We have loved hearing about the launch of Alpha at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, Michigan, USA. Parish Priest, Father John Riccardo, decided to immerse everyone in the parish in Alpha, cancelling every other programme, and offering the course 7 days a week.
Father Riccardo sent Nicky Gumbel this message about why he decided to run Alpha and how it has been going.
As part of the preparation for Alpha, Father Riccardo shared: "We took our staff through it. We took our school teachers through it. We took our councils through it. All the different people involved in parish ministries ... This was a real leap on our part... We didn’t know if anybody would sign up."
Over 200 hosts and helpers were trained, 9 restaurants from the local community were called upon to help prepare food for over 1,000 people each week and the priests promoted and talked about what was to come with the parish to prepare the way. Check out ‘Chapel Chat’ to see just one of the creative ways in which they did this!
Having now run Alpha at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Father Riccardo says: "Tremendous community is building. I have countless people coming up to me and saying 'I can’t thank you enough for bringing Alpha here'."
Alpha will be running again in the autumn and the parish’s plans for follow up include a focus on discipleship, service and Bible Study.
Why is Our Lady of Good Counsel parish running Alpha? Father Riccardo explains: "Our desire was really to lead as many people in the parish as we could into an encounter with Jesus and into deeper friendships with each other."
Father Riccardo also was interviewed on the main stage at the Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall in London in May this year. He spoke passionately about the positive impact Alpha is having on his parish. He shared that they have found that Alpha is a means by which those people who know about Jesus but don’t know him personally can have an encounter with him. These people are often then the ones who go out and bring others to the Church. "It has been life changing" he says.
More about the plans of Our Lady of Good Counsel can be found in this article, published in ‘The Michigan Catholic’, a Publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit.