We are now accepting registration for the Ministry Leadership Program in July 2024.


Ministry Leadership Program

A formation program for executive leaders of Catholic ministries.

The future of Catholic ministries depends on leaders responding effectively to the business, clinical and social environments of the organisations they lead.

Leadership formation deepens your understanding of the mission and values of your 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.

The program brings 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 being 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, capabilities 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 as leaders 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 source as well as the heritage received from the founders of our organisations and that which 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. As leaders, we become the ‘heritage bearers’ for the next generation of staff and the communities which we serve.

Session Three: Spirituality

Leadership of a Catholic ministry invites commitment personally and professionally to a spiritually grounded leadership. This highlights the high value placed on spiritual perspectives and practices in the Catholic tradition, particularly in relation to the spiritual nature of human beings. We will examine the notion of spirituality in general and explore the ways in which spiritual practices and taking account of spirituality enables a more grounded leadership indicative of Catholic organisations.

Session Four: Responding to Suffering

Catholic ministries are concerned with responding in the most compassionate ways to the inevitable and universal character of human suffering. In this session, we will reflect on how we can work to identify, alleviate, accompany and transform the suffering of clients, patients, students 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, educational 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. In doing so, we will also review some of the ethical challenges currently confronting Catholic organisations.

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 firstly review the understanding of Catholic Social Teaching/Thought and its genesis. We will then examine how this social thought provides a distinctive model indicative of Catholic mission in our organisations. We will address our particular organisational mission to prioritise services to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

Session Seven: Discernment and Governance

Discernment is a key spiritual leadership practice and is a core element of effective strategic decision making in Catholic organisations. We will learn that discernment, drawing on the spiritual dimension of the Catholic tradition as well as the unique heritage from which our organisations are drawn, is both a disposition and a practice. This practice will enable leaders of Catholic contemporary organisations to respond to the decisions required of them from a spiritual and values perspective as well as from governance imperatives.

Strategic decision making is also the realm of effective governance practices. In this session we will explore and review the different responsibilities held by those with responsibilities for the governance of Catholic organisations with a particular focus on mission responsibilities.

Session Eight: Values Integration and Whole Person Care

A key feature of Catholic organisations is the effective integration of its values into the organisation’s culture through values-aligned organisational structures, policies and behaviours, and particularly leadership behaviour. This recognises the close relationship between mission, foundational values and Catholic identity for decision making and overall governance in Catholic ministries. A key value in all Catholic organisations is respect for and attention to the whole person as evidenced in the relationships and practices with clients, patients, clinicians, staff, students, families and volunteers.

We will draw the MLP sessions together in Whole Person Care as we examine the physical, mental, social and spiritual dynamics of our lives as leaders and those we lead. This examination will form 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 online.

Each session commences at 9.30am on day one and concludes at approximately 3.30pm on day two. An overnight stay is required, and the cost is included in the program fee.

All sessions include some preparation and participants will engage with each other between each activity.

2024 program dates

Session Name Dates



23 - 24 July 2024



5 - 6 September 2024



15 - 16 October 2024


Responding to Suffering

26 - 27 November 2024



4 - 5 February 2025


Catholic Social Teaching

18 - 19 March 2025


Discernment and Governance 

29 - 30 April 2025


Values Integration and Whole Person Care

17 - 18 Jun 2025

The program location is still to be determined. Registrants will be advised closer to date of commencement.

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

The total program fee is $10,000 (plus GST) per participant. All meals and accommodation (one night per session) 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.

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

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 mlp@acu.edu.au

Download brochure

Participant Registration

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


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