Brendon Mannyx, Parish Leader at St Joseph's Parish Toronto, reflects on his experience with ALPHA.
“I first encountered ALPHA when I was living and working in Malta. Two friends and I were working as English teachers and our students came from all over the world. They often had questions about the Christian faith and ALPHA provided the perfect context for asking questions. Soon we were inviting students of all different cultural and faith backgrounds to come and enjoy a meal, watch a video and take part in discussion. And practise English of course!
More recently, we have offered the ALPHA course at St Joseph’s, Toronto. The setup is still the same. We invite people to share a meal, to watch a video and discuss. No questions are off limits. It is a space for people to explore faith, life and meaning. ALPHA helps communities practise an intentionally invitational culture. Hospitality is a key feature of ALPHA.
For me, the great joy of ALPHA is seeing people discover a relationship with Jesus. On every course, I get excited to see God working in people’s lives. It is something wonderful to share with others in the community too. Our faith increases as we see God working. We get to witness answered prayers and heart conversions. It is really exciting stuff!
ALPHA has been around for a long time. I sometimes come across people who’ve tried it before and didn’t like it or dismiss ALPHA as something ‘non-Catholic.’ The current ALPHA video series is a stunning visual production that is truly ecumenical in its approach. It also contains testimonies from the Catholic experience, most noticeably Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal household preacher to the last three popes. ALPHA now comes with a range of resources for doing the course ‘in a Catholic context.’ Anyone familiar with Fr James Mallon’s work, Divine Renovation, would know that ALPHA is now a key evangelisation tool for parish renewal.
I still get excited about ALPHA. I get excited because it is a really simple way to invite people to come and experience our community. It is a way to open our doors to a whole variety of people. We get to know them. We get to share good food and good conversation with them. Friendships are made. Faith is shared. Lives are changed. Why wouldn’t we get excited?”
During COVID-19 the world has had to reimagine what coming together may look like. The Pastoral Placement Participants (PPP) took the opportunity to explore ALPHA online.
Max Noble a PPP reflects on the ALPHA YOUTH sessions.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the insightful nature of the ALPHA course, it has given me a new perspective on the way I live my life as a Catholic. It provided the opportunity to talk with like-minded people wanting to gain a fresh and deeper understanding of what it truly means to be Catholic and learn something new. Watching the YOUTH version of ALPHA is something that I have never seen before, and it is presented in such a way that is enriching and easy to understand. The questions presented in the sessions made us think but were open to interpretation which is a good thing to see. It provided us with the opportunity to speak our mind, the sessions were delivered in such a way that every answer was supported, and no answer was the wrong answer”.
Would you like to learn more about Alpha online?
We are holding a Explore Alpha Online just for the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese on Thursday 13 August at 7:00pm.
This is a one-hour session for those who may have not run an Alpha yet or recently. The presenter will answer questions like, What is Alpha? How can I use it, especially online? You will be shown updated resources for the Catholic context and how they can be used by your church for ministry both inside your church and into your community.
EXPLORE Alpha Online in the Catholic Context
Thursday 13th August