Saturday was a happy day. Our Lady sent us the sun and brought us families so that we could have a wonderful retreat. And indeed we did!
There were twenty-six adults, twenty-five children and five youths, all anxious to meet together, to pray, to play, to sing and to celebrate together. Our Reverend Bishop arrived early in the morning and offered us two very beautiful teachings about discipleship based on St. Mark’s Gospel. Are we following Jesus swiftly like the Apostles did? Are we ready to leave our cloak behind and follow the Lord like the blind Bartimeus? Are we still hesitating? What’s holding us back? What kind of family culture are we building so that nothing separates us from the love of God? Mark presents Jesus’s thinking on this, as revealed when He chose the Apostles:
He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mk 3:14-15)
We’re called, first and foremost, to be with Jesus. Then to announce the Good News and to fight against all forms of wickedness around us. Are we doing that in our family? Are we doing it as a Village of Cana?
To be with Jesus: there’s the prime reason we were brought to Mogofores, to the Sanctuary and to the Cana Prayer Corner. Like at all Families of Cana retreats here, we had morning prayer and, after lunch, the Rosary at the Cana Prayer Corner, cheered by our hymns and songs and by the voices of the youngest ones, each vying to be the one who would announce the next mystery and lead a decade. We had a long time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the side Chapel of the Sanctuary while our Bishop and priests confessed adults and children. And we ended the retreat with Mass during which we renewed our solemn commitment and where two families and one young adult made their solemn vow for the first time.
While the adults listened to the teachings by reverend Bishop, Niall organised the retreat of the children and youths with stories, games and fun. And how well it went! During the morning, our five youths were sent on a mission to prepare a biblical gymkhana for the smaller ones to tackle later in the afternoon. Niall doesn’t know who had more fun, the little ones or the youngsters. A mighty success!
We also had time to play as a family and as a family of families, for that’s what we the Families of Cana do so well! Everyone particularly enjoyed the challenge we call “De Cor e Salteado” (“learnt by heart”) where parents and children alike skip the rope in turns while reciting a short verse of the Bible they’ve just been handed on a piece of paper.
We also had a talent contest, including a magnificent round dedicated to building and launching paper airplanes. And while real airplanes fly against the wind, the paper planes had a few guidance problems as the wind blew all over the place and changed direction, hurling many of the planes forward but sending others…backwards. But just look at those pilots faces to see how much fun it was!
At noon it was time for the famous picnic. The wedding feast at Cana in its picnic version is a trademark of the Movement. It’s the perfect time for catching up with friends, sharing stories from the Villages of Cana and encouraging one another to go further.
We ended the day reluctantly as we always do when we meet. If we thought it was a job to get the small kids to take off their skates, get off their bikes, put away their balls and get into the cars, it seemed to be even harder to convince the adults to postpone their chatting for another occasion. The retreat was over but nobody wanted to make the first move home…
We’re already looking foward to the next great event: the Cana Camping Weekend. Dates will be announced soon. Get ready!