Cana is a ministry of the Chemin Neuf Community which developed out of a small prayer group in Lyons in France in 1973. The prayer group was led by Jesuit priest, Fr Laurent Fabre, who still leads the community today. From the outset it combined the spirituality of St Ignatius with that of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Passion for Unity
The community has grown steadily since its beginnings, to become an international Catholic community with a strong ecumenical vocation – it includes members of Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Evangelical, Baptist, Mennonite and Orthodox churches. Chemin Neuf works tirelessly for the renewal of the Church, for reconciliation and for the unity of Christians. Couples, families and celibates, men and women, have chosen the adventure of community life to follow Christ, poor and humble, in order to serve the Church and the world. There are over 1500 serving Community members in over 20 countries throughout the world.
Chemin Neuf has a large number of pastoral outreaches of which Cana is just one. The Cana mission has a number of aspects and works with engaged couples as well as with divorced and separated couples. Chemin Neuf is also involved in youth ministry, parish ministry and retreat work. The Community produces a short film each month for the Net for God programme, a worldwide evangelical outreach.
The Community has been active in the UK since 1993. From 1999 until just recently Chemin Neuf has welcomed friends and visitors to St Gildas Christian centre in Langport, Somerset, providing space for quiet prayer/retreats and welcoming many different Christian groups. Currently the Community is transitioning to a new home, Our Lady’s Priory in Storrington, Sussex. Another exciting development is that the Archbishop of Westminster has asked Chemin Neuf to take on responsibility for a Catholic parish in North London.
The Community also has a presence in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and recently some members of Chemin Neuf (an Anglican couple, a Lutheran and a Catholic religious sister) have taken up residence in Lambeth Palace at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Cana came to Ireland through Irish couples attending the Cana Week in Somerset, beginning in 2008. The first Irish Cana Week was held in Co. Westmeath in 2012.