The Alpha Experience
Why is our parish participating in Alpha?
Alpha is a entry level introduction to who Jesus is in the context of our daily lives. It challenges participants to ask questions about their life that are real and relevant. Our parish is invited to participate in Alpha as an on ramp into our Parish Life Cycle. The first stages of the cycle are Search, Encounter, and Conversion. Alpha offers an unassuming and non-threatening entry into a conversation that surfaces our Search for more, offers a real Encounter with Jesus in the context of community, and invites us into a change of life.
How will this benefit me in getting to know Jesus?
Jesus is presented as the answer to our major questions and deepest needs. Alpha offers the common objections to Jesus while presenting real life witnesses of people who have experienced Jesus. These conflicting views engage the participant in his own heart to address who Jesus is for them. Participants are invited to wrestle with Jesus being God and the implications of that in their own life. By members sharing with others their own life story of the presence or absence of God, space is created for the living Jesus to become known within the group and present in each other.
What benefit did you get from participating in Alpha?
For me, going through Alpha created bonds of friendship with others in my group that are spiritually based. As I heard people sharing their doubts and faith, I was able to hear similar struggles which reminded me that I am not alone. In sharing my own story, I became more aware of God’s presence and action in my life. The combination of both of these experiences left me in awe that Jesus was present in the midst of our conversation, stirring my heart to awe and gratitude.
What is Alpha?
Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, typically run over eleven weeks. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all over the globe, and everyone is welcome.
Why are we doing Alpha?
We are adopting the Alpha program because it provides a direct entrance into the Parish Life Cycle. Alpha provides a safe place for people to get answers to the search aspect of the Parish Life Cycle and will lead people into moments of encounter with Jesus. The small group setting allows people to dive deeper into their faith and discuss it in an environment of open conversation and affirmation. Alpha will also allow parishioners the ability to host Alpha in their homes so they can partake in the mission of the church.
What does an Alpha session look like?
FIRST there’s FOOD
Whether it’s a group of friends gathered around a kitchen table, or a quick catch-up over coffee and cake, food has a way of bringing people together. It’s no different at Alpha. We start with food, because it’s a great way to encourage community and get to know each other.
THEN there’s a PRESENTATION
The presentations are designed to engage and inspire conversation. Generally, thirty minutes long, they can be given as a live talk or played as a video. They explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions such as Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith?
FOLLOWED by DISCUSSION
Probably the most important part of any Alpha: the chance to share thoughts and ideas on the topic, and simply discuss it in a small group. There’s no obligation to say anything. And there’s nothing you can’t say. It’s an opportunity to hear from others and contribute your own perspective in an honest, friendly and open environment.
Who is invited to Alpha?
Everybody (18 and Older). People of all faiths and backgrounds.
What does it cost?
Where will Alpha meet?
Alpha is designed to work best at homes, however some groups meet on church property.
When will Alpha meet?
On campus groups meet on Wednesday evenings. Home groups vary according to each group.
Will I be assigned to a group or do I pick?
On campus groups will be assigned.
How often does Alpha meet?
Can I register from my smart phone?
If I still need more information who can I contact?
Fr. White, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't just take our word for it
"One of the advantages of Alpha is that it focuses on Kerygma. In the ancient Church, there was a clear distinction between the Kerygma and the Didache, the catechesis. The Kerygma was the starting point of faith, and the catechesis had to form the faith. But faith in itself blossoms only by hearing the Kerygma."
-- Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household
"Alpha brings people closer and helps them to find that power which unites. The Alpha experience is not only a means through which one finds true life, but also a way to share the good news of the Living Christ."
--Cardinal Mark Ouellet - Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Vatican
"Many of our Catholic parishioners have benefited from Alpha by way of its building on their initial interest in the Church, as a pre-catechumenate experience, or for others, a renewal of their desire to more deeply understand and live their Catholic faith."
--Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston