Journey

At the beginning of their married life they lived in Aveiro and some years later in Gafanha da Encarnação, always linked to parish life, growing in faith as a family and gradually building, child by child, the foundations of the Families of Cana spirituality.

In the summer of 2007 they moved to Mogofores in Anadia [Portugal], close to the Mary Help of Christians National Sanctuary. Their parish priest, a Salesian, Fr José Augusto Fernandes, invited them to teach catechism and to lead the children’s singing group at mass in the parish. Through regular visits he witnessed the way the family prayed together and told the stories from the Bible and the lives of saints, and he encouraged Teresa to share this family experience of faith with other families. That is how Teresa started to give talks at meetings for the parents of catechism pupils and to direct retreats for the preparation of the reception of sacraments etc., while Niall became dedicated to youths. The foundations of the Families of Cana were beginning to appear, almost without the family realising it.

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Finally one day Teresa and Niall asked their parish priest to help them to discern what seemed to them to be a calling from God: the foundation of a Movement that would challenge entire families, and not only married couples, to be holy according to the spirituality that they already experienced in their home. Encouraged by this, Fr José Fernandes immediately offered to celebrate the Eucharist and hear the confessions of the participants in the retreats that the family wanted to direct.

Teresa and Niall wanted that the new movement be entrusted to Mary Help of Christians, venerated in the Sanctuary in Mogofores. What was needed was to invoke the Holy Spirit and go through the Gospels in search of the most appropriate Marian episode. A few days went by and while praying for that intention they decided upon the episode of the wedding feast at Cana that presents Mary as the helper of a new family and as an activist in the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.

The first Families of Cana retreat was held on 14 September 2013, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Curiously, it took place in a manor house that some friends usually rent out for wedding parties. The families that took part were nearly all friends of the Power family. The enthusiasm was contagious and at the next retreat there were already more families, ready for the challenge to try out this style of family faith.

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So that their testament of life could reach further, the Power family started a blog, Uma Família Católica (A Catholic Family), where they shared everyday life stories that were rooted in the Word of God and that unfolded under His attentive eye. The blog was their open door to the world and attracted many families from various parts of the country to the Families of Cana retreats, while making it possible for numerous priests to contact the movement.

On 21 January 2015 the Power family was received at the home of Reverend Dom António Manuel Moiteiro Ramos, Bishop of Aveiro, who learned of the existence of the Families of Cana and undertook to accompany this new movement with his prayers, his word and his discernment. The following lent, on 7 March, to the great joy of everybody, he directed the Movement’s lent retreat. There he proposed that the different points of the Movement’s spirituality be representatively distributed among six pots, like the stone water pots at Cana. The Power family greeted the suggestion enthusiastically and set immediately about structuring the Six Clay Water Jars of Cana.

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Meanwhile, the Power family was being invited to give talks in different parts of the country. From this witnessing, many Families of Cana and some Villages of Cana have appeared, which are themselves fertile cradles for new Families of Cana through their testimony and their enthusiasm.

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