The following story appeared in the June 25 Idaho Catholic Register.
Each year during the last week of July, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National NFP Awareness Week.
“To have … To hold … To honor, Natural Family Planning, Supporting God’s gifts of love and life in marriage” is the theme of this year’s National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, an educational campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to celebrate God’s vision for marriage and promote the methods of Natural Family Planning.
By Jay Wonacott
Marriage for Life
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a general title for ethical, natural, safe and effective methods for both achieving and avoiding pregnancy in marriage. NFP methods teach couples how to observe and interpret the wife’s signs of fertility and infertility. Paragraph 2370 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says NFP methods “respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them and favor the education of an authentic freedom.”
This year Natural Family Planning Awareness Week is July 25–31. These dates highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae vitae (July 25), which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood.
The Diocese of Boise Marriage and Family Life Office joins with the U.S. bishops in highlighting the benefits of NFP as ethical methods to help married couples live God’s design for their marriages.
To promote Natural Family Planning in the Diocese, the Marriage and Family Life Office recently hosted a virtual NFP Awareness series with NFP educator Christina Valenzuela. Our office hosts quarterly NFP networking calls with diocesan NFP instructors and advocates from around the Diocese. We also offer financial assistance to those interested in becoming NFP instructors so they can better serve married couples in our parishes.
As part of the application process, those interested in becoming natural family planning instructors write a short essay on why they want to become instructors. Stefania West, a parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sandpoint, is one of these candidates. She recently wrote this in her application:
“I would like to become an NFP instructor because I think it is an excellent way to begin the conversation about Catholic teaching on sexuality. Catholic and non-Catholics alike cannot help but be influenced to some extent by our culture’s destructive and selfish messages about sex. NFP offers us a chance to hit the reset button on this, revealing how we are truly meant to love and be loved. It can even be used as a tool of evangelization, as non-Catholics are increasingly searching for ways to avoid pregnancy without the use of contraception. Personally, NFP was crucial to me and my husband in our ability to understand the expression of love through sex. I am extremely passionate about the sacramental nature of sex, and I hope to help couples discover how to better administer the sacrament of matrimony to one another through chaste love.”
The Catholic Church invites all the faithful to embrace God’s plan for married love. Learn more about these beautiful teachings that support the use of NFP in marriage at usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning/church-teaching.
If you want to learn more about the methods of NFP offered in our diocese, visit the home page for the Marriage and Family Life Office at catholici-daho.org/marriage-and-family-life or visit the NFP section of the USCCB website usccb.org/nfp.
Please join the diocesan NFP efforts to spread the word about God’s design for married love and the gift of life as well as the methods of NFP! Contact us to get involved:
208-350-7535 or jwonacott@ rcdb.org
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