What is Alpha?
Alpha is a parish tool for evangelisation based on hospitality, sharing and open conversation. Millions of people have tried Alpha all around the world in 112 languages.
Alpha is a tool to introduce people to an initial proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ – the kerygma. As Pope Francis says, ‘Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation.’ (EG, 165).
Alpha takes people on a journey often leading to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It enables people to ask their questions, share ideas, build friendships and experience the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Alpha is for everyone; all backgrounds, all contexts, all ages. Alpha is particularly attractive to many young people who are asking the question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’
‘We cannot forget that evangelisation is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ… Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.’
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 15
How it works
Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, usually run over 10 weeks by lay leaders on behalf of the parish. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation.
- Food – Offering a meal or snack is an essential part of Alpha; eating food together is great for building community. Most sessions start with food and a chance get to know each other.
- Talk – After the meal, a short talk is given on video. The talks, which explore the big issues around faith, are designed to engage and inspire conversation.
- Discussion –The small groups provide the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on the topic, and to build trust and friendship. The role of the host (leader) is to facilitate discussion, inviting guests to share openly and honestly, without any criticism or judgment. The groups often develop into small Christian communities within the parish.
‘For many years now and in various parts of the world, Alpha has shown itself powerful in bringing faith alive in all kinds of people. Its focus is on Jesus, its method is simple and its appeal is wide-ranging. It is also well adapted for use in Catholic communities looking to provide the kind of ignition we need if we are to become a more missionary Church.’ Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane
Upcoming Alpha Training Opportunities:
Workshops are held in parishes throughout the archdiocese several times a year.
These are facilitated by Lorraine McCarthy, Coordinator of Alpha in a Catholic Context.
Which Alpha Training Opportunity best meets your parish needs?
Masterclass events are an opportunity for Parish Alpha Teams to meet each other and to discuss how their Alphas are going, exchange ideas, share struggles and to network. There will be opportunities to ask questions about all aspects of your Alpha.
Running an Alpha Small Group covers the following topics:
- What is Alpha?
- The Power of Invitation
- Role of Hosts & Helper
- Making the most of Small Groups
- Three keys to a Great Alpha
- Small Group Role Play
- Prayer on Alpha
The Team Training Workshop will look at where Alpha fits in the faith formation process in a Parish and how Alpha can become an integral part of a Parish pastoral plan to evangelise and grow missionary disciples. There will be various sessions on forming a Parish team, running an Alpha evening, facilitating an Alpha small group and the Alpha ‘Retreat Day Away’.
Day / Weekend Away + Prayer Ministry covers the following topics:
- Why A Day / Weekend Away?
- Making the Weekend Work
- Prayer Ministry on Alpha
- “How Can I Be Filled With the Holy Spirit?”
- Prayer / Ministry time
Youth Alpha workshop will discuss how the Youth Alpha series can be used in various youth settings. What is required? How to get started? Who can attend? What happens afterwards and more ?