How can Alpha help revitalize a parish?

Watch Father Mike’s story or keep on reading to learn how Alpha can be used as a tool for evangelization in your parish.

It’s no surprise to learn there are Christians who experience stagnant seasons in their faith. But what can raise eyebrows or pique curiosity is when such an individual happens to be a Catholic priest. 

The pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church in Montreal, Fr. Mike Leclerc shares as part of his testimony how he once fell into a more relaxed routine instead of seeking to feed his passion for the Lord and share it through his ministry. 

Caught up in the “nitty gritty” of church day-to-day events, Fr. Mike recounts getting “bogged down” with the regular rhythm, losing touch with “the bigger picture,” of the call of the church to evangelize.

It was during a visit to Halifax in 2016 that Fr. Mike discovered what a vibrant church atmosphere with a passion to evangelize could look like. Working with then-pastor Fr. James Mallon and his team at St. Benedict Parish, Fr. Mike learned of Alpha as a tool for evangelization and was inspired by Fr. James innovative way of leading a church.

Having witnessed the baptism of several adults at the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Benedict Parish, Fr. Mike says his heart broke when he learned the most recent adult baptism at St. Ignatius of Loyola took place in 1978. 

Upon his return to Montreal, Fr. Mike brought “absolute conviction” in wanting to change the church’s focus.

Rather than simply being content with the status quo, Fr. Mike introduced “a dream to transform the parish so people couldn’t help but invite others into the same experience.” 

Through “radical hospitality” and the Alpha program as a church staple, the parish has now created a culture of invitation and evangelization. 

“I want the culture of Alpha all over the church,” Fr. Mike says. “God is amazing. I’m in awe of what we’ve been able to do and how we’ve been able to impact.” 

If you’ve desired this excitement in your faith life – either personally or in your church community – why not give Alpha a try? 

Find Out More About Running Alpha in a Catholic Context

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.

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