FOUR Springfield parishioners have come back to the Church and the sacraments after attending the popular worldwide evangelisation program, Alpha.
Judy Fakaosi Siaki, Brett Larsson, Jessica Thompson and Victoria Laban completed the Alpha program through the Springfield Parish, with the help of the parish’s evangelisation director Vanessa Comninos.
“Alpha is how we, at Springfield Parish, change lives,” Mrs Comninos said.
“It is a 12-week journey of creating belonging and hearing the Good News in a relevant and entertaining way.
“Each session starts off with a hearty, wholesome meal, then a movie followed by meaningful conversation in small groups.
“As the weeks roll by our guests grow in love with each other and encounter Jesus in a powerful way.
“The most loving thing you can do for another person is to introduce them to Jesus.”
The four parishioners said they were apprehensive, sceptical and reluctant to join Alpha.
“I didn’t understand why we needed to attend Alpha,” Ms Fakaosi Siaki said.
“We’d been brought up in a strong Catholic family and we knew about Jesus and God.
“We went to Alpha with the intention that we were only going so we could baptise our baby.
“But now we’ve come away with so much more – an ultimate unwavering knowing in my heart in being a Christian, and who Jesus and God are and that I am his daughter.”
Mr Larsson was drifting with little direction or focus before he joined Alpha.
“Listening to Vanessa (Comninos) talking about the Winter Alpha (program) piqued my interest, and I went along not knowing what was to come,” he said.
“As the weeks progressed I felt like I was reigniting my belief and my faith in Jesus.
“I started reading the Bible – something I had never done before.
“My youngest daughter Anya has been coming with me to the Alpha program and I have seen changes in her as well.
“I can truly say this is one of the best programs I’ve done.
“I’m reading the Bible and I’m talking about my faith more to the people that I love.”
Ms Thompson said a weekend away during the Alpha program changed her life.
“I was blessed with the experience of the Alpha weekend away. It changed my whole life,” she said.
“After all the bad decisions from my past, I had been filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Catholics around the world have said Alpha has helped repair not only their faith, but also their personal lives.
Mrs Laban said the Alpha program helped her marriage.
“(My husband) and I had been battling with marriage problems for almost eight years and the bitterness had just become the ‘normal function’,” she said.
“The events that unfolded during the (Alpha) weekend changed me as a wife, a mother and a disciple of Christ.”
Mrs Laban said the Holy Spirit led her to Alpha and since then her marriage was stronger.
“I turned to my husband Lyell and said ‘I’m sorry’ and hugged him so tightly,” she said.
“I’m grateful for my Alpha group leaders and for Father Mauro (Conte) for bringing Alpha right here in our home – our parish.
“If you’re struggling in your faith or have life questions … come and be a part of something unique and special.
“Come to Alpha.”