Have you been wondering what this ALPHA is all about?
Come and see!
Have you been thinking about doing the Alpha course?
Now’s your chance!

 

What Is It?
The Alpha Course is a practical introduction to the Christian faith, where guests have an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The course meets once per week for 10 weeks. Each session, people enjoy a simple meal, laughter and learning about the person and teachings of Jesus in a fun and non-threatening atmosphere where no question about life or God is too simple or too hostile. There is no charge to attend the Alpha course. In the middle of the course there is a Friday evening/Saturday retreat which involves a fee.

Who Is Alpha For?
Alpha is for anyone: all backgrounds, religions and viewpoints. Everyone is welcome. The Alpha course has proved 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.

More than 16 million people in 168 countries around the world have taken the Alpha Course already, and it is being offered by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. The basic truths of Christianity are presented with energy and enthusiasm, and Catholics should not have to go to other churches to hear that message. 


Catholic Endorsements?
Although it originated with an Anglican parish in London, the Alpha Course has received enthusiastic endorsements from Catholic cardinals, bishops and archbishops. One of its strongest supporters is Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household for both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

You have questions?

Please contact Ed Brynes at or email epbyrnes@verizon.net

See the following link to hear Father Cantalamessa’s and other endorsements

Typical Evening on the Alpha Course
6:30 - an informal dinner, donations gratefully accepted.
7:10 - Welcoming and announcements
7:20 - video presentation on current topic 
8:15 - small-group discussion in which guests are encouraged to raise questions they might have about the topic.
9:00 – our evening ends

 

If you have any questions about the Teen Alpha, please call MaryJo DeRosato at (610)222-4669 or email MaryJo at derosato@verizon.net

Alpha Catholic Endorsements and Testimonies

• Alpha for Catholics Introductory http://youtu.be/mHqyPsRUsMU

• Matthew Kelly endorses the Alpha course http://youtu.be/CBQ3sz5WN0g

• Alpha’s Impact on Lapsed Catholics http://youtu.be/PsxkE6Yiymw

• Alpha Transforms a Parish http://youtu.be/Xh4zRBT1QmM

Alpha aims to present some of the core truths of the Christian Faith in a friendly environment once a week for 10 weeks. Each session begins with a meal followed by a talk on a subject central to the Christian Faith. Participants break into groups to discuss the talk. This is a place where you can ask anything. At Alpha, no question is too simple or too hostile. Non-churchgoers are especially welcome, but all will benefit from Alpha. Since it is parish-based, those coming to a new faith in Christ, or those coming back to their faith, are able to continue their journey in their own parish.

Here is what two Visitation parishioners had to say when speaking about Alpha:

"Good morning. My name is Terri Rohr and I was asked to speak today about my experience with the Alpha course, which is described in the insert in today’s bulletin. I want to thank you in advance for listening; I know it is hard to sit through talks at the end of Mass especially those with children.

My life in can be described in four distinct phases: Before Children and After Children because of the radical change being a parent had on my lifestyle, my emotional being and, unfortunately, my waistline. The other two phases are: Before Alpha and After Alpha because of the radical change the Alpha course had on my Spiritual Being. You should know that I did not sign up for the Alpha course expecting any change in my spirituality. The reason I signed up to take Alpha was because I have 3 little children and figured that one day they will ask me questions about Christianity such as “Why did Jesus have to die?” and “Who is the Holy Spirit?” While I have accepted many aspects of Christianity based on faith, I felt I couldn’t explain them to a 6-year-old child. Since I wanted my children to feel that they are growing up in a strong Christian home, I didn’t want my answer to them to be “Go ask your father…or better yet … go ask Father Khoa!” The Alpha course helped me in this respect; Alpha strengthened and expanded my knowledge of Christianity. But more importantly, Alpha expanded and strengthened my spirituality for which I will be eternally grateful. 

Before Alpha, I thought I was a good Christian. I was raised in a Catholic family; I attended Catholic schools for 16 years and graduated from that icon of Catholicism in the Midwest, the University of Notre Dame. Yet despite all this, my definition of a good Christian was just that…it was MY definition, tailor-made to reflect my own personal beliefs. Through Alpha, I learned (or should I say re-learned) what being a Christian means and now I am working at being a good “authentic” Christian.

I always knew that the Greatest Commandment is to Love the Lord with your whole heart, mind and soul. Before Alpha, I loved God but I am not sure that I loved God more than my own family; I don’t think God ranked #1 with me. I now wonder what this would have meant for me when I died and stood there in front of Jesus, the same Jesus who loved me so much that He died a painful death on the cross. But as everyone knows, long distance relationships are difficult; it is hard to love someone that much if you don’t spend much time with them or don’t work at the relationship. 

Before Alpha, my time with God usually consisted of one hour a week on a Sunday plus my nightly prayers. I used to spend more time with the Philadelphia Inquirer than with the Word of God. Now, my Bible is on my nightstand and I am actually looking forward to participating in a Bible Study this summer. I now find myself drawn to people, literature and events that will help me strengthen my relationship with God whereas before Alpha, I may have not noticed them or cared about them and I certainly would have been “too busy” for a Bible Study.

Before Alpha, I used to recite the prayers said during Mass from memory; I could say the entire Profession of Faith without thinking abouthat I was saying. Now, I pray the prayers and consequently, Mass has become much more meaningful.

Before Alpha, I never really understood what people meant when they referred to a “relationship with Jesus”. Thanks to Alpha, I now have a relationship with Jesus and, when I finally meet Him, I won’t have to hang my head in shame because I couldn’t follow His Greatest Commandment.

I can honestly say here in front of God that if I could relive my life and change only one thing it would be that I would have taken the Alpha course twenty years ago. 

So, if you are interested, or know someone who would be interested in attending the Alpha courses, please see the insert in today’s Bulletin. I urge you to give it a try. You can go to the first few sessions and if you decide it isn’t for you, you are under no obligation to go back. You have a lot to gain & nothing to lose. Thanks for again for listening. I’ll be at the back of church after Mass to answer any questions." 

 

"My name is Mary Ellen Piccari and I am a parishioner here at Visitation. I would like to talk to you about the Alpha course which is being jointly sponsored by Visitation and St. Eleanor's in Collegeville. I was introduced to Alpha by several friends from the Visimoms group here at Visitation parish, and had the privilege of taking the Alpha course this past summer. It truly has deepened my lifelong Catholic faith.

For those who haven't heard of it, Alpha is a ten week course providing teachings by video on the basic truths of Christianity. An Alpha evening starts with a simple meal, followed by a video presentation that explores such questions as "Who is Jesus", "Why did He die?", and "How and why should I read the Bible?" Following dessert, guests break into small groups for discussions.

Alpha was originally designed for the unchurched or those questioning their Christian beliefs but has proven to be rewarding also for those who already attend church regularly and desire to grow in their relationship with God.
The atmosphere of Alpha is relaxed, non-threatening, and sprinkled with humor. Alpha might be for one of your friends, someone you know who is struggling with their faith or has questions about Christianity. It's a place where you can bring a spouse who is not attending Mass or is not Catholic, or a young adult who thinks that Christianity is no longer relevant in this day and age. Alpha is ecumenical and open to any adult. No question is regarded as stupid or too hostile at Alpha. Everyone is heard and respected.

In Alpha I found a group of people I could relate to, people who were going through the same issues in life as I. I found it very rewarding to sit down and talk to people in a calm and relaxed manner about life and how Jesus helps us through our good and bad times. Even though Alpha focuses on the basics of Christianity, it brought alive in me a renewed appreciation for my Catholic faith and has made me aware of how Jesus is always there for all of us. In closing, I encourage all of you to seriously consider Alpha. It's a great way to learn about the Lord and make friends. "