Set aside time to strengthen your relationship
9 meetings and a weekend retreat for couples to come together in their locality and improve their life as a couple
CANA Welcome in brief
Successful married life is an adventure! How to improve it? How to build it on solid foundations and how to strengthen your relationship?
To help couples and the pastoral care for families, the CANA mission of the Chemin Neuf community has launched CANA Welcome: a journey for couples wishing to build a harmonious and solid love life, led by couples. This programme, based on improving communication, is lived in an autonomous and flexible way in a convivial environment.
To launch CANA Welcome, a teaching kit with clear and easy-to-use tools is available in 11 languages.
As a couple, this programme allows you to:
- Address the issues of everyday married life without taboos
- Improve your communication, experience dialogue and deepen your relationship
- Understand the secrets of a successful married life
- Taste the spiritual dimension of your union in a convivial setting
And so, to have a more fulfilling life together as well as for the good of the children, with the children having their full place.
CANA Welcome, as a journey
Main objective: to strengthen your couple
CANA Welcome allows couples to address the major issues of married life together. Taking time together and being in contact with other couples in a convivial environment strengthens the life of the couple. It is then possible to renew dialogue and to understand how to reconcile, which is an indispensable path to build a harmonious life together. And because we are Christians, we believe that the Lord has his place at CANA Welcome and that He can help us to strengthen the couple. He is the Rock on which we can lean. He is the Way that we can follow with confidence.
Who can experience CANA Welcome?
Any man and woman couple, married or not, more or less religious, can experience CANA Welcome. Although the programme is of Christian inspiration, no certificate of baptism or degree in theology is necessary to participate! Experience shows that it is particularly relevant to couples between 25 and 40 years of age, when many are going through their first years of life together – often the most perilous.
Who runs the programme?
CANA Welcome is a programme FOR couples, led BY couples in an autonomous way. It is not about professionals of married life, but about couples wishing to share their joys and difficulties with others, in order to move forward together.
So, any couple who wants to experience this with other couples can do so. It is advisable for the programme to be run in connection with a parish or a local church. In this case, the parish priest, a member of the family pastoral care or the pastor calls a couple to become the lead couple for the group. This couple then contacts the CANA mission, where they can receive advice and support.
As the journey continues, the monthly meeting becomes a place of sharing that is increasingly warm, friendly and sincere. For some, CANA can even become a spiritual land in which Christ will transform and renew their life as a couple.
What do couples commit to?
To enjoy the journey, it is necessary to be involved. Being involved helps each person to choose to be faithful to the decision made together as a couple. Thus, couples commit to:
- Participate in the 9 monthly meetings of the group.
- Prepare 1 short presentation (10 minutes), based on a proposed framework. (To be chosen in the group).
- Experience the annual weekend retreat (children are welcome).
- Serve together once a year (in the parish, for example). This strengthens the bonds between couples and allows them to discover the faith in another way.
The monthly meeting
How is the monthly meeting organised?
Each month between three and five couples gather at the home of one of them. The pedagogy of CANA Welcome is based largely on the quality of what is happening in the group. The couples are both participants and actors since they must, in turn, as far as possible, make a short presentation (the short talk) for their group.
The meeting usually takes place in the evening, when couples are most available (without their child(ren)). It lasts 2 hours. Each meeting has a topic whose order corresponds to a pedagogical progression. The topics discussed are rooted in everyday life.
Where do the monthly meetings take place?
After the introductory meeting, which has a very specific objective, the first meeting of the group takes place at the home of the lead couple. Afterwards, at the home of any other couple, depending on local possibilities. Preferably, the host is not the couple giving the presentation. Welcoming other couples to one’s home is part of the CANA pedagogy.
How does a meeting take place?
Here is an example:
8.30 p.m. (after dinner): the welcome, a convivial time.
Drinks, cakes… and informal exchange of news.
8.50 pm: talk by one of the couples (10 to 15 minutes maximum).
This is not a teaching, it is an introduction to the theme of the evening. A framework for each talk is proposed. Care is taken to keep to the timing.
9.05 pm: couple time, the heart of the evening
Couples take time together to discuss the topic of the evening.
10:25 pm: agreement of the next meeting date.
10:30 pm: end of the official evening.
They are concrete, anchored in daily life:
1. Why take time to strengthen your relationship?
2. Gender difference: myth or reality?
3. Improving communication: I talk, you talk… we listen to each other!
4. When conflict arises: resolving it and working through it together
5. Family and professional life: what balance for both of us?
6. How to manage money as a couple?
7. Deciding alone or together: who is the pilot of the plane?
8. Parents and parents-in-law: what place is there “in” the couple?
9. To build a solid couple based on a common project.
What do we mean by “sharing”?
As the journey continues, the monthly meeting becomes a place where “sharing” is increasingly warm, friendly and sincere. During each meeting there is a time for “sharing”. What is it about? It is by no means an “unpacking”. We experience that verbalising “what I feel: my joys, my sorrows, my fears…” helps me to know myself better, to grow and to identify the Lord’s passage in my whole life.
The weekend retreat
It is a special time to stop, to take a weekend together and with the family, to relax, to rest as a couple, to pray, to take a break in order to better reconcile with each other, with the aim of moving forward together and building a solid relationship as a couple. The weekend retreat includes time for reflection, sharing, prayer and relaxation. In many countries, children have their own programme.
Starting a programme nearby?
The CANA Welcome complete kit
Clear and easy-to-use tools are available to launch a programme independently:
- The Leader’s Guide: a complete presentation of the year, advice on how to organise your journey, the keys to experiencing each evening. Click here to access the sample.
- The Participant’s Booklet: a real roadmap that can be personalised to follow the year’s progress and to discuss all the issues addressed as a couple. Click here to access the sample.
The CANA Welcome complete kit is available in 11 languages
To run the CANA Welcome programme independently, the complete kit is available in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak and Spanish.
The Communication kit
The Communication kit: it includes a leaflet, a flyer, a poster as well as the Leader’s Guide and the Participant’s Booklet: everything you need for a good communication.
CANA Welcome in other languages?
If CANA Welcome is not yet translated into your language, do not hesitate to contact the CANA International Secretariat.
The CANA team of the Chemin Neuf Community is available to support the implementation of CANA Welcome. In some countries, the CANA team leads a training weekend for group leaders with teachings, testimonies and meetings with other couples… It is an excellent opportunity for training, to exchange ideas, questions, experiences and to support each other.
All answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found here. If you still have questions, you can contact the CANA International secretariat.
CANA Welcome has been very well received by the Vatican: see website.