commences at 9:30am on day one and concludes at approximately 3:30pm on day two. One overnight stay is required, and the cost is included in the program fee.

All sessions include some preparation and participants will engage in between-session activities.

Program dates







16 – 17 February 2023




28 – 29 March 2023

North Sydney



23 – 24 May 2023



Responding to Suffering

18 – 19 July 2023




12 – 13 September 2023



Catholic Social Teaching

14 – 15 November 2023



Discernment, Values Integration and Decision Making

6 – 7 February 2024



Whole Person Care

19 – 20 March 2024


*Although unlikely, please be aware that unforeseen circumstances throughout the duration of the program may mean changes to the venue, location, and delivery mode, may be required. We will always seek to provide as much notice as possible in these circumstances.

The MLP may provide you with credit towards postgraduate study at ACU. Please discuss further study options with the program’s Academic Lead.

The total program fee is $10,000 (plus GST) per participant invoiced in two parts. All meals and accommodation on the night of day-one are included.

Please note, we are unable to offer cancellations once enrolled into the program. However, we understand that circumstances may arise that necessitate withdrawal from the program. In this case, a substitute participant will be considered, however no substitutions will be accepted after the completion of session two.

Register your interest today

The Ministry Leadership Program is a comprehensive, focused and deep adult learning experience addressing leadership of a Catholic ministry. If you would like to learn more, please contact us using the Register your interest button below.

Register your interest

More information

For more information or to discuss this program contact us at

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Participant Registration

If you’ve been nominated for a place in the Ministry Leadership Program complete your registration here.


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