Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and it is the first step of exploring Jesus and his Church! As host of “Man vs. Wild” Bear Grylls said, “Alpha is a way to explore what we hunger after – meaning and intimacy and relationship…in a very non-pressed, non-judgmental environment.”
“Alpha is for meeting Jesus.” That was said by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and key author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
We have offered Alpha in the Catholic Context since 2015 with tremendous success! MOST of the attendees said the Alpha Course changed the direction of their spiritual lives! Alpha is an international success, bringing people together over great food to discuss their faith journey after watching some top-notch videos and hearing heart-touching stories of how people have encountered Jesus. It has deeply impacted our RCIA process at St. John and the faith of many, many dozens of folks here.
At St. John we have hosted FOUR terrific Alpha Courses in various times and settings, with 312 individuals attending one or more of those sessions. Our current Alpha is on Sunday mornings during Religious Education classes, 10:00 to 11:30! We are aiming this at parents who are thinking about RCIA (the process of becoming Catholic) or who want to reignite their faith journey. But it’s open to anyone who wants to attend.
Soon we will offer several opportunities to participate in Alpha Small Groups hosted by parishioners in their homes! Details will be coming by the end of March.
Alpha is not only a great introduction to Catholic Christianity for those who are considering becoming Catholic; it’s a great refresher course or opportunity to “reboot” for life-long Catholics. It is all about great food, friends, terrific video presentations, personal sharing, open conversations, asking questions, prayer and laughter… all with the aim of going deeper into an understanding and openness for Jesus and the Church. We use Alpha in a Catholic Context as do dozens of Parishes in the Diocese of Lansing and thousands throughout the world.
There are some who think Alpha is too light, too “Protestant”, or too secular. Fr. John Riccardo, one of the most popular personalities on Catholic Radio and well known priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit says: “I’ve heard a few people express concerns about the non-Catholic origin of Alpha. It’s true. It was founded by an Anglican pastor, Nicky Gumbel… Though it’s origin might not be Catholic, it has been spoken highly about by people ranging from Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the Pope’s preacher in the Vatican; Archbishop Arenas, the Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the man responsible for editing The Catechism of the Catholic Church…”
Fr. Cantalamessa says, “We need a new evangelization which, while being open to all the fullness of the truth and the Christian life, will yet be simple and basic. …It is not called ‘Alpha and Omega course’ but simply ‘Alpha Course’ because it doesn’t claim to lead people from beginning to end in faith; only to help them get acquainted with it, to foster a personal encounter with Jesus, leaving it to other Church departments to develop the newly kindled faith.’”
Come and see what it is all about!