Alpha, only the beginning.

"For me, the Alpha was less a moment of major conversion and more an experience of being welcomed, invited in, and made to feel at home. I was the prodigal son returning home and Alpha was my father running out to embrace me. I first participated in the Alpha at my home Parish in 2011, at a time when I had only recently returned to a practice of faith and a relationship with Jesus, after a long time of neglect." Damian Barnett, a member of the Holy Family Alpha team, reflects on his experiences participating in Alpha for the first time.

What I remember of Alpha wasn’t so much the content, which is good, but the space created in the small group discussion afterwards, as well as the culture that developed within that small group over the course of the program. It was a place where everyone around me seemed to feel free to share their questions and their doubts, as well as their personal journey and their experience of God. What really stood out for me was the apparent absence of an expectation that you had to believe a particular thing in order to belong in that group. I think this led to each person, including myself, opening up and sharing where we were at in our journey of faith. We walked side by side through the Alpha process, supporting and helping each other as we could, but also just being there to witness. I got to see people changing, growing closer to God and opening up more and more to the message of the Gospel.

I was greatly encouraged by this experience. It was a significant boost in my confidence as I was beginning my journey back into the Catholic community, and finding my place within the church.

A number of years later, I had the opportunity to do Alpha again. A Protestant friend of mine had invited me to do it at her church. Alpha, in this context, was a different experience to what I had enjoyed at St Francis Xavier, but was also a very valuable and memorable part of my journey of faith. My friend’s church was using Alpha to try and kick-start a young adults group, so the crowd was a lot younger than what I had experienced previously. There was also less diversity of perspective. I guess I was the diversity of perspective. But I was in a different place too by this stage, I had grown in confidence in what I believed and in my ability to articulate it. The Alpha program provided a platform for open, free and productive dialogue. I felt listened to, and had a unique and privileged view into the perspectives of others.

Alpha has the potential to be of great benefit to this Parish, and of great benefit to all those who participate. I encourage you to join the Alpha Team in praying for the success of the Alpha program here at Holy Family and I also warmly invite you to consider joining us on May 8th, as we kick off this exciting adventure together at Holy Family.

Have you considered doing Alpha in 2019?

Alpha starts at Holy Family on Wednesday, May 8th.

Youth Alpha starts for students in Years 10-12 on Sunday 26th May, following the 5 pm Mass.