Alpha Ministries - 10 Part Series

My parish is running a 10-part series put on by Alpha and taught by a guy named Nicky Gumbel. The series seems awfully Protestant in nature, and sells one of those “least common denominator” type of messages - “It’s all about Jesus, right?” The absence of content about the Sacraments, the Church, the Magisterium, etc., troubles me, and I am curious if anyone has attended one of these programs for Catholics, or knows more about this group? The website is www.alpha.org.

Thanks…

This is from their site when you click on Alpha for Catholics.:ehh: :hmmm:

Alpha is for everyone, especially:

* Those wanting to investigate Christianity
* New Christians
* Newcomers to the church
* Those who want to brush up on the basics

Alpha runs in every type of church, including:

* Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Salvation Army, Free Church, Pentecostal, Assemblies of God and House Churches

:eek:
* All the churches provide the same material, making alterations only to suit local culture

Alpha is run in different contexts:

* Alpha for Prisons
* Alpha for Students
* Youth Alpha
* Alpha for Forces
* Alpha for CatholicsYou're right...it seems very generic, but that might also work for you in that so long as they don't teach something contrary to Catholic doctrine, you can go out of your way to taylor it to insure that it IS Catholic, especially since it's being sponsored by a Catholic parish. I'm pretty shameless about using any platform to share the faith.

Generally, I’m of the opinion that anything n-Cs can do we Catholics can do better.
Pax tecum,

endorsements include Rosemary Clooney…

but not one priest, bishop, Catholic theologian etc…:hmmm:

.

I posted a thread on this over the weekend so was glad I came across your posting. I currently reside in Japan and there is a Franciscian Chapel where I attend Mass. They are starting the Alpha course next week. I was looking into it but am not sure how I feel about it. I think my personal needs might be better met by joining a Catholic Bible Study. The course description did seem interesting, but I agree with you, that without the mention of the Sacraments and so many other things, this course seems to be missing something. But the woman who spoke about it at Mass said she really benefited from attending it. And I figure if the Catholic Chapel is promoting it, there should not be anything in the course that contradicts Church teaching.

I am interested in hearing what others have to say about the Alpha course.

Sincerely,
Maria1212

There do seem to be some Catholics who don’t like Alpha. They make for interesting reading and make some good points:

ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/alpha1.htm

The second page may be better - and gives proper references.

ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/alpha2.htm

I can’t comment too much as when I did an Alpha course it was in an Anglican church. And sat in on part of a course being run for actors in Soho.

However, the Catholic Alpha course is meant to take the course “as is”. Given its lack of mention of many key issues about the Church and the Catholic life that may cause problems. If the videos by Nicky Gumbel are used, rather than having a Catholic teacher talk then the problems would be increased.

It’s not only that the things distinctive to Catholicism are left out to be covered in another course. It is that some things contrary to Catholicism are included. Things concerning the nature of the Church, the priesthood, the sacraments, etc. If Gumbel’s talks aren’t used (they don’t have to be) then whoever is leading could give correct teaching on these things, stick within the outline of the course and make it thoroughly Catholic. If his talks are used there will be errors.

There may be other problems when you consider that Gumbel presents a pretty specific pentecostal perspective on the charismatic gifts. In his talks Gumbel presents a picture of Christianity that almost says “come to Jesus, you’ll have a problem free life” (that’s a criticism from a friend who is a presbyterian minister).

Anyway, that’s all been negative. There are good things about Alpha. But there must be a more Catholic alternative that’s better.

That’s enough. My wife is home. Sorry to be so negative.

I have been a part of Alpha in our parish for the last 3 years. It is an awesome program if it is run right. I belong to a large parish so we are able to get our Monsignor, other priests and deacons to speak at every single class. Our classes actually run for 20 weeks. Our classes have been very very productive for our parishoners. We use it along side our RCIA program. IT is completely Catholic oriented.

Good Luck.

several CAtholic bishops endorse ALPHA for what it is, an introduction to basic Christian doctrine and the person of Jesus Christ intended as an evangelization tool for those who have never heard the Gospel proclaimed and who have only the vaguest notion of who Jesus is. It is not RCIA or catechesis in Catholic doctrine and practice. It corresponds to what Catholics would call the pre-evangelization or inquiry phase of RCIA. There is Alpha for Catholics, which ends with a session on specifically Catholic topics and invites participants to further workshops on sacraments etc., or to join RCIA.

didn’t I just answer this on another thread? can we combine all the alpha threads, we discussed this in great detail a few months ago as well, a search will uncover posts from several people who have participated.

Well, many of you know that I am Methodist, so take that into account…However, I have been a part of Alpha, including assisting the leader. I think that VeronicasJude has it right: If it is run properly, Alpha can be wonderful…A lot goes to the leader of the group!!
For a Catholic Alpha program, I think you will need to be sure that the leader & helper are well grounded in their faith. I found, as an assistant at 3 groups, that there is a big difference when you have a knowledgeable person running it. (I had one group, that I was asked to come in to “rescue” because the leader was basically unable to deal with any difference of opinion; if Nicky Gumbel said it, we had to do it that way).
The other times, I worked with well-read, devout Christian people with a good understanding of Methodism, & we had an extraordinary experience. This includes an agnostic whose wife got him to come, & who is now a Christian believer, & a woman who had been caught up in New Age “woo-woo” who came back to her Christian roots as a result of what she learned.
Beyond that one warning to choose the leader wisely, I can tell you that Alpha has a lot to offer, especially to those who have been poorly catechised, those who respond well to a small group setting, & people who have a lot of “head smarts” but little background in what Christianity is really about.
Gumbel is a highly educated former agnostic himself, & from that standpoint, a good person to talk to people who think that all Christians must be a little “slow” to believe…
Just, as I say, be sure not to put someone in a position of leadership when they are still trying to figure out what they believe themselves!!

Two questions: (1) Could you please name a few bishops to endorse Alpha?

(2) Article 1324 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”

Further, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says, “The celebration of the Mass . . . is for the universal and the local Church, as well as for each person, the center of the whole Christian life.”

As far as I can tell (and I would most certainly appreciate correction if I am wrong or misinformed), the Alpha course makes only a passing reference to the Eucharist (and never says it is source and summit of Christian life), and does not mention the Mass as the center of the whole Christian life at all. My question is, if the Alpha course is truly designed to help Catholics, how can it omit an analysis of the Eucharist - the source and summit of Christian life - and the Mass - the center of the whole Christian life?

Check out www.alphausa.org/catholics - there are numerous bishops and priests endorsing Alpha, not the least of which is Fr. Cantalamessa - the preacher to the Papal Household for over 30 years.

Alpha is the beginning and only covers the most basic message of Christianity - Jesus is Lord, he is God Incarnate, he suffered and died for our sins and rose from the dead conquering sin and death forever. Alpha invites people to follow Jesus as true disciples. Once their faith comes alive then their hearts are truly ready to be catechized. Fr. James Mallon says that without a personal relationship with Jesus catechesis is like trying to plant seeds on concrete. The popes have proclaimed the necessity of a personal relationship with Jesus and becoming a true disciple. Alpha creates an encounter and offers an opportunity for people to explore the claims of Jesus in a non-judgmental atmosphere and meets people where they are but leads them to Christ where they can make a decision. There are many excellent follow up resources for a post Alpha group, including Catholicism 201 which builds the rest of our Catholic Tradition on the foundational relationship with God, in Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit, which Alpha offers. :thumbsup:

Check out www.alphausa.org/catholics - there are numerous bishops and priests endorsing Alpha, not the least of which is Fr. Cantalamessa - the preacher to the Papal Household for over 30 years.

Alpha is the beginning and only covers the most basic message of Christianity - Jesus is Lord, he is God Incarnate, he suffered and died for our sins and rose from the dead conquering sin and death forever. Alpha invites people to follow Jesus as true disciples. Once their faith comes alive then their hearts are truly ready to be catechized. Fr. James Mallon says that without a personal relationship with Jesus catechesis is like trying to plant seeds on concrete. The popes have proclaimed the necessity of a personal relationship with Jesus and becoming a true disciple. Alpha creates an encounter and offers an opportunity for people to explore the claims of Jesus in a non-judgmental atmosphere and meets people where they are but leads them to Christ where they can make a decision. There are many excellent follow up resources for a post Alpha group, including Catholicism 201 which builds the rest of our Catholic Tradition on the foundational relationship with God, in Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit, which Alpha offers. :thumbsup:

This thread is over four years old. :confused::confused:

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