Equipping your parish in its mission to help people discover Jesus
Alpha is an 11-week course, online or in person, that creates a space where people are excited to bring their friends for a conversation about Jesus.Get Started
In 2019, over 5,600 Catholic parishes and organizations around the world ran Alpha with an estimated 310,000 participants.
From 2015 to 2018, Alphas hosted in the Catholic Context in Canada increased by 141%. In 2019, over 120,000 people experienced Alpha, including more than 11,000 people who went on Alpha through Catholic parishes across the country. In 2020, 750 Alpha courses were run in a Catholic Context – an all time high!
Watch Fr. Mike’s story of parish renewal.
What is Alpha?
Alpha is a parish tool for evangelization based on hospitality, sharing and open conversation. The same Alpha content is run all over the world, by Christians of all traditions, sharing the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Everyone is welcome.
Over 1 million people in Canada have experienced Alpha, and millions more have taken Alpha in over 100 countries and over 100 languages around the globe.
What does an Alpha Session look like?
Whether it’s a group of friends gathered around a kitchen table, or a quick online catch-up, times of connecting are important. It’s no different at Alpha. Whether in person over a meal or virtually with a cup of tea, all sessions start with a time to connect, relax and build friendships.
The Alpha talks are designed to engage people from all walks of life and inspire conversation. They explore the big issues of life and faith and unpack the basics of Christian belief, addressing questions like “Who is Jesus?”, “Why and how do I pray?” and “How does God guide us?”
The discussion time is an opportunity for people to respond to the talk, hear from others, and contribute their own perspective in an honest, friendly, and open environment.
Alpha is a kerygmatic resource 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 evangelization. It offers a simple and attractive invitation to those outside the Church to come and ask life’s big questions.
An evangelizing 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 evangelizers 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 equips people to be missionary disciples, not simply to just be consumers of their faith. It brings people into these much deeper relationships, and makes people comfortable sharing their faith with others.
Father Michael Leclerc, St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, Montreal, QC
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 Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America
The Archdiocese of Vancouver first welcomed Alpha here in 1994 and we have been experiencing its benefits ever since. Alpha has not only helped us introduce unchurched people to Christ but also provided an excellent way for Catholics to live out their baptismal call to evangelize.
Archbishop Miller, Vancouver, BC
How do I get started?
After you sign up online, we’ll show you how to create a space where people who wouldn’t normally come to church feel comfortable having a discussion about God.
We’ll provide you with tools and training to equip your team to run Alpha and inspire the church to invite their friends.
Then you’ll get access to everything you need to run Alpha.