Encountering Jesus through Alpha

Lorraine McCarthy leads participants in an Alpha training weekend in Sydney

An evangelisation program based on questions, food, prayer and good conversation is encouraging Catholics in their faith. Source: Catholic Outlook.

By Lisa Bright, Catholic Outlook

Many parishes and faith communities are looking at Alpha in a Catholic Context as an evangelisation tool to provide an opportunity for people to encounter Jesus at whatever stage of life and faith journey they are.

Lorraine McCarthy, co-ordinator of Alpha in a Catholic Context, delivers training and offers support throughout Australia. Ms McCarthy recently led an Alpha Intensive training weekend to people keen to experience Alpha in the Parramatta Diocese.

“The Alpha Training weekend was a truly uplifting experience,” said one participant. “Lorraine presented the extensive Alpha resources clearly and with passion. Her obvious belief in Alpha as an initial tool in evangelising and her heart for bringing people to Jesus, both came across strongly.”

There was a very encouraging response by the participants to the weekend. “[Alpha] was not a series of dry presentations, but a sensitive process in which we were equipped, enthused and encouraged. The enkindling of the Holy Spirit was embedded in this process, and the conversations over food and in small groups was invigorating and enjoyable.”

Prayer ministry is a big part of the Alpha experience, both praying for the Alpha program and the experience of prayer within the program itself. It becomes much more of a focus towards the latter half of the program and can have an incredible impact on those who experience it.

“After leaving on Sunday, I felt the need to pray more and for particular people. This to me is very important so I hope it is a lasting legacy,” said a participant.

Food is an important element in any Alpha experience. Over the training weekend in Parramatta, parishioners from Blacktown and Plumpton volunteered their time to prepare lunch for participants. They demonstrated what Alpha hospitality looks like, which was backed by their experience of hosting Alpha courses in their own parishes.

The demand for Alpha training in the Parramatta Diocese has led to an additional intensive training day being offered on February 9.

Lisa Bright is a project officer in the Pastoral Planning Office, Diocese of Parramatta.

FULL STORY

Alpha – an Encounter with Jesus (Catholic Outlook)

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