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A Renewal in Cana
Couples reflect on their marriages following pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Marriage Renewal at Cana

In March, 2013, Fr. Daniel Brandenburg LC and Fr. Matthew Summe LC led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  While they were there, several of the couples in the group renewed their wedding vows in the famed city of Cana. (John 2:1-2)

“They and the other couples attending had the opportunity to renew their marriage vows at Cana in Galilee, the spot where our Lord sanctified marriage with his first miracle,” said Fr. Daniel. “God continues to work miracles in marriages today.  This pilgrimage was an opportunity for these couples to rekindle their spousal love, as well as have a deeper experience of God’s love.”

Jane and Gene Peck

Jane Peck has been married to her husband Gene for 42 years.  Three children and seven grandchildren later, they attended this special pilgrimage. “Our vow renewal at Cana has helped me to embark on this next stage of our life with hope and joy,” she said.  “Our experience in Cana made clear to me that my vocation is to love Gene, to show him each day in some way that he is loved, and help him to fulfill his call to holiness, and to let him bring me to holiness.”

“At each stage of life it seems there are new challenges; Gene is about to retire, and we are unsure of the changes this will create, but we continue to grow in our faith, sharing the many new ways we find to know and love Our Lord. Our faith is the anchor of our marriage.  We are blessed to say this has always been so, even though it has been a growing and learning experience. We can certainly see the plan of God at work throughout our life.  This in itself strengthens our faith.”

Donna and Jeff Garrett

“Jeff and I renewed our vows for our 25th anniversary,” said Donna Garrett. “We felt very blessed to be present in the very place Jesus celebrated the marriage of his friends. We believe we were all created in the image of God, and that we most resemble the Trinity when we live united to each other. It is through the family God chose to reproduce and sustain mankind.  Through the family Jesus was sent to save us all, and through the family the faith is cultivated and handed down. We see ourselves as willing participants in God’s plan for the world, and we are forever in awe of the incredible gifts He has given to us through our four children.”

“There were many amazing experiences from our pilgrimage. We both loved walking in the very places the Gospels took place. Our scripture meditations have become richer and deeper as we can now visualize each scene. We both experienced a deep sense of Christ’s presence in Gethsemane, and in the ‘sacred pit’ beneath the house of the Chief priest Caiaphas.”

“Celebrating the first mass in the [Holy Sepulcher] tomb following the election of Pope Francis was profound.  Our entire group was visibly moved by this experience. We felt we were a part of history, our history.”

Dyana and Luis Noriega

Dyana and Luis Noriega have been married for 21 years, and have two daughters, one age 17 the other age 12.

“For us, the experience is so hard to explain with words,” said Dyana. “First of all, our daughters where with us, so it was a renewal for all of us.”

“Our trip was so full of unexpected situations, like my husband met a nephew there, and he was living just across the street from our hotel in Jerusalem.  If it was not God, who arranged that meeting? How did it happen? Just amazing!!”

“My favorite part was the adoration at the Church of All Nations.  That is a powerful experience, to pray where Christ prayed. Unbelievable. To walk inside that garden in the moonlight, like it happened when Christ was there.  There are not words that describe how your heart pounds in your chest and your mind races, remembering the scriptures.”

“When we renewed our vows, it went by so fast. We entered the church, in a small chapel, and then I remember looking into my husband’s eyes and feeling that surge of love I felt when we first got married.”

(Jane Peck remembers looking at Dyana and Luis as they renewed their vows. “Seeing the look of joy on Luis´ face as he and Dyana renewed their vows while their daughters were snapping pictures of them!  It was beyond words!” she said.)

"We often put so much attention on small details in marriage, when the most important part is your love for your spouse through the sacrament," said Dyana. "I think marriage is so challenging.  That is why I feel Jesus started (His ministry) there.  There is no way any marriage can survive all the ups and downs without the grace of God.  As years go by, I realize more and more that Luis and I are destined to be together, but without God´s grace I don´t think we could´ve made it so far.  We had some rough patches but we know that we are committed to one another and to making our marriage work.  And sometimes it´s a lot of hard work."



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