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Try Alpha

Feeling Lost? Seeking Answers? Want Community? Try Alpha!
The Alpha Course is one of the best places to explore life and all its questions. Alpha is an interactive series of weekly sessions exploring the Christian faith, spirituality and life. Each session will explore a different question about faith and is designed to create conversation. At Alpha, discussions are fun, honest and judgement-free.
Alpha is a ten-week program with one weekend retreat and a final celebration dinner. We will gather on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the parish rectory (2311 N. Southport Ave). 
Spring 2024 Alpha begins
Tuesday, March 12th with a Taco Tuesday celebration!
The weekend away will be on May 3rd and 4th
If you are not sure about Alpha, or not sure you can be there for every session, we still invite you to come and see what Alpha is all about. Just click the button below to sign up:

More Information:

Alpha is for anyone, and everyone is welcome! People attend from all backgrounds, religions, and viewpoints. Some join because they want to move beyond religion and find a relationship with God. Others come for the long-lasting friendships built during an Alpha course. 
Alpha consists of a delicious meal, an engaging video series, and a thought-provoking discussion. You can expect to be welcomed into an opportunity to explore life, faith, and meaning where we would love to hear what you think if you're willing to share.
What to expect at a typical Alpha session:
Arrival: Initial 15 minutes to meet and greet and grab a beverage.
Dinner: Have a seat at your group table and enjoy a meal.
Alpha Video: We will watch a 20 minute video that addresses a key Alpha topic.
Small Group Discussion: The last 45 minutes, each table breaks out to a quiet area to have a discussion on the topic of the week. An Alpha host will help guide but in general the goal is interaction among the participants. 
Key Questions that Alpha addresses:
Is There More to Life Than This? Who is Jesus? Why Did Jesus Die? How Can I Have Faith? Why and How Do I Pray? Why and How Should I Read the Bible? How Does God Guide Us? Who is the Holy Spirit? What Does the Holy Spirit Do? How Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit? How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life? Why and How Should I Tell Others? Does God Heal Today? How Can I Resist Evil? What About the Church?
What is Alpha?
“A year ago, I participated in the Alpha program at the invitation of a friend. During this first experience with the Alpha Course, week by week, little by little, I started yearning not to just “know” more about the Lord, but to be transformed by His Word. Believe it or not, that started to happen. I couldn’t take it in. I kept asking myself, “What is happening to me?” But it was exciting and I was eager to dig deeper. Alpha has given me the opportunity to be spiritually strengthened by others participating in our small group.”
~Annette Allen
"I joined Alpha because I heard that it was a “do not miss” discussion of faith for people with any level of spirituality or just curiosity. One did not have to be Catholic to attend. I did not expect to be drawn into it and keen on revisiting it week after week. Alpha spoke to me in deep and impactful ways even though I am not steeped into theology or deep insights into the Bible. The discussions we had were insightful and listening to each one’s experience or perspective brought a fresh angle to faith. The fellowship that came from Alpha was genuine and warm, and I came away from Alpha feeling that I inherited a new family. I also came away from Alpha experiencing a renewal of faith like I never dreamt when I signed up for it. I strongly recommend Alpha no matter where you are, the impact is tangible."
~Lynn Vincent
"Having the opportunity to serve as a volunteer with the Alpha program resulted in my faith deepening and my Christian fellowship circle widening. Listening to the Alpha app, ‘Bible in One Year,’ is life changing—it’s like having a good friend read the Bible to you and then explain the passages in a way that’s easy to understand!"
~Kristi Moynihan
"Alpha has provided an opportunity for me to share and deepen my faith in a non-judgmental environment. I have become more comfortable with evangelization through Alpha, and enjoy the fellowship derived from authentic conversations and the building of a faith community."
~Julie Dreixler
"Through the transformative teachings of Alpha, I have come to the conclusion that Christianity is a collective effort of good people uniting to combat evil. It dawned on me that if individuals committed to goodness don't join forces to stand for truth, evil and lies can persist and build institutions around them. Reconnecting with Christianity, I now understand the importance of being part of a community that stands against evil. I have decided not to be a passive observer but an active participant in fostering good. I will not let skepticism or the influence of those who may cast doubt on my faith sway me. I stand before you today, reconverted and fully committed to being an integral part of the Christian community, recognizing the strength that comes from unity in the pursuit of goodness."
~Thomas Edidiong
More about what Alpha meant to Annette...

This week, my attention has been continuously drawn toward two things, both touching my heart. 
The first has been the subject of, "All Are Welcome." Getting bogged down in man made rules, rather than being welcoming and inviting to others, was the theme of the week. Wherever I looked, somebody was pointing this out, Moses, Jesus, Deacon Pat... I heard from Fr. Mike Schmitz. It was everywhere. 
Related to the first, I've been pointed toward the pain political and religious controversies are causing within families and among friends. In conversations, in random emails, even in a conversation between me and myself (in my head), what I have been hearing is, love our neighbors enough to listen to understand. It's easy to have a belief and then find news programs and articles, opinion pieces, and like-minded people who share that belief to strengthen that belief. It's much harder to put yourself in the shoes of the person who has a different belief, a different way of looking at things, and a different experience that has shaped those feelings and attitudes. But, I felt called to do just that. And, by the way, it's not that I suddenly came around to their way of thinking or belief system, it's that I listened with an open heart, and it felt so much better than putting up that defensive wall. 
All of this is to say that last night, in an Alpha session titled, "Who is Jesus?" we inadvertently touched on those two subjects. I gained insight by listening with love and understanding. What a difference that made for me and my own personal journey. I am grateful for the conversation and the contributions made by others.
At one point toward the end of the evening, one of our members described a beautiful encounter she had with the Pope several years ago. She spoke about the thrilling experience she and others had, seeing Pope John Paul II from a distance of 200 feet, as he rode by in the Popemobile. She said, "how much greater would that experience be if we saw Jesus!" I felt a little shiver, just thinking about that. 
Another nugget I got from the evening was, if we follow the Golden Rule, we are following Jesus, whether we know it or not. "Whether we know it or not" stuck with me. Jesus commanded us to Love God with All Our Heart and to Do Under Others as We would have them do unto us. (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:12). Many of the major religions in the world have a version of this rule, to treat others the way you want to be treated. Why was the topic of the Golden Rule brought up last night, during a week when I am thinking of the rules and how the rules are harming us and keeping us from God? Maybe I'm meant to be reminded there are man-made rules and there are God-made rules.
You just never know what gems will be presented to you during the Alpha meetings, if you listen with openness. The gems send me on a path. I don't fight it, I just let them lead me.
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