A Pilgrim Tradition: Renewing Wedding Vows in Cana

When talking with our pilgrims who’ve returned from the Holy Land, one of the many highlights they love to share is how moved they were by getting the opportunity to renew their wedding vows at the church that marks the site of the Wedding of Cana. This is, of course, the spot of Jesus’ first miracle where he turned water into wine.

When talking with our pilgrims who’ve returned from the Holy Land, one of the many highlights they love to share is how moved they were by getting the opportunity to renew their wedding vows at the church that marks the site of the Wedding of Cana. This is, of course, the spot of Jesus’ first miracle where He turned water into wine.

What a Day in Cana Looks Like

The Faithful Traveler, Diana von Glahn, had this to say about her experience in Cana (original post here):

The day started off quickly. We had a spectacular breakfast at our gorgeous hotel, The Olive Tree Hotel in Jerusalem, and then we were off to Cana, just outside of Nazareth, where the married couples would renew their wedding vows at the Wedding Church.

In the Fourth Century, Empress Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, built a church here. The remains of this church were found in the 17th century, and the Franciscans began building the present church in 1879.

Here’s a cool fact about Cana: Did you know it was the hometown of the Apostle Bartholomew? I didn’t know that.

So, the day started off as sort of a blur. I think I was still getting my “sea legs.” We walked into the church and, as I remember, Cardinal Rigali had already begun the ceremony of the renewal of vows.

I particularly loved the beautiful painting above the tabernacle in the church. Look at how Mary slightly bows before her Son. I love it! Renewing our vows was somewhat surreal. I mean, almost 8 years ago, I married this man in a small suburb of Philadelphia. And now, here we were, in Cana, no less!

I particularly loved the beautiful painting above the tabernacle in the church. Look at how Mary slightly bows before her Son. I love it!

Renewing our vows was somewhat surreal. I mean, almost 8 years ago, I married this man in a small suburb of Philadelphia. And now, here we were, in Cana, no less!

My husband David’s Facebook comment about the ceremony – “Going to Cana to get married again. Same wife, different country.”

An Annual Celebration of Jesus’ First Miracle

On the Sunday after Jesus’ Baptism, traditionally celebrated in January, many faithful gather at the church in Cana to commemorate Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. Couples can also renew their vows during that special Mass, and roses are distributed to the couples during the Eucharistic celebration as a sign of reconciliation.

After distributing roses to the married couples, the priest blesses their wedding rings, and couples renew their marriage vows.

“I give it to my wife as a gift. We did not want to miss this important celebration. Every year, we come here to this church in Cana to celebrate and participate in Mass.” Jamil Mansour, Nazareth Resident  (provided by the Christian Media Center)

After distributing roses to the married couples, the priest blesses their wedding rings, and couples renew their marriage vows.

How will you celebrate your anniversary this year? See the many Holy Land Pilgrimages that stop at the Wedding Church in Cana!

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