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Alpha Course (Winter)

The Alpha Course is kicking off soon! Save the date and register below!

What is the Alpha Course?

Alpha is an 11-week introduction to the Catholic faith. Each evening begins with dinner at 6:30pm, followed by a talk and a small group discussion, with the opportunity to ask questions and express opinions.

An important element of the course is the weekend away. After session 6, we invite attendees to do a weekend-away retreat focused on the Holy Spirit.

Why should I consider this course and who should attend Alpha?

This is not course for instruction; it is more a of course of exploration in your faith journey. You can expect to receive spiritual gifts that you didn’t know you needed and grow closer in personal relationship with your fellow parishioners. This course is appropriate for anyone, including those who wish to rekindle their faith, those new to the community, and those who have been away from the church.
Although the course covers the foundation of the Catholic Faith, it’s also very powerful for long-time or cradle Catholics who want to deepen their faith and re-engage their hearts. Many participants have had a spiritual awakening and conversion as a result of this program.

What is the cost of the course?

There is no cost for the course. You can donate to help defray the cost of the dinners. There will be a charge for the weekend-away retreat (approximately $150 per person, and scholarships are available).

Will childcare be provided?

Childcare will be provided. Please indicate if you will be needing this service when you register below.

What are the dates and the topics?

  • 1/24 – Session 1 – Is there more to Life than this?
  • 1/31 – Session 2 – Who is Jesus?
  • 2/7 – Session 3 – Why did he die?
  • 2/14 – Session 4 – How can I have Faith? (Ash Wednesday*)
  • 2/21 – Session 5- How can I read the Bible?
  • 2/28– Session 6 – How can I pray?
  • 3/7 – Session 7 – How does God guide us?
  • 3/9 – 3/11 – HOLY SPIRIT RETREAT WOMEN **
  • 3/14 – Session 8 – How to resist evil?
  • 3/16 – 3/18 HOLY SPIRIT RETREAT MEN **
  • 3/21 – Session 9 – Does God heal today? 
  • 3/28 – Session 10 – Why the Church? (HOLY WEEK – SPRING BREAK)
  • 4/4 – Session 11 – Celebration Dinner
  • Notes:
    • *Ash Wednesday: Instead of a full dinner, we will provide soup and crackers.
    • ** Retreats: As the dates for the retreats approach, online registration will be available on St. Mary’s website. The retreat is a weekend away were we focus on the person of the Holy Spirit and we pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

What if I am not sure?

Please give it a try. Register, come to the first or second night, and then decide!

What are the fruits?

People who do the course experience many things:

  • Receive a powerful experience of the Love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit
  • Relearn the basics of their faith.
  • Re-connect with the community and more fully appreciate our parish as a community of friends in Christ.
  • Get excited about their faith and start to invite others to the course.
  • Emotional or physical Healings during healing session.

Where can I learn more?

You can either ask someone who has already participated or watch the videos below that explain the course in more detail.

Alpha Introductory Video

Fr. Mike Schmitz Describes the Alpha Course

Why are we doing this course at the parish?

We believe we are living in a very special time regarding the mission of the Church. The last three popes have called us to engage in the new evangelization. We need both to renew the spiritual life of those who are coming, and also to provide “entrance doors” for those who are away from the Church. We believe Alpha is a great tool to accomplish these two goals.

Can I invite others?

Yes! You can come and invite friends to come with you, or you can take advantage of this opportunity to invite people who might not be coming to church.

How can I help?

Even if you can’t attend as a participant, you can still help by:

  • Praying for the participants.
  • Inviting others
  • Cooking at one of the evenings (call the office to sign up: 541-757-1988)

What do other people say about Alpha?

Here are some testimonies of St Mary’s parishioners who had done the course:

  • Testimony of JB:
    “I gained a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit, and have experienced encounters with Him. I have grown closer to Jesus, trusting in Him more and feeling His Presence in my daily living. I yearn to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist more often, making me stronger in my Faith. I’m not so afraid of dying.”
  • Testimony of GH:
    “I have done 3 Alpha courses. What I have learned from Alpha is the beauty of sharing with others your true thoughts and feelings while listening to them share theirs. The sharing brings you close to each other and you begin to love each person at the table and in your retreat for who they really are. From that love for the other that develops I experience less judgementalism, more love, more sincerity and more humility each time.”
  • Testimony of JW:
    “The mission statement that I try to live by: “Work hard to do your best. Do what is right. And make a difference.” I always felt that God gave me talents, blessings and opportunities so that I could make a difference in a big way.
    At the Holy Spirit retreat I asked to learn what it was I was supposed to do and as often is the case our prayers are answered in ways that we would not expect. The answer was not to know my end mission, but rather to do what is God’s will for that day. It was not my mission, but I am learning to find it in the day to day, week to week life I live. The accumulated good of what I do in my life is my mission and I have learned to trust that that will be shown to me through prayer. In the follow up to that retreat, in these follow up sessions and in other places where I have been, I have but to listen, and pray the prayer that I am taught: Jesus I trust you.”
  • Testimony of CM:
    “My testimony may be a bit unusual. In the work that I do – my days are usually filled with people asking me for my opinion on (whatever). Alpha continues to teach me to feel more comfortable with listening rather than talking. For me a key lesson is to do more, say less, listen; then ‘pray with my feet’.” 

How do I register?

Fill out the form below.