Search      Language 

Turn to Jesus (Article)

Cana Family Institute
U. S. A. | NEWS | NEWS
New organization looks to the future, expanding on existing Familia programs


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

These two modern challenges are front and center for the Catholic Church today.

“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 Christ.

“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.”

The institute’s 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 evangelizing mission.”   

“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 include:

1. Assisting parents in developing a strong family structure.

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.

5. 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. 

Anyone involved 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 For more information, contact Karen at Click here for the flyer.



Follow us on:   
Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

¿Deseas agregarCana Family Institute a tus favoritos?
  -    No