What is Alpha?

Life is filled with big questions. Does my life have meaning? Is there more to life than my job? How do I find a community during the pandemic? Alpha is a free course that consists of a weekly video and discussion about these, and some of the other most important faith topics in our lives. It is a time to spend with friends and community while discussing our faith. Join us for just 90 minutes, a short video and lively conversation about life’s big questions. 
Give it a try even if only for one night - if you realize that Alpha is not for you there is no pressure to come back! Fr. Francis’ hope is that all of our parishioners attend an Alpha course. Make him happy today and sign up!
Our Alpha Series typically addresses the following topics:
    • 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?
    • Does God Heal Today?
    • What About the Church
    • How Can I Resist Evil?
    • 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 & How Should I Tell Others?
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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Our current Alpha Session is closed.

Our next Alpha session begins February 3rd, 2022