By a happy coincidence, they arrived at CANA when the name did not ring a bell, at the insistence of a priest who was making his announcements at the end of mass. For Jonė and Gintaras, it was the best thing that could have happened. Together with other couples they went on a pilgrimage to Israel and, with CANA Lithuania, they experienced a little piece of paradise.
A happy coincidence
CANA is the best thing that could have happened in our spiritual journey as a couple. This is what Joné and Gintaras have been saying since their first CANA Week in the summer of July 2015.
In truth, our trip to CANA was more accidental. We had already done two retreats that summer and we didn’t really plan to go anywhere else. But every Sunday, the Jesuit priest Rytis kept reading the announcement of “a CANA session” after Mass at St. Casimir’s Church. The name meant nothing to us. We did not associate CANA with the Gospel of Cana.
“Gintaras kept talking to me about it, but I thought it was too much for thsi summer”, recalls Jonė. But Gintaras still transfered the full amount needed to pay for the camp and we came. “It’s funny to remember today, but I went more because I was sorry to lose the money. The amount was really big – almost half of my month salary”, laughs Jonė.
And here we are in our eighth year in CANA.
When we committed to one year of CANA after the first CANA summer session; there were 16 couples altogether. Of those, 6 couples were new, just like we were when we joined in summer 2015.
Today Lithuanian CANA Fraternity has 31 couples. They are spread over several cities in Lithuania and one of them lives in London. This London-based couples has been organising the CANA Welcome programme for the Lithuanian diaspora in the UK, beginning this year.
“The greatest ressource for our couple is the joy of fellowship”, say Jonė and Gintaras, who had taken over responsability for CANA in Lithuania since autumn 2019. “We actually came to CANA already converted, but we really needed a place where we could open up and be ourselves.”
Together in pilgrimage, like a little paradise
“At the beginning of March 2023, 9 CANA couples, led by Archbishop Lionginas VIRBALAS SJ, went on a pilgrimage to Israel. We celebrated daily the Holy Mass in a different place: Golgotha, Bethlehem, the Upper Room, the Mount of Beatitudes, Mount Tabor, the village of Cana, we prayed a lot, participated in the Stations of the Cross procession, swam in the Sea of Galilee, and finally renewed our Marriage in Cana of Galilee,” continues Gintaras.
“But, as all the CANA couples who took part in this pilgrimage say today, a few weeks after the trip, even though we were together for the whole week, not once did we have a fight, not once did anyone get upset, but on the contrary, we had a real experience of true communion and love”.
“CANA has taught and is teaching us to hear, see, feel and love each other. “We really experienced “a piece of Heaven”,” says Jonė, sharing, “Mantas, the head of the Kaunas Archdiocesan Pilgrimage Centre, who administered our trip, told us before the pilgrimage that pilgrimages are always a success if they are made by people who are spiritually minded and who have a good feeling for one another. And after the trip, Mantas, who organises pilgrimages for various communities, said that he sees Lithuania’s CANA in its golden age.”