To recognize and assist this institution [the family]
is one of the greatest services which can be rendered
nowadays to the common good and to the authentic development
of individuals and societies, as well as the best means
of ensuring the dignity, equality and true freedom of the
human person. Pope Benedict Valencia, Spain, 2006
Pastors of souls are obliged to ensure that their
own church community provides for Christ´s faithful the assistance by
which the married state is preserved in its Christian character
and develops in perfection. Canon Law #1063
two modern challenges are front and center for the Catholic
“The Cana Family Institute has
been born to serve the present needs of the Church,”
said Jeannine Backstrom, Executive Director.
The new organization
will continue to offer the current programs of Familia USA,
while aiming to broaden its outreach to include “programs for
parents of adolescents, marriage dialogue training for priests, and marriage
counseling for couples.” There are also plans to
offer programs in Spanish for the Hispanic community.
The Cana Family Institute is made up of a Board
of Directors of laity and clergy, including the Legion of
“We have also extended the invitation to
some bishops who are familiar with Familia programs to consider
acting as our Episcopal Advisor,” said Jeannine. “Please
keep these requests in your prayers.”
Familia division currently offers programs in 20 dioceses across the
United States. These programs are designed to be
offered through parishes to “form leaders in the area of
marriage and family through small groups that are mentored and
trained.” Materials are based on the Gospels, the
Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal documents.
Karen Sester, National Director of Familia, said
Familia programs were developed to help parents of young children
to “grow in the fullness of their vocations as spouses
and parents” and to be “active participants in the Church´s
“The entire orientation
of this apostolate was to promote the good of the
family,” she said.
Founded in 1993 in
Minneapolis by 6 couples working under the direction of Fr
Anthony Bannon LC, the five overriding principles of Familia programs
1. Assisting parents in developing a strong
2. Promoting unity in thought word
and action between spouses.
3. Helping parents to
motivate young people towards religious, moral, psychological and social maturity.
4. Fostering the awareness of the need for
Christ and the Church in daily life.
Promoting access to the teachings of the Church concerning marriage
and family life.
“During its first ten years,
Familia focused on developing programs and discovering methods that would
facilitate a deep formation of families,” said Karen. “The programs
included small group studies as well as day retreats, conferences
and socials which focused on fathers, mothers and youth development
-- the basic family unit.”
During the years
2004 and 2005, Familia grew to 7100 people participating in
its programs. In 2005, Familia introduced the Splendor
of Love program for married couples, based on the book
written by Fr Walter Schu, L.C. focusing on the teachings
of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
About 2500 couples participated in that part of the program
in its first 2 years. In 2007 Familia
participation peaked at 7,945 participants in ongoing formation.
The first offering sponsored by the Cana
Institute will be the “Live Family!” Conference at Our Lady
of the Family Mission Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on
February 15-17, 2013.
in Familia, or interested in becoming involved, should attend.
“We want to renew our commitment to providing formation
that affects deep and lasting change in the heart for
marriages and families,” said Jeannine. “You can help
us in the development of our new Cana Institute by
helping us discuss questions like vision for our Familia programs
into the future and how best to communicate our message
to reach families.”
To register go
to http://familiausa.weebly.com/live-family-registration.html. For more information, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click
here for the flyer.