What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Why does God allow bad things to happen?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
The Alpha course just might be the answer. Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, signifies the beginning. That’s exactly what this course does. It starts with the basics of the Christian faith and presents them in simple ways that anyone can understand.
No matter where you are in your faith life: devout Catholic, an atheist, or somewhere in between, the Alpha course has the potential to impact you.
I was born into the faith. A “Cradle Catholic” as we refer to ourselves. I was blessed to have had a conversion of heart at a young age and spent my youth searching for a deeper meaning in the faith. I asked a lot of questions, took theology classes, and started getting involved in church. By the time I went to Michigan State, I was already steady in my faith and did not shy away from it no matter who questioned me.
Don’t be mistaken, I am a sinner! A big one! I have had many ups and downs in my faith life. There are times when I spend hours in prayer each week and have so much peace in my life because I am so aware of God’s love and mercy. And, there have been some dark times in my life when I just stroll in and out of Sunday Mass, not receiving the Eucharist out of shame, and spend my weeks wandering and lost. The highs and lows of your personal spirituality are inevitable, but it’s what we do and how we pull ourselves out of a slum and enter back into that beautiful union with God that makes the difference.
The Alpha Course did that for me. I was going through some big transitions in my personal life, which left my faith and prayer life in limbo. I tried to spend time in prayer, but I was mostly distracted and busy worrying about work and home. Then, the course started and I decided to sit in.
To be completely honest, I attended with an arrogant attitude. What can I learn about the “basics” of the Christian faith? I have been a leader in the church for years, I am way past a beginner’s course! But, as God frequently does, He laughed at my plans and put me in my place.
I was so enlightened on this course. It presented things in such a unique and practical way. Not only did I learn (and frantically jot down notes and anecdotes) from the video presentations, I learned from my small group. I sat with the lovely ladies thinking, “What will I have in common with them?” We could not have been more different! I was sitting next to a woman whose daughter got married the same weekend as me, and another who had grown grandchildren. Some were housewives and others working mothers. Some were extremely opinionated and outspoken, while another woman didn’t say a word the entire 11 weeks.
Yet, each week I looked forward to sitting and discussing with them. When one was missing for a session, I sincerely missed them in the group. Our conversations were so lively and interesting. The stories and experiences that were shared in discussion impacted me so much, sometimes I would find myself replaying the stories in conversations for days to come. The ladies of my small group became women who challenged me, but ultimately became good friends!
We are so excited to be offering Alpha to everyone! It is open to all men and women over the age of 18, no matter where you are in your faith life. You don’t even have to be Chaldean! So feel free to invite your classmates, co-workers, and friends. Think about that person you have been wanting to invite to church forever, but you never knew how.
If you aren’t sure if Alpha is right for you, don’t feel obligated to commit, just join us for our welcome dinner on Wednesday February 11 at 7 p.m. at the Hall at Mother of God and decide from there.
Written by: Patrice Abona