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You’ve heard of Exodus90 for men, and Revelation90 for women. Both programs have lots to recommend them, but they present a dilemma. What if a married couple wants to do something for Lent … together?
Enter Cana 90, a program for married couples to live Lent as a united team.
Cana 90 was the brainchild of Mike and Alicia Hernon, hosts of the beloved Messy Family Project podcast and ministry. In an interview with Aleteia, they shared what inspired them to start Cana 90:
A few years ago we were chatting with a wife whose husband was doing Exodus 90, and she commented to us about the rigors of the program and though it was a blessing to have her husband do it, she wished there was something like it for married couples. We talked about it with each other and thought “Why not?”
The heart of Cana 90 is understanding that holiness looks different for married couples than for single people:
As a married couple with children, our sacrifices are already built into our vocation and God wants to make us holy through our spouse and children. Our Lent should not look the way it did when we were single.
How can we discern commitments that strengthen our vocation to the married state? God wants to make us holy through us becoming a better husband, wife, mother or father. That is what Cana 90 is all about.
The first three days of Cana 90 are “discernment days,” since Lent tends to sneak up on busy couples. “We want couples to take a breath on Ash Wednesday and prayerfully discern what God is calling them to sacrifice for the good of their family, and then get ready to start up fresh on Monday,” they said.
Best of all, Cana 90 is completely free! Want to learn more? You can join the program here, and learn more about it in our interview with Alicia and Mike Hernon below.
What kind of activities will couples do as part of the program?
The first three days are times for discerning commitments of prayer, fasting, and mercy. We are guided in this time by a Lenten sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus who stated, “Prayer knocks, fasting obtains, mercy receives.” We use this sermon to show how making commitments for Lent with these three actions intertwined will help a couple go deeper into their vocation to love and serve their spouse and children.
On Ash Wednesday, they discern commitments of prayer; on Thursday, commitments of fasting, and on the first Friday of Lent, they pray about how to show mercy. For each day in the preparation time, we send them inspiration and ideas for how they can incorporate these commitments into their daily Lent.
Couples are also given a Victory Tracker worksheet to remember what they are committed to and to check off each day they keep those commitments. We encourage couples to do this together and even with their children if they want. We provide a Scripture reflection each day to help them meditate on their vocation in light of the seven covenants between God and man in salvation history.
Each weekend, we give ideas for couples to strengthen their family culture in the home. We have fun activities and resources for all different age groups of children so parents can not only work on themselves, but take their place as spiritual leaders in the home.
Holy Week has an amazing amount of ideas for families to help make the Triduum the highlight of their year. Cana 90 is worth doing for these pages alone! Holy Week should be a time of rich traditions in every home. and we want to give couples the tools to do just that.
Then after that, we still have 50 days of the Easter season! During these weeks, couples are given the opportunity to examine the five elements of their family culture and make it stronger. We have games, activities, reflections, and resources all throughout this section so couples can focus on living intentionally and communicating their deeply held values to their children by the way they live, while celebrating Easter and Pentecost.
How much does the program cost?
It is totally free! We would love to see our free posters for Cana 90 in the back of every parish in America. It is a great program for pastors to promote in their parishes, principals to their school families, and DREs to those in religious programs.
Anyone can sign up at www.cana90.org. You can receive daily or weekly emails. If you would prefer a hard copy of the program, you can send a donation to cover our costs and we will mail it out to you. Anyone interested in promoting the program in their parish or school can contact us also, using our website.
How big of a time commitment is it?
As little or as much as you want. You discern your commitments with your spouse and receive encouragement from us. There are as many ways to celebrate Lent as there are couples! We want to empower parents to do what they believe God is calling each of them to do.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Cana 90?
This is a program that is designed to help you walk this particular path of holiness with your spouse. We are called to holiness, not as a religious or priest, but as spouses and parents.
We need to change the way we view holiness for married people. Maybe God wants you to do an hour of adoration, or maybe he wants you to do fifteen minutes of adoration and spend forty-five minutes playing with your toddler!
It is up to each of us to look at our lives and discern with our spouse how God is calling us, within our vocation, to become holy this Lent.