The CANA mission in Hungary has been running for over 25 years. At the beginning, brothers and sisters came from France to lead the CANA Week, in which 5 to 10 couples took part. Then, after the launch of the Chemin Neuf Community in Budapest in 2003, we started to organise the summer CANA Week with more and more local brothers and sisters.
In 2017, 13 couples were members of the CANA Fraternity and the CANA Week brought together around ten couples. From 2018, the number of participants gradually increased: 25, 30, 33, 38, 40, and in 2023, 60 couples took part.
So this year (2024), we thought it would be better to organise two CANA Weeks. In the west of the country, the CANA Week is full, with 28 couples registered, and in Bodrogolasi, in our Community centre, registration is still open, with 43 couples already registered.
Here are some of the principles that we believe contribute to the growth of the mission:
- We set the date, venue and price of the CANA Week that takes place in July as early as November of the previous year, and registrations start in December.
- We start communicating on 28 December, because by then couples with children have already overcome the difficulties of the Christmas period and any potential conflicts. They are happy to see a possible solution, they have time to talk to each other about CANA Week and they can also manage their summer holidays more easily.
- All couples are invited to take part, with all their children, without a waiting list and with the number of participants limited for motivational purposes only. How does it work? At Bodrogolasi, we rent out all the affordable accommodation in the area for the week; in addition to our 14-bedroom Community centre, we rent out 45 rooms in the region.
- We have adapted the week’s programme to the group, because we find that young couples with young children are the most numerous. So, for example, we have adapted the breakfast to suit the children, hold a mass in the morning, start the evening programme early, and added a story for the children during the evening programme, etc.
- Our best communication channels are e-mail and Facebook.
- E-mail: we prepare a short, simple invitation that brothers and sisters just have to pass on: it includes a brief description of the beauty of CANA, the date, the venue, the price and the registration link.
- After the registration deadline, we write to them to inform them that the registration fee has been received (or not).
- 6 weeks before Cana Week, we send them a more detailed description of the week: programme, activities for the children, accommodation, etc. and we ask details about the children, special requirements for meals, etc. using an online form (on Google).
- 4 weeks before CANA Week, we call all the participating couples on the phone to give them all the details and answer their questions (which couples really appreciate). And when they arrive, it’s great to welcome them as we already know them a little.
- A final email is sent a week before CANA Week to welcome them and remind them of the most important information.
All the CANA mission programmes are organised in such a way that they are not too demanding, either financially or in human terms, both for the people serving and for the participants. We strive to set a participation amount that an average family with many children can afford.
“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will ease your burden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Matthew 11, 28-30
For us, the mission of CANA is a light burden; we carry it with joy.
Gergő & Luce, Leaders of CANA Hungary