Mission Alpha: a Catholic priest turns his Canadian parish into a powerhouse of renewal and mission

21 June 2017 | by Diana Klein

The new evangelisation


A Catholic priest on the eastern coast of Canada has turned his parish into a powerhouse of renewal and mission. James Mallon explains the secret / By Diana Klein

At 31 years of age, in his very first parish, Fr James Mallon sequestered the parish hall for 10 Monday nights. There was a small problem. The hall had already been reserved for a group of card players, and they were reluctant to change their booking. Fr Mallon insisted that he needed the hall for the Alpha Course, an introduction to Christianity originally developed by an evangelical Anglican parish in London. One woman shouted at him: “We don’t need to know about Jesus. We need to play cards!”

Fr Mallon tells me: “The uproar was so great that an emergency meeting of the parish council had to be called.” He stubbornly pushed ahead, and has been a big supporter of Alpha ever since. “It works,” he says. “Alpha has been at the heart of my experience of renewal.”

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