Alpha, an evangelization tool that is becoming more widely adopted by Catholic parishes across the country, has found its way to Mundelein Seminary.
Seminarians in their second year of Pre-Theology studies recently experienced a session of the program in their Pastoral Theology class. Michelle Shaffer, associate director of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership and an Alpha program trainer for the Archdiocese of Chicago, ran the session as if the seminarians were attending the program at a parish. With fall table cloths on the classroom tables and a delicious breakfast spread, the seminarians experienced the hospitality that is a hallmark of the program to make attendees feel welcome and comfortable engaging in an intimate conversation about faith. After singing an opening hymn together, Shaffer gave an overview of the session’s topic and played a video produced by Alpha featuring witness talks and basic information about Catholic teachings. After the video, she led a discussion with the seminarians about what they saw and how it resonates with their own faith.
Through this initial Alpha experience, seminarians will have familiarity with the program when they encounter it at their teaching parishes. Some seminarians who are further along in their studies are already leading Alpha sessions at their parish. Alpha will continue to be woven into the formation program at Mundelein so that seminarians can continue to grow their skills in the areas of evangelization, encounter and catechesis.