New Spirituality Course Life-Changing for Adults and Teens Alike
When Bishop Carroll art and religion instructor Karen Blaisdell first encountered the Alpha course at her Johnstown church, Our Mother of Sorrows, she was a bit skeptical. “I thought that I was strong in my Christian faith and that it might be good to try it, but could it really change my life? I didn’t think so. Boy, was I wrong!” she says in a letter addressing her fellow colleagues. It didn’t take long for her to realize this was a program that could greatly benefit both the students and faculty at Bishop Carroll.
The 12-week Youth Alpha course is relatively straightforward. There are three key components according to Blaisdell—food, fun, and faith. Students congregate and enjoy snacks, social interaction, worship, and conversation on faith-based topics. Small-group discussions often lead to strong friendships built out of common spiritual insights and struggles.
“With the culture of today pushing our kids away from their faith, we need to prepare them to lead a Christian life in an increasingly secular world. Youth Alpha can help us to do this,” Blaisdell affirmed. So, she convinced her colleagues to bring the Youth Alpha program to BC. While she does recognize that the program is a large time commitment, spanning 12 weeks, with 30-minute sessions held each Friday, and one day-long retreat, she believes it’s a more than worthy cause, and one that can continue to be successful if repeated every four years.
Each session begins with conversation and snacks, followed by worship music, a thought-provoking video, and small-group time. Topics for each session range from “Life: What Is It?” to “Follow: How Does God Guide Us?” At least five teachers are present to assist students and oversee the program.
The program aligns with Bishop Carroll’s pillars of Spirit, Heart, Mind, and Body, nurturing the development of the spirit alongside mass and daily prayer. The faculty hopes the program encourages students to nourish their personal relationships with Christ.
“I can’t say enough about what a great program Alpha is! I love it and know that our students, faculty, and staff will benefit from the time we set aside to learn more about Jesus Christ and each other,” says Blaisdell.
The Youth Alpha program held its first session January 12, and will run through March 24. In addition, the adult Alpha program is being held for Bishop Carroll faculty, following the same schedule.