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Bishops applaud Alpha

Archbishop Nichols is pictured with an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at a Mass attended by international supporters of the Alpha teaching course

By on Friday, 2 July 2010

Bishops applaud Alpha

Archbishop Vincent Nichols welcomed prelates from the four corners of the earth for a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on June 8, during a week-long conference organised by Alpha International.

The archbishops and bishops – about 30 in total – represented nations including India, Sri Lanka, France, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean. They were visiting London for the week-long Alpha International Conference held at Holy Trinity Brompton, the Anglican evangelical church, in Kensington.

The conference attracted more than 1,250 representatives. Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the department for evangelisation and catechesis, attended for a day of seminars and prayer. The Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, was one of the senior Anglicans who were involved in the week’s activities.

In his homily, Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said: “We who seek to be evangelists must first be disciples, and we must have in our heart every morning, the other words of Isaiah: ‘That I awaken every day with a disciple’s ear’.”

Following the Mass, some 120 guests enjoyed refreshments in the Throne Room at Archbishop’s House. The archbishop congratulated the conference organisers, saluted the work of Alpha and said: “This evening I have heard wonderful testimonies about the work of Alpha in prisons, in poor countries, in many many different circumstances. I pray that God will guide us all in this journey of deeper and deeper understanding and greater visible unity between our churches.”

One of the highlights was a message of support broadcast via video from Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household. Archbishop Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, Archbishop Rivas of St Lucia, Barbados and St Vincent, and Bishop Hector Cubillos of Zipquirá, Colombia were among the Catholic participants. The Alpha course began in an Anglican church, but is now used in the Catholic Church. For example, 600 Catholic parishes in France are thought to use Alpha.

Kitty Kay-Shuttleworth, head of Alpha in the Catholic Church, said: “It has been a wonderful week as Christians from many different denominations have come together with a shared love of Christ and vision for evangelisation.”

The reception was organised in partnership with the Bishops’ Conference.

  • Ibrahim

    Alpha….doesn't go down too well among the fathers of Holy Trinity's neighbour at the London Oratory though. Wonder why? Could be something to do with thinking like Catholics rather than “broad church” Anglicanising oecumenomaniacs…

  • Prof_healy

    Any association between the active teaching of Faith by the Roman Catholic church and the various non catholic protestant religions can only weaken the catholic faith because essential parts of the Roman Faith are not included in the other Faiths. Indeed are opposed by them. The existence of Purgatory and the need for prayers for the dead being a very serious difference between the Roman Catholics and the others. We play with the alpha course at the peril of catholic christians, Thomas Healy