Alpha at Saint Mary of Gostyn: An opportunity to explore life and faith in a friendly, open and informal environment. We believe everyone should have an opportunity to discover our faith, ask questions and share their point of view.
Alpha Film Series Trailer
Is there more to life?
Alpha gives everyone the opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The Alpha course meets once a week for 10 weeks, each session begin with a meal, followed by a short talk, and time to discuss the topic.
During the discussion, everyone is welcome to contribute their opinions and no question is considered hostile or too simple. Questions might include–Is there a God? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?
Alpha is for everyone –no question is out of bounds and you are free to discuss as much or as little as you wish. We don’t assume any background knowledge or belief in Christianity and everyone is welcome.
Why is our parish participating in Alpha?
Alpha is an 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. 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.
Alpha provides a safe place for people to get answers 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 allows parishioners to host Alpha so they can partake in the mission of the church.
What Does An Alpha Session Look Like?
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?
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.
We cannot forget that evangelization 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
Is Alpha Catholic?
What Is Alpha For Catholics?
Alpha for Catholics is simply the Alpha course hosted in a Catholic setting. Alpha is a practical tool that parishes use to inspire Catholic renewal and answer the call of Christ and His church to "go and make disciples of all nations." The Alpha course has proven to be an effective tool for awakening faith in people who are on the fringe of parish life, faithful Catholics and those outside the faith.
Who Is Alpha For?
Alpha is for anyone. People attend Alpha from all backgrounds, religions and viewpoints. They come to investigate questions about the existence of God, the purpose of life, what happens after death, the teachings of Jesus and more. Many guests have never been to church; others may have attended church occasionally but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith; others attend church regularly. Everyone is welcome.
Cardinal Mark Ouellet
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America
‘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.
Archbishop Octavio Ruiz
Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization
‘Alpha, which I have had the opportunity to attend … is a providential tool because it precisely tries to reach out to those who are far from the Church, who are indifferent to the faith. By means of a very simple and humane tool based on fraternity and friendship, Christ is introduced to them and enters little by little into their hearts...’
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).
As Catholics in the Diocese of Joliet, Alpha is also a way for us to embrace Bishop Conlon’s “Go,” He Said Pastoral Letter and move towards missionary discipleship.
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 attracting many young people who are asking the question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’