Gospel Matters: Alpha in a Catholic Context

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Dr Christine Wood, Director of the Office of Evangelisation and Catechesis

Ever wondered what church would be like if the parish were full of families who were on fire with the love for Jesus Christ and zeal to spread the Gospel? What would the parish be like if people of all ages were present and active, worshiping the Lord, and sharing meals together, looking after each other, and reaching out to the poor in the local community? Have you ever wanted to be part of such a parish? I have experienced such Christ-centred parishes throughout my life, and this is what I hope to see develop in Tasmania. But I can’t achieve this on my own. I need your help, so awake from your slumber! Come and help!

There is much more to life than what we experience on earth. The Christian life offers eternal happiness with God, his angels and saints. Jesus offers forgiveness of sins and healing. If we truly believe this we would want to share it with others. No doubt some of you wish to share the Gospel message, but sometimes it’s hard to find the words or the right time to share. We need support in doing this – parishioners should unite in their efforts to be missionary disciples. If we work as a team in sharing the Gospel, we draw from everyone’s God-given gifts, and we bear more fruit.

A number of parishes in Hobart are keen to run the Alpha course in order to share the Gospel message with others.

Initially developed by an Anglican minister, Alpha is a course which proclaims the core Gospel message (called the kerygma) in order to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. This core Gospel message is the common belief of both Anglicans and Catholics, hence Alpha can be used fruitfully in the Catholic context.

Running Alpha in a parish requires a group of committed people who love the Lord and wish to serve. Some members of the team will facilitate group discussion after watching a short video, while others will prepare meals, set tables and clean up. Some parishioners will invite family members, friends or people in the community to come along. There is a job for everyone, utilising a variety of talents. Alpha enables the parish to offer hospitality and friendship to people outside the parish. Often people who go through Alpha wish to become members of the parish through baptism and catechesis. Hence, Alpha is something that can attract people to Christ and to the Catholic Church. If you are interested in helping to run Alpha in your parish, or would like to help in another parish, consider attending the Leaders’ Workshop on Saturday 20th August at the Cathedral Centre, Hobart, 9.30am-4pm. To register, contact Deacon Nick MacFarlane on 0418 242 010.

More information: australia.alpha.org/