As part of our "Building Today for Tomorrow," our parish offers the evangelization program Alpha. Although Alpha originated as a Protestant program, it has been developed and evolved over time through a collaborative effort including Catholics and Protestants.
The Alpha program describes itself as “designed for people who wouldn’t call themselves Christians or who are not regular church-goers.” These are the very people that Pope St. John Paul II described as needing our care and attention in the “New Evangelization.” In his 1990 encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (33), St. John Paul II wrote of the situation “where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel.” He stated that “in this case what is needed is a ‘new evangelization’ or a ‘re-evangelization’” Both Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have reaffirmed this call for a New Evangelization. Alpha has emerged as an effective tool in this New Evangelization.
Alpha is not just for those who are new or coming back to the faith, though. Many active, practicing Catholics and other Christians also have found Alpha to be highly beneficial for their own faith lives– kind of a “back-to-the-basics” renewal of their own faith. These Catholics and other Christians also have found Alpha to be very helpful in learning how to be better evangelizers and promoters of the faith themselves in the New Evangelization, learning the most effective language and methods to promote the faith and share the Good News of Jesus Christ – with adult children and other family members who are no longer practicing the faith, with co-workers, with neighbors, etc.