Alpha | Catholic Context 

Review: Catholicism 201

Fr. James Mallon does a wonderful job engaging the audience, introducing unique Catholic teaching to complement the Alpha course, providing a theological basis, and interjecting humor to balance evenings full of content.

The introduction starts by explaining that Catholicism 201 was designed as a follow up to Alpha, so it really is a great idea to plan on doing Catholicism 201 after Alpha. In each session Catholicism 201 introduces theological elements of the Catholic faith and so new converts and beginners to the faith may do better with David Payne’s resources which are more for beginners (see below). Catholicism 201 is very strong in computer graphics and charts and it includes a course manual used for small group discussion.

The length of the talks varies from 50 minutes to 75 minutes from week to week with a break each night, so be sure to anticipate this variation.

The topics are:
1) Introduction and The Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
2) Sacraments and Sacraments of Initiation
3) The Eucharist
4) Sacraments of Healing
5) Sacraments of Vocation
6) Mary and the Saints
7) Introduction to Christian Morality
8) The Thorny Issues (which introduces 9 difficult topics and the principles related to these topics, and then it focuses primarily on artificial contraception and abortion in applying these principles).

Fr. James does a superlative job presenting the treasures of our unique Catholic teachings while expressing a clear love for Alpha and other Christians embodying the Vatican II teachings on ecumenism. For this reason Fr. James materials could be very helpful as a pre-RCIA or RCIA apologetic for non-Catholics. Fr. James materials are being translated into other languages and spreading around the world, so we expect to see this partnership between Alpha and Catholicism 201 to have a long-term impact for the new Catholic evangelization.

Order Catholicism 201 resources here.