Who We Are

Cana Family Institute exists to support you in your efforts to build a strong family life and find the peace of knowing your family is on the right track.

Our Four Pillars


Enlightening Curriculum

Integrated, cohesive, unpacks & builds over time

Awakens faith & vocational & missionary vigor

Accompaniment Approach

Expertise in the "art of accompaniment"

Small group support that sustains daily application & growth


As parents & in Catholic & community leadership roles


Pastors, Catholic School leaders, diocesan leaders

Feeder programs

Leader & participant sources

Our History


Cana Family Institute is an independent, lay-driven organization organized and established in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 2012 as a non-profit 501c3. The founding Board, with the encouragement of the chancellor for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, began to establish statutes outlining Cana Family Institute as a private association of the lay faithful in 2013. In addition to outreach in 3 other dioceses, in 2014 Cana programming began in parishes and Catholic schools in the northwest suburbs of St. Paul and Minneapolis under the guidance of The Most Reverend Andrew H. Cozzens, then the Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Father Joe Bambenek joined the Board of Directors in 2015 as Bishop Cozzens’ representative.

In 2016 the Board of Directors unanimously decided to embark on a comprehensive strategic planning process in order to position the organization to have an even greater impact for marriage and family for decades to come. A Catholic strategic planner, hired in the Spring of 2017, spent nearly a year researching, analyzing and reviewing resources, interviewing constituents and asking the questions necessary to ensure sustainability and impact that would embrace and embody both excellence and faithfulness. The result is a clear mission and vision that was launched at the 2018 Cana Banquet.

Cana Family Institute’s core programming, formerly called Familia, has nearly 30 years of history and over 20,000 alumni around the country. The heart of The Cana Experience is

bringing to life Saint John Paul II’s brilliant papal writings on marriage and family—as well as other Church documents including Saint Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae—by seamlessly weaving them with the Catechism and Gospel, and then encouraging practical ways to integrate that knowledge into practice. All learning materials have Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. The transformation impact truly awakens faith and vocational and missionary vigor in those who participate and in those who serve in the organization as missionary disciples.

Our Impact


Our Impact Graphic


  • More committed to living the Church’s teachings on family life
  • More involved in parish ministries
  • More committed to sharing / teaching the Catholic faith in general
The majority of our
participants also:
  • Increased time spent in daily prayer
  • Embraced more strongly the Church’s teachings on openness to life
  • Became more supportive of their children choosing a religious vocation