In Colombia, where the CANA Fraternity is very young, young couples well anchored in their faith are discovering CANA and its pedagogy. Some are thirsty for community life. The meetings with the leaders of the fraternities and the representatives of the local Church are very encouraging!
Gilles & Véronique CORMIER, leaders of CANA International
Following Mario and Lourdes SEBASTIANN-MAGALLON who came to Colombia in November 2022, we went there (15 to 20 March 2023) to lead the second CANA weekend of the year with the new team. We wanted to be in communion with this young CANA fraternity which is quite isolated, and to continue the formation in the pedagogy of CANA. We also wanted to have better knowledge of the local church.
Learning to pray with CANA
“Learning to pray”! A theme dear to CANA, so much so that this aspect in the life of a person and a couple bears many fruits. For this formation weekend, the team chose Sasaima, a small town nestled in the Cordillera, 2.5 hours west of Bogotá, where the Sisters of the women’s branch of the Claretian missionaries welcomed us in a magnificent place, perfect for couples and retreats.
The CANA Fraternity in Colombia started recently with 8 couples. Of the 12 couples participating, 3 couples came from the CANA Welcome program and 2 couples were new to the CANA Fraternity. The couples entered well into the proposal and were very happy when they left with what they had discovered or rediscovered about prayer. The leaders, Andrès and Alejandra, are very attentive and involved.
6 servants came from outside to accompany the 13 children present (6 of whom were under 2 years old!). They quickly formed an excellent team, thanks in particular to good preparation by the young leader who was also new to CANA.
How to be a shepherd?
For the formation of the CANA leaders, we had invited those of the CANA Fraternities and CANA Welcome (who had come from Bogota and Medellin on purpose!) to a special time the day before the weekend. We explained a little more about the pedagogy of CANA and how to “be a shepherd”. We ended with some role-playing based on the difficult situations they encounter. We see that they ask themselves beautiful and big questions like: discernment, how to listen to the will of God in my life, contraception and education of children….
Discovering the culture of the country and of Chemin Neuf
During this visit, we met four different families. It was a very rich experience that allowed us to better understand the culture of this country that we are discovering little by little. Some couples are interested in living in our Chemin Neuf Community, which includes families, something that does not exist in Colombia.
This desire for discovery became a reality for three couples and families who came to Spain to spend several weeks at La Cartuja, a Carthusian monastery in Saragossa, to follow Cycle A. This is a formation offered by the Community to couples, families and individuals to enrich themselves on different subjects (knowledge of the Bible, theology and spirituality) while discovering community life. The CANA leaders from Colombia went there for a time of rest and meetings.
This program is present in four cities. In Medellin, a second CANA Welcome program is underway. In Bogotá, the leaders are enthusiastic – all are young, motivated couples. In both cities, couples meet at weekends with their children. It has given us a lot of inner joy to see this dynamism, even if the question of accompanying the children remains.
In Cali and Caqueta, the seeds are sown but patience is needed to see them grow… For follow-up!
Meetings with local church representatives
We had a very nice meeting with Father Fabian, the priest in charge of family ministry in the diocese of Zipaquira, north of Bogota. We felt a real welcome and a desire to call on CANA. We hope and pray that a CANA Week in his diocese will soon be realised.
With Father Francisco of the Santa Elena parish in Bogotá, we discover that the diocese of Bogotá is engaged in a great plan of evangelisation in three stages: “prepare the soil, plant, harvest”. It is within this framework that it would be desirable for CANA to be integrated to bear more fruit. We hope to establish an official link with the church in Bogota in July when Father Christophe Delas comes to Columbia with Mario and Lourdes.
This is very encouraging!
We came back very happy from this mission in Colombia: we discovered many young couples, well anchored in their faith and thirsty for community life. It also seems to us that cooperation with the Church is progressing. We know that it is essential for the pastoral care of these couples to be strengthened. This is very encouraging!