Pre-Cana, a term which came from one of the famous Bible stories, “The Wedding at Cana,” is a required seminar for couples planning to get married in the Catholic Church. 

With other churches, a Pre-Cana seminar is usually a one-time deal lasting half a day. St James the Great, the church where we got married, requires couples to attend two sessions of their Pre-cana seminar, with a month in between. I guess this is for you to be able to think hard if marriage is really for you.

When I learned about this, I thought to myself that it was such a hassle, as I reside overseas and this meant additional expense since I will need to fly home twice for the seminar. It didn’t help that our contact within St James the Great was confusing with regard to the schedules and availability. So I booked two separate flights home on October 15, 2016 and October 22, 2016 to attend the Pre-Cana seminar.

Little did we know that the seminar was an eye-opening, very enriching experience for us. Over the two sessions, led by married couple Jocel and Beth Novenario, we learned a lot about each other and were able to talk about things that we did not normally talk about before. As a young couple, it is very helpful to hear real-life stories from couples on how they managed to surpass problems in their relationship. It also helped that Jocel spoke well and kept things relaxed, yet introduced enough activities to keep attendees’ interest.

Here are some of the things that we learned during our two-day Pre-Cana Seminar:


Women are guilty of making their partners play the guessing game if they want to say something. I, myself, do this often. I want JM to guess what I want or what I am feeling. 

If you want something, just tell them.

Effective communication does not only involve words, it must be accompanied by actions.

Communicating with our partners does not merely mean speaking, most of the time it is more on listening to them with all our hearts.

Talk about your vision and dreams for your family. 

Talk about finances. It is important to talk to your partners on your setup after getting married, especially financials. What will be your setup? Will it be joint account or separate? Who will pay the bills? 

Talk about anything and everything. 

I was surprised that even after being together for eight years, there are still things that JM and I don’t normally talk about. The seminar became a way for us to learn new things about our partners.


According to a book published by Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five “Languages of Love” which are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.

It is an advantage to know which Love Language you and your partner use. This way you will have an idea on how your wife/husband feels loved the most.

We took a quick test to know which group we belonged, you may take the test here -> The Five Love Languages


During the seminar, there was an explanation of the objects/symbols used in the wedding ceremony and what they mean.

White Wedding Dress symbolizes the purity of the bride upon marriage.

Bride and her parents walking towards the Groom at the altar symbolizes that the parents are handing over their daughter to the groom. The groom will now take on the responsibility of caring for the bride as her parents have cared for her since the day she was born.

Holding Hands symbolizes that the couple are giving themselves to each other.

Wedding Rings symbolizes the couple's unending love for each other.

Arrhae. During the wedding ceremony, the groom will present to his wife the arrhae which symbolizes that he will be the provider of the family. The bride is to answer that she accepts the arrhae.

Veil. The secondary veil is placed on the groom’s shoulder and bride’s head. This symbolizes that the husband will become the head of the family and his wife is to surrender to him.

Cord binds the groom and bride to symbolize lifetime of unity.

Candle symbolizes light in darkness.

After the Pre-Cana seminar, we felt that we are more ready to face our new life together as husband and wife.

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