A call by the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore to roll out Alpha courses across his diocese has been warmly welcomed by Alpha’s Teresa Cronin. “To have the Church from the top behind it has been an answer to prayer,” she told The Irish Catholic. “Alpha is part of a bigger vision of renewal, moving parishes from maintenance to mission.”
Bishop Phonsie Cullinan this week launched ‘Go Make Disciples (2019 – 2024)’, outlining a five-year diocesan plan calling for a missionary Church with its members as missionary disciples.
Key objectives of the plan include: becoming an evangelising Church, creating faith communities, improving liturgies and remodelling leadership. Evangelisation is seen as key to the transformation of culture, and to this end, in a first, the bishop suggested Alpha for parishes “to rekindle faith in Jesus Christ” and “rediscover what it means to be a disciple”.
Several Alpha courses have already run in the diocese. “It changes people in the parish,” said Ms Cronin, Alpha Ireland’s Southern Coordinator. “It’s not instant change, it’s a process.” Typically around 20 people do the 10-week course.
“It sets people on fire. You see it. Even though some are retired, they are like teenagers full of joy and energy.”
Twenty-seven Catholic parishes ran Alpha for adults courses last year.