A Pastor’s Conversation on Evangelization, Renewal and Alpha

In this conversation with Father Justin Huang (Saint Anthony of Padua, Vancouver) and Father Michael Leclerc (Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Montreal) we learn more about how parishes can thrive, even with COVID-19 restrictions in place. They share their thoughts and experiences on how Alpha Online can help renew a parish, invite the stranger in, and build strong community. Watch the conversation below or keep on reading!

As Catholic churches throughout the nation seek ways to engage their communities during the pandemic, church leaders are discovering Alpha online is an effective way to empower their parish to evangelize.

In this conversation Father Michael explains how he positions and promotes Alpha to his congregation as a way of communicating God’s love to the world. He finds that this is a message his congregation embraces and gets them excited to invited their friends.

“This year has made it clear the better we get at communicating God’s love, the better we become as a church.” -Father Michael

Father Michael has witnessed tremendous growth and engagement in his church community through Alpha in recent years, and Father Justin’s parish in Vancouver has had a similar experience.

Father Justin discusses how his congregation jumped from about 850 to 1,100 parishioners in the last six years, as they’ve run Alpha on a continuous basis. Father Justin believes Alpha has been a large part of this growth because it serves to satisfy a hunger people have to discover a relationship with God– something both priests identify as more pressing in the current season. 

“That spirit of welcome and evangelization is exactly what Alpha provides.” – Father Justin

Father Justin and Father Michael have also experienced the advantages of having Alpha available online during the pandemic. They share that in addition to not having to worry about travel or setup responsibilities, as well as not needing to deal with schedule conflicts, the online forum allows people the chance to be vulnerable in an environment less intimidating than a church can seem. 

“Alpha Online is here to stay because it has been successful. People are coming to recognize God can also be present in their homes. God is not just in the tabernacle” – Father Justin

Staying connected as a parish and reaching people with the Gospel is hard during the pandemic. Alpha online is a way to engage your parish in evangelization in this season. Alpha helps create a space where everyone feels safe to ask their questions about life, faith and Jesus.

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