Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Last Sunday we had our first organizational meeting for ALPHA. I think we have a great team, and the meeting was very, very fruitful. We are planning on beginning our ALPHA course on Sunday, October 1st, right after the 10:30am Mass. Sessions should last about an hour and a half. The course will run for 12 weeks, but there will be a break for holiday times late November through December. And the final weeks will pick up in early January. For this first ALPHA, the sessions will be in the basement of the Paulding church. (Perhaps future sessions could be at other campuses?)
In addition to establishing the venue and the schedule, we talked about hospitality. We will be looking for some people to volunteer to cover food for one session. Then we want to make sure there are people at the door to greet and guide our guests. We even hope to offer babysitting for families who need it, along with food for the children being watched. Then we will have table discussion leaders, and an assistant at each table. Deacon Bob Nighswander will be the facilitator for each session. The sessions are comprised of food & fellowship, then video segments interspersed with table conversation regarding big topics of life and Christianity. Please watch for details and the many ways we will advertise this opportunity: our home page, our Facebook page, the parish app, newspaper, radio, postcards, posters around our neighborhoods. It will be very easy to have the information at hand for inviting those the Lord inspires you to invite.
ALPHA has proven to be very fruitful for many people in other parishes we’ve heard about. Who should come to ALPHA? Any current, active Catholic who would like a boost in the spiritual life. Any Catholic who has been away from the Church for a while and would like to reconsider what the Faith is all about. Any Protestant who could appreciate an environment speaking about the very basic tenets of the Christian faith that we all hold in common. Anybody who has not even had any church experience. Do you know somebody who fits into one of these categories, whom you want to invite to attend ALPHA? I am very hopeful for how the Lord can increase the Faith-engagement of everybody who attends.
I also think the work happening to organize our volunteer life will dovetail nicely with the timing of ALPHA. People hoping to be more engaged after ALPHA will have many resources at hand, especially a booklet – now begun to be compiled – that will explain many facets of our parish life for involvement. We will also offer a follow-up course for people hoping to continue consider the Faith. The Catholicism program by Bishop Robert Barron, on our FORMED subscription, will be the perfect way for somebody who wants to delve still further into the Catholic Faith to do so. We will offer this as a group follow-up to ALPHA. I am very eager to see all of this in place as a complement to RCIA. Wouldn’t it be great if we always had something running throughout the academic year to which we could invite anybody interested in deepening (or even beginning) their walk with the Lord; really anybody at any stage of their journey! The Mass, of course, is the center of it all, and the goal for each soul. But in the Mass we can’t make all the discussion happen that is so helpful for setting people on a Faith journey.
On another note, many thanks to everybody who made the parish wine and beer tasting social last week a great event: the committee members, those who actually did all the running to make sure all the food and drinks were on site and prepared, everybody you donated for the silent auction, those who worked serving at tables and handling tickets, etc., etc. Of course, thanks to everybody who attended. This event for the last three years really is turned out to be a very fine one, it’s an effort by people from all three campuses, and it brings everybody and from all three campuses. It’s also a great opportunity for fellowship with people who are not part of our parish officially. I’m very glad some of them were invited!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,