Alpha in a Catholic Context

What is Alpha?

Alpha is for everyone, including those wanting to reinvestigate Christianity or consider it for the first time.

Alpha is a tool for evangelization that is being used by thousands of Catholic parishes in over 70 countries around the world. Alpha is also run by churches of many other denominations to introduce people to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. This has led to more than 27 million people around the world experiencing Alpha. In particular, it is attracting many young people who are asking the question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’

Watch this short video to find out about Alpha, and hear thoughts and experiences from Catholic leaders and laity.

Alpha is a kerygmatic tool for parish and community renewal

Alpha introduces people to the first proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the Kerygma: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you, and now he is living at your side to enlighten, strengthen and free you.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 164).

Alpha invites people to respond to the good news through a decision to follow Jesus. Parishes around the world have seen significant growth in numbers and a new enthusiasm for mission. New members of the parish, having come to faith during Alpha, frequently join parish activities and bring the freshness and joy of their encounter with Christ into the life of the parish.

Alpha equips parishes to go out and to reach those who are outside the Church

Alpha is a tool which helps parishes develop into ‘communities of missionary disciples’, fostering a renewal for the Christian community that desires to be transformed by evangelisation. It offers a simple and attractive invitation to those outside the Church to come and ask life’s big questions.

An evangelising community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first, and therefore we can…go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 24)

Alpha develops missionary disciples

Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 120).

Alpha engages lay people in the life and mission of the Church. With the blessing of the parish priest a core team takes ownership and hosts Alpha in the parish. These parishioners are equipped to proclaim the good news in a simple and effective way. Often guests who have experienced Alpha go on to become effective and confident evangelisers themselves as they share the impact that their encounter and relationship with Jesus has had on their lives.

Alpha engages and reaches young people

In recent decades there has been a breakdown in the way Catholics pass down the Christian faith to the young.’
(Evangelii Gaudium, 70).

Alpha is relaxed, interactive, non-judgemental and lots of fun. It is designed to reach the young generation and engage with them in a culturally relevant way. It enables them to ask the questions they wish to ask and doesn’t assume any level of knowledge or understanding of Christianity. Alpha creates space for genuine exploration of life’s big questions and provides the opportunity for young people to form meaningful friendships with each other.

Alpha and Catholic Leaders

LAND_1440Nicky Gumbel met the Pope in 2014 as part of the delegation accompanying the Archbishop of Canterbury for his official visit to the Vatican.

Alpha has received wide support globally from Catholic leaders in the New Evangelization. Below are some notable endorsements.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet

"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 Gérald Lacroix

"I have had the privilege of participating in various Alphas in Quebec and have witnessed how lives are changed and how the participants are touched by the teachings, witnessing and fellowship experienced during the course. The method is simple yet very effective. Small groups are definitely a key to the success of this tool of New Evangelisation."

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

"Alpha is for meeting Jesus. What I like in all that I have seen and heard about Alpha is the simplicity. For me, the Christian life has something to do with simplicity, friendship, closeness and joy. That’s what I feel about Alpha and I think that’s a sign that it works and that it’s given from the Lord."