News around the diocese: Alpha underway at St. Rita’s, Theology on Tap heads to North County, and more


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St. Rita’s Launches New Season of Alpha
SAN DIEGO — St. Rita Parish launched its 10th season of Alpha on Feb. 23.

Alpha is a 10-week course that explores and presents the Christian faith. It was created by Holy Trinity Brompton Church in England in 1977 and is an evangelizing tool to bring the unchurched into the Christian community. Each session begins with a dinner, then a video on a particular subject, and an open discussion on the video topic in a non-judgmental environment.

Alpha debuted at St. Rita’s in 2018, when the program was piloted in July for the parish’s Renewal Team and then expanded to the whole parish that September. Since that time, St. Rita’s continued holding Alpha twice a year – in spring and in fall. After transitioning to Zoom during the COVID pandemic, the parish returned to an in-person Alpha program last September.

Charlotte Stewart, a lifelong Catholic and catechist, avoided Alpha after many invitations, but finally decided to attend Alpha Season 9. At one of the last sessions, she volunteered to share her experience and said, “I used to come to church with my eyes down, not wanting to look at anyone. But Alpha gave me new lenses from which I now see everyone.”

For more information about Alpha, visit For questions about Alpha at St. Rita’s, email or call (619) 264-3165.

Parish Holding Taizé Prayer Service
SAN DIEGO — Holy Family Parish in Linda Vista will hold a multicultural Lenten Taizé prayer service from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 11.

The meditative hour, held in a candlelit environment, will focus on healing and hope. It will include singing, Scripture and silence.

For more information, contact the parish at (858) 277-0404.

Theology on Tap Goes North
CARLSBAD — The diocesan Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry will present a new series of Theology on Tap.

It will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, March 16 to 30, at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Carlsbad.

The catechetical program brings together young adults, ages 18 to 39, for food, fellowship and a talk by a Catholic speaker.

The theme for the upcoming series is “Common Good, Common Home” and will focus on various areas of Catholic Social Teaching.

The scheduled talks will be given by: Dr. Victor Carmona, associate professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, March 16; a panel discussion on the Culture of Life and dignity for all people, March 23; and Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages, March 30.

Admission each night is $15, which includes street tacos and craft beer.

For more information, call (858) 490-8260.

Parish Hosting Lecture Series
CARMEL VALLEY — Catholic Answers, one of the nation’s largest lay-run apostolates, and St. Thérèse of Carmel Parish in Carmel Valley are teaming up to present the “On Fire for the Faith” Lecture Series.

The monthly series, held at St. Thérèse of Carmel Parish, features a lineup of leading Catholic apologists and lay evangelists and will continue through 2023. The Friday evening events begin with wine and cheese at 6:30 p.m., followed by a lecture at 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but a free-will offering will be accepted.

Upcoming talks include: “The Logic of Being Catholic” (March 17) with clinical psychologist and radio host Dr. Ray Guarendi; “Devil in the Castle: St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Warfare, and the Progress of the Soul” (April 21) with Dan Burke, president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation; and “How the Eucharist Makes Sense of Everything Else” (May 19) with Joe Heschmeyer, Catholic Answers apologist and author.

St. Thérèse of Carmel Parish is located at 4355 Del Mar Trails Road, San Diego 92130.

For more information, call (858) 481-3232.

Special Guest to Visit ‘40 Days for Life’
EL CAJON — The public sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood-El Cajon Health Center is one of eight local sites where prayer vigils are being held as part of the 40 Days for Life campaign.

Ramona Treviño, outreach director for the 40 Days for Life national organization, will be visiting the location at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 8. The abortion facility is located at 1685 E. Main St., El Cajon 92021.

Treviño was the manager of a Planned Parenthood in Sherman, Texas, until 2011, when the prayers and public witness of a 40 Days for Life campaign inspired her to leave her job. Her resignation resulted in her former center going out of business. She is the author of “Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back.”

The spring campaign of 40 Days for Life began on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, and will end on Palm Sunday, April 2. Millions of people around the world are engaging in prayer and fasting during the same 40-day period, the centerpiece of which is a continuous, peaceful prayer vigil in front of a local abortion facility.

For more information about 40 Days for Life, including nearby vigil locations and how to sign up for a time, visit life.

IVC Presenting ‘Evening of Gratitude’
SAN DIEGO — The Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a Jesuit organization that provides community nonprofits with talented and experienced volunteers, will hold its annual Evening of Gratitude on Sunday, March 26, at St. Catherine Labouré Parish.

The evening will start with Mass at 4 p.m., followed by a dinner and awards presentation.

This year’s honorees will include Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, bestselling author and founder of Homeboy Industries, who will receive the 2023 Madonna Della Strada Award. The award is presented to a person or organization reflecting the Ignatian values of direct service to the poor and engaging in work that is dedicated to creating a more just society.

Lucy Howell, an IVC San Diego volunteer with multiple nonprofits, will receive the Sheila O’Malley Vision and Dedication Award. Named after the late Sheila O’Malley (1949-2016), it honors individuals who envision the growth of the IVC to serve people in need.

Registration details and payment options will be available at

All attendees will receive an autographed copy of Father Boyle’s latest book, “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness.”

For more information, contact Curran Gaughan, IVC San Diego Director, at or (858) 822-9814.

Widowed, Divorced Invited to Healing Weekend
OCEANSIDE — Beginning Experience, an almost 50-year-old international ministry that helps the widowed, divorced and separated move beyond grief, will hold its next weekend retreat April 28 to 30.

It will be held at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, where organizers promise a supportive and caring environment with others who are going through or have gone through the same experiences.

The cost is $300, which covers individual rooms, food and materials. Scholarships are available for those in need.

For more information, email or call (858) 748-2273 in English or (330) 607-8774 in Spanish.

Catholics Can ‘Encounter’ Jesus in Rancho Peñasquitos
SAN DIEGO — Encounter, a Spirit-filled evening of inspiring music, prayer and Eucharistic adoration, is held on the second Friday of each month at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Sponsored by the parish’s Hearts of Fire Ministry, the event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish at (858) 324-0490.

Street Evangelization Brings Gospel to Public Square
SAN DIEGO — St. Paul Street Evangelization is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to taking the Gospel message to the streets.

Participants in the ministry do this in a non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who witness their public Catholic presence.

For more information or to get involved, visit, call (619) 515-3267 or email

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