For your couple: enjoy a journey of relational renewal and refreshment

Six privileged days, for better dialogue, reconciliation and a deeper love

CANA Week / CANA… 1, 2, 3: in brief

There is no such thing as a perfect couple! Are you looking for a fulfilling life as a couple, to become a stronger, happier couple? Do you want to reflect on the meaning of your commitment? Are you going through difficulties? Come and spend time together in a beautiful place, to enjoy an unforgettable experience to strengthen your relationship as a couple. CANA welcomes you as you are, married or not, believers or not.

In many countries, the CANA teams organise a specific programme for your children (games, activities, discovery of the Bible, etc.).

Six privileged days for a deeper, stronger love:

The CANA Week is at the heart of the CANA proposals and has been taking place in almost 50 countries for over 40 years.  For some it is a meaningful week of relaxation for their couple and family, for others it is also a spiritual retreat.

Why 6 days or 3 weekends?

The CANA Week can be experienced in two formats:

Taking 6 days away from daily life is certainly demanding because of the social and professional constraints that sometimes weigh on families, but devoting this time is, from experience, necessary to really consolidate the foundations of the relationship and to decide together to take on new habits. It is therefore proposed that couples free themselves from certain commitments in order to temporarily give priority to this unique and unforgettable experience.

That is why, depending on the cultural realities and possibilities of the different countries, CANA offers two formats so that each couple can find what suits them:

It’s up to each individual to choose, in complete freedom!

Alan & Annie, Ireland

“We were a bit apprehensive. Would the others be too serious or too pious? Would we fit in? How would our two boys react? But as soon as we arrived, all our doubts evaporated.”

Children at CANA Week

At CANA, very often, the children are present and will experience a very nice week. But it is not like a “family retreat”, which is what CANA Family is all about. While the parents have their own time – which is their priority – the children follow an age-appropriate programme, including teenagers (14-18 years). They are divided by age and looked after by volunteers (parents themselves or young single adults) to enjoy times of games, sports, manual activities, laughter, fellowship, prayer, discovery of the Bible…. In an atmosphere that is both spiritual and relaxed, the subjects that concern them are discussed simply with them. In some countries, CANA offers them a few days in a camp or a day-away near the parents’ meeting place. At the end of the week, the family gathers together to share the fruits that each one has received: this is the time of the Feast.

For the little ones, especially those who are not used to being entrusted to others outside the family, experience shows us that couples enjoy the week better if they entrust them to their relatives. If this is not possible, the CANA servants will be happy to welcome them.  

Mike & Evelyn, Canada

“Our children absolutely loved it, which surprised us. They have very good memories of it. It’s something that’s very difficult to put into words. It’s the atmosphere – it’s very warm and caring.”

Where and how is the CANA Week experienced?

The CANA Weeks are usually located in places that are a little out of the way, in order to be away from the daily routine and to keep our mind open. They are often beautiful places, where we can enjoy nature, with facilities adapted to the needs of couples and families.

The days have a rhythm and are well balanced between reflection and relaxation. There is no time to get bored thanks to the many proposals.  Everything contributes to each couple making the most of this precious time to strengthen their life as a couple: lively teachings, testimonies, time together as a couple, workshops, fellowship with other couples, personal and community prayer… At CANA, we laugh a lot… it’s both light and deep!

Josef & Jane, Uganda

“For the first time in so long, we had space to focus on our relationship. The words that come up to describe this process are: intimacy, communication, reconciliation and sharing. It was wonderful. It was the greatest gift my husband has given me.”

Who runs the CANA Weeks?

At CANA, it is mainly couples who are at the service of other couples.

The facilitators and “servants” of the CANA weeks are mostly couples who have experienced the week themselves. All are volunteers and are highly motivated because they want to enable other couples to live this special experience. They are happy to share what they have discovered and how CANA has strengthened their life as a couple and, for some, how it has transformed them.

Their witness does not lie in any technique but in a way of being together: it is when we are in unity and love, as a couple, as a family, as a small group, as a Church, that we can share the joy of the Gospel.

Why the name ‘CANA’?

The name comes from the Gospel of John, which tells the story of Jesus and Mary invited to a wedding in Cana in Galilee. Cana is a festival of joy and love. And yet, because of a lack of wine, the party almost came to an end. It is as if this wedding could also have gone wrong. But it is here that, to everyone’s astonishment, Jesus turns water into wine. This new wine is the first of the signs Jesus performs in Galilee: he shows his glory and his disciples believe in him.

Cana is also the place where our own covenant is verified: a heart full of love, a lukewarm heart or a rather empty heart? Jesus is discreet, but he can transform everything with what we really are: our questions, our doubts, our poverty, our impatience, our lack of love and joy, our infidelities, our desires… And he always respects our freedom.

Prayer during the Week

During each day, times of prayer are offered. There is a good balance between different modes: in small or large groups, as a couple or by oneself… Everyone is free to participate at their own pace.

Link with local churches

The CANA Weeks are always implemented in conjunction with local church leaders. As CANA is a mission of the Chemin Neuf Community, a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation, CANA contacts those responsible for family pastoral care in the dioceses of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, depending on the ecclesial reality of the country in which the Week is held.

Very often, the leaders of CANA International have the opportunity to meet with Catholic bishops and also make sure to meet with the leaders of other Christian denominations: Lutheran, Anglican, Evangelical, Maronite, Coptic, Orthodox…