François & Laurence Cartier, first leaders of CANA International and members of the Chemin Neuf Community, tell us how this text from the Gospel of John marked the origins of CANA and became its DNA. They share a strange idea… and the good news of CANA.

CANA, why did you choose this name?

“In the beginning, we spoke of a “meeting for couples and families” but very quickly this name just imposed itself on us. Firstly and obviously, it came through the story of the marriage at Cana (John 2), which, from the first session took a very important and significant place in the prayer and meditation of a lot of people…

Then, a year later, a couple who were participants and had just returned from Israel, gave us a bottle of wine from Cana. Even if one can always question the historicity of the place where Jesus performed the miracle at Cana, it did no harm to be able to use this wine at the final celebration of the mass: so our intuition became a matter of fact, we had just lived “a Cana meeting”.

Inviting Jesus in our marriage? What a strange idea!

We reckon that basically CANA offers us an opportunity to invite Jesus into our marriage today, just as a Galilean couple invited Jesus to their wedding along with Mary his mother and his disciples.

It’s true, CANA today remains an opportunity for a couple from France, from Burundi, from the Czech Republic … to invite Jesus into its marriage and into all the family, and thus to open the door to the Lord. I like the end of the story of Cana, where “the best is for the end”, very much. Often love at the start of a marriage is strong, perhaps idealized. Then with the years it may not age well, and often deteriorates. We observe that with Christ it is the other way round, we discover the “best” as we go forward as a couple.

The best is ahead of us

The more I live with François, the more our love grows. All of us rediscover that “the best” is not behind us – whether this is one year, two years, ten years or twenty years – but is ahead of us, a future for our marriage to be built and to be created starting from today… Nothing is set or final in our life, something can always evolve: that is the good news of Cana!

Cana is an opportunity to invite Jesus into our couple today “.

François & Laurence CARTIER, CNC

Extract from Tychique magazine – January 2001