Nicole Bitelli (second from right) leads a Discovery faith study at Christ the Redeemer Parish on Wednesdays with Maureen Giefing (left), Maria Law, Gail O’Mahony, and Denise Lawlor. (Photo submitted)
“We have, for a long time, made the Alpha course a very important priority at our parish and we’ve had a number of successful Alphas every year: some bigger, some smaller,” Msgr. Smith told The B.C. Catholic.
“This year, we decided to go big or go home.” The parish sent invitations to every family in the parish boundaries, Catholic or not, to Mass on Christmas Day. At that Mass, and on several following occasions, the pastor talked about Alpha during his homily.
“As a result, we had the largest Alpha we ever had.” An estimated 160 people joined Alpha at the start, and after the first few weeks, three-quarters of them were coming back regularly.
“We’ve never had such a response,” said Msgr. Smith.
He decided to harness that energy. Once the weekly Alpha program had run its course, the parish offered Discovery, a six-week faith formation program by Catholic Christian Outreach. About 75 Alpha alumni signed up.
We’ve had a number of successful Alphas every year: some bigger, some smaller. This year, we decided to go big or go home.
“We hit a sweet spot with the combination of Alpha and Discovery being very flexible and meeting a number of needs,” he said.